Welcome to the British Hovercraft Company Limited!

added by russ on November 19, 2014 at 06:30

Today is a very important one for us as we rebrand, restructure and rename Flying Fish Hovercraft Ltd. From today, Flying Fish will become a brand name of our new company -

The British Hovercraft Company Limited.

Why have we done this? Well, in the last year, we've built the utility and commercial side of Flying Fish and we believe  'The British Hovercraft Company' better represents what we do. With the adoption of the Hovercraft Code of Practice, we've found many more applications for small hovercraft are open to us than previously and have recently supplied small hovercraft for intertidal survey, crew transfer and to private owners using their hovercraft for use on frozen rivers and shallow estuaries.

'Flying Fish' is probably the most recognisable  brand of personal and leisure hovercraft in the world, with over 1000 Snapper, Marlins and Coastal-Pro's sold over the last 16 years.  And the Flying Fish name remains to represent our recreational range - still a massive part of our business.

So - its business as usual coupled with 'all change' here at The British Hovercraft Company! Together with the name change, we're currently undergoing an exciting period of restructuring with regards how we manufacture our hovercraft as we prepare for what we are confident will be a very busy 2015.

The website is now at www.britishhovercraft.com but you'll still be able to contact us on the existing email addresses, and the phone number is still (01304) 619820 - just be ready for us to answer the phone with "Flying British Hovercraft Company" as we try to shake the habit of the last 16 years!

 

Best Wishes from Russ, Emma, Ivan and all the team at The British Hovercraft Company Ltd.

The US approves of the new Coastal-Pro Hovercraft!

added by russ on November 18, 2014 at 05:01

Selling hovercraft into the USA is a good thing - Americans are demanding clients (which is why my top holiday tip is always to head for resorts which are aimed at the US market - rather than European ones!) and in order to please the US client, we have to make sure the hovercraft we sell are better than good. This of course starts at the design stage, but follows right through manuufacturing to ensure we provide consistent high quality, hassle free products. Having clients that expect the best products simply drives us to produce the highest possible quality hovercraft.

Last weekend, our US dealer, Jason Keuhn from Hoverstream visited us to try out the new Coastal-Pro and was delighted. A full day on the River Medway clocked up some 40 miles exploring some of the historic sights and a visit to a traditional English pub for a beer with some flavour was a suitable finale!

As you can see  from the copy of Jason's facebook post below - he was very happy with the new Coastal-Pro (in fact he came back to our factory the and immediately ordered three!) and I may be biased but I have to agree with him. We honestly believe there is nothing else on the market which comes close in terms of performance, low noise, handling  and looks. We set out to create the best small hovercraft on the market today and are absolutely delighted with the results!

Hovercraft review by Jason at Hoverstream

The new Coastal Pro is here, and it changes everything. More space, more payload capacity, more thrust, a separate lift engine, quieter, and a wicked new look equals one incredible hovercraft!

We were recently fortunate enough to spend a day in England trying out one of these new beauties, and boy are we impressed! First of all, special sound deadening material in the front screen combined with the larger, slow turning thrust fan make the whole thing surprisingly quiet. Second, the separate lift engine offers a huge advantage with heavy payloads, especially on ice or in tight quarters where maximum maneuverability is important. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it's simply a pleasure to drive. There is just nothing else like it on the market.

 

Build a Hovercraft - Snapper & Marlin Kits in time for Christmas!

added by russ on November 13, 2014 at 06:16

BUILD YOUR OWN HOVERCRAFT!

 

Lots of people enquire to us about building their own hovercraft - or call us for advice and parts when they hit snags building one from plans. Unfortunately, most of the plans and kits available to build your own craft fall well short of providing the first time builder with any realistic chance of assembling a decent, working, attractive craft.

 

Many of the plans available are poorly written and based on outdated 1970’s designs. They usually rely on a very simple, flat wooden hull  which is heavy, porous, ugly and expensive. They often feature a nasty little, two stroke motorbike engines and worse… a bag skirt!  They have no freeboard or flotation and whilst 90% are never finished in any case, those that are completed often work poorly – and almost none produce a genuinely usable recreational craft.

