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Happy Birthday Hovercraft

11 June, 2009

Apparently today is the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the hovercraft to the press, at the Saunders Roe boatyard at Cowes, Isle of Wight. Boatbuilder Sir Christopher Cockerell had come up with the idea after playing around with a cat food tin inside a coffee tin, an industrial air blower (altered to blow rather than suck) and a pair of kitchen scales. The key patent was filed in 1955.

This is what the first hovercraft looked like.

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The hovercraft is such a good idea and is probably the safest way to travel by sea, you can’t really sink a hovercraft!

It’s a shame it was never developed commercially for long distance journeys like from the UK to the US. Apparently, the drawback for larger craft is that to make them commercially viable like an aeroplane, they would have to be huge, and size means that the power needs to be massive and that increases the noise.

My one enduring memory of my one and only ever trip on a hovercraft is just that. The noise. I remember a constant drone throughout the whole journey. I can’t say I’d fancy that long distance.

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