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Hovercraft 50 years old.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Hovercraft 50 years old.

The hovercraft is 50 years old tomorrow.  A great British achievement.  I remember many a bumpy journey from Dover to Calais in bad weather.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8167104.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/hampshire/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_8159000/8159655.stm
14 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

I have to admit to never having been on one!
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Me too, though something I would have liked to have done.
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

They no longer operate from Dover.  Flights had to be cancelled in bad weather and when they did run you often got bumped around. I remember one time when the trip back to Dover was so bad it was difficult to stay in our seats and we were thrown around for the entire trip. They were in two minds whether to cancel the flight but decided to run it. Scary Wink
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Yeah I went on the replacement catamaran boats that were pretty speedy.
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Yes, loved the catamarans.  Very fast trip.  I think these were taken off the Dover-Calais run and moved to the longer crossings.  I think there are only ferries on the route now.
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Yeah did on Dover - Calais and Dover - Oostende both very good trips.
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

There is still a passenger hovercraft between Southsea and Ryde on the IOW.
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Here's a bit on the Dover - Calais hovercraft.  I remember the accident that cost 4 lives in 1985.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountbatten_class_hovercraft
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Quote from: chillypenguin
There is still a passenger hovercraft between Southsea and Ryde on the IOW.

Been on that several times, didn't realise it was still running. Will be on the IOW fortnight Tuesday, will try and get some pic's.
Also been on the "Cat" from Poole and Weymouth to Jersey and Gurnsey a few times, one of which was after dark and almost empty, quite a sight in the pitch black and the white trail behind us.  
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Community Veteran
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Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Normal journey time Dover to Calais was about 35 minutes.  The fastest was 22 minutes by the Princess Anne in 1995.
http://www.dover-kent.co.uk/transport/hovercraft.htm
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

Quote from: Petlew
...didn't realise it was still running. Will be on the IOW fortnight Tuesday, will try and get some pic's....  

A couple of helpful links for you:
http://hovertravel.co.uk/
http://www.hoverwork.com/
The Bland Group recently increased its ownership of Hoverworks and purchased Griffon Hovercraft Ltd which makes the RNLI hovercraft. The new company created is Griffon Hoverworks Ltd.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

A British invention - and now with another British invention in it - the gas turbine.

I've been on the Portsmouth to Ryde hovercraft and enjoyed it.
But I also remember the British Hovercraft factory in East Cowes - we had a couple of holidays there back in the 1960's and regularly saw the hovercraft being tested - at the same time seeing the old ocean liners in their final years - The Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, France, United States etc etc - the old technology alongside the new.
But which do we see far more of now - there have never been so many huge ocean liners / cruise ships and yet the number of hovercraft is still small - especially civilian ones.
HighLordPhanty
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

I went from Dover to Calais by hovercraft a couple of times. The best bit was standing just behind the white line on the apron and trying not to brick it as this huge thing cmae hurtling up the ramp and loomed over you before gently sinking to the ground.
Also did Calais to Dover on the Seacat in a mere 2 1/2 hours in a hell of a storm - there were people barfing everywhere
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Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: Hovercraft 50 years old.

I might be wrong, but i seem to recall that those hovercraft captains had to be dual qualified as maritime and airline captains - as strictly speeding they were airborne.
Seems a bit OTT so maybe it was a myth ?.