 

Many are never finished and end up on ebay....another “unfinished project, just needs.......” etc. This is largely because many parts need to be sourced, salvaged or made - many are difficult to find or expensive to buy and this leads to a lot of frustration and a loss of motivation to see the project through.

 

So what are the other options?

 

Buy a used craft. Certainly an option but they’re often battered, scruffy looking and in need of restoration. Many are inland racing craft and unusable (or even dangerous) for cruising and recreational use in a salt-water environment. Very few used cruising craft come up for sale which also means prices are high.

 

Buy a new commercially manufactured craft. The perfect solution if funds allow or you’re not the type of person who looks at things and thinks...”How does that work?” But obviously, a manufactured craft costs a reasonable amount of money and may not offer the 'Caterham Cars' thrill of being able to say "I built that!"

 

The third option - 'Flying Fish' Kits

 

For some years now, the British Hovercraft Company has supplied Pro-Build Component sets to two overseas manufacturers who produce the Flying Fish range under licence. And, in response to the almost constant enquiries we receive to supply parts, kits, hulls and even plans to home builders, we chose 2014 to launch or component sets into the retail market.

 

These aren’t just kits; our comprehensive pro-build packages are designed to be quick and fun to build. All the parts you need are supplied ready to assemble, not requiring any donor vehicle, fabrication or any special skills. And we mean everything - down to the last nut and bolt!

 

Building your own hovercraft undoubtedly adds some satisfaction to the finished product - we should know, we build two a week and they still thrill us! Flying Fish Kits offer two huge advantages over building from plan or a partial kit.

 

They work! The Marlin II and Snapper hovercraft have been sold in substantial numbers, and are almost the 'industry standard' for personal hovercraft (Hovercraft Club cruises are usually attended by 80-90% Marlins) so you can be sure you'll be building a professional looking craft that will perform as it should and will 'wow' everyone who sees it. It will work, you’ll have amazing fun with it and it’ll be safe. Building from a plan just isn't a 'sure thing'  - it really doesn’t guarantee that you'll end up with a safe and effective hovercraft -whereas building from a proven component set does.

 

When/if you come to sell your hovercraft, it’ll be worth a good price - you have a fully working, professional looking craft that people will genuinely want to buy. It has a greta reputation (Flying Fish' craft are pretty much the industry standard). Take a look on ebay for instance, there's probably a Marlin or Snapper on there for sale, and they always fetch decent money. Build it well, look after it and your hovercraft has real value. Plywood/aluminium hovercraft built from plans and kits almost never fetch any money as the hull material makes them look quite ugly and crude.

 

Which Component Set Should You Choose?

Snapper

Small but enormous fun - the Snapper is the hovercraft of choice at most UK driving events businesses because it's incredibly easy to drive (both adults and kids) and offers very good performance. It will carry two adults on land but is limited to approx 100kgs on water. It's powered by a Vanguard 23bhp engine, so it's quiet, reliable and economical. It is incredibly manoeuvrable, it must be the easiest hovercraft in the world to drive so it's great to share with the kids. It' suitability extends to an uncontrolled environment in calm conditions -  many owners venture into coastal areas every weekend and the component set includes stainless steel fittings for salt water use. You can even race it in Hovercraft Club events!

 

Marlin II

The  Marlin II was launched in 2010 and is a longer version of the Snapper with a higher seating position (you sit in the Marlin, kneel in the Snapper) larger screen, 35bhp engine and improved performance - particularly in a marine environment. Overall, it's best described as a ‘sports-cruiser’ and really looks the part! See our website for lots of details and photos.

 

What's included in the set?

 

Everything! All parts are 'straight off the shelf' - ie they're exactly the same components that we use in production of our own craft.

Complete set of fibreglass parts, trimmed.

Complete Fibreglass hull. Top and bottom decks bonded together.Buoyancy foam and engine mounting timber installed.920mm duct - inner and outer mouldings (inner fitted to hull)Rudders & Flow straighteners.23bhp (Snapper) or 35bhp Briggs & Stratton (Marlin) engine, boxed.Built in fuel tank with filler fitting (Marlin) or 12l outboard tank (Snapper)Seat cover (not upholstered)Screen.Belt cover and rear coneSteering cable installed  

Fan frame.

Alloy engine mounting plates.

Fan blades and hubs, with bearings.

Guard, guard saddles.

Stainless Steel Top & Bottom pulleys, taper lock.

Platinum Spec Drive Belt

Stainless steel Exhaust and downpipes.

Fuel line/filter and primer bulb

Steering kit - handlebars, uprights, stock, mount, grips.

Skirt Material and template (finished segments available at extra cost)

Bilge pump & piping.

Throttle Cable & Lever

Wiring loom & Toggle Switches

Hatch Covers

Skirt fixing cable and clamps (lower)

Titanfast skirt fixing (upper)

Mooring cleats

Skirt fix top clips

Sikaflex, peeler rivets.

Complete nut and bolt set.

Keel strips

Aluminium edging

 Hull colour

 White with your choice of red or blue trim/secondary colour.

 Other colours available at an additional cost of £250.00 (hull) and £150.00 (secondary)

 Other options include

Lights (beacons/navigation lights/headlights)

Marlin Screen with Snapper purchase.

One man/one minute trailer.

'Marinised' or upgraded engine.

Skirt segments in place of material.

Teak effect flooring.

Coloured blades.

 

Production Time : Approximately two weeks.

Build Time : Approximately 2 Weeks/50 hours,.

Build Guide : Video

Cost :   Snapper £5,000.00+VAT

            Marlin £6,250.00+VAT

For more details, contact info@britishhovercraft.com or call us on 0044(0)1304619820

 

Guy Martin, 'Speed' TV Gold, and some background.

added by russ on November 10, 2014 at 06:26

Last night on Channel 4, motorbike legend Guy Martin, and hovercraft legend Bill Baker, set out to break the world water speed record for a hovercraft. The official record of 85mph was set back in 1995 by American hovercraft designer Bob Windt and as Guy pointed out in the program…"it’s a British invention, the record should be here!"

 As is usual with most TV shows of its ilk, the program went off at a complete tangent with Guy learning to float in wind tunnel, take place in a hovercraft beach assault with the royal marines, and best of all - undergo a Bukram Yoga session with a very pretty but unnecessarily hot and sweaty Yoga teacher. As one of my American friends said "I doubt very much that Bob did any of that."

 Then Guy had to pass  a test to get his Hovercraft Club of Great Britain licence - edited to make it look like he made a complete hash of it - only to be awarded it in any case. Having raced with the HCGB for many years, I can assure the outraged people of Twitter that there is no way he would be allowed to race without a degree of competency. Having passed, he was off to the Gang Warily race meeting to get some experience (honestly, it would have been much more relevant to take him out on a cruise in a fast craft, rather than racing round the smallest race track on the calendar at 30mph!) where they showed several accidents and incidents.

 When the program finally got around to talking about the record attempt hovercraft, we were treated so an insight into Bill and his team creating a 5m GRP hovercraft based on the successful BBV4 - smaller cousin to the BBV500 we manufacture under licence from BBV Hovercraft. As it turned out, the BBV (a successful craft used by several commercial users for environmental services etc) didn’t make such a successful 90mph speed record  racer - even when fitted with a 200bhp Suzuki GSXR engine.

 The biggest problem was clearly excessive lift at speed, with Guy's second run resulting in a spectacular 'Campbell Maneuver' - fortunately with less dramatic results, though the craft was badly damaged and Guy felt, unsafe to continue (basically, he looked shaken - and rightly so!)

 Overall - he achieved some impressive speed (peak of 79mph, average 75) in a hovercraft which wasn't truly suitable for the attempt. And this of course, comes down to time and money rather than BBV making a choice to use something unsuitable . We were approached some months back by the TV production company making 'Speed' but quickly decided they didn’t have sufficient understanding of the challenges involved for the project to have a fair chance of success. The main issue (apart from the ridiculously low budget they had) was that they expected the hovercraft to be ready within a couple of months. We considered that for a one off project with such massive safety issues we weren't prepared to rush into it. I know Bill - and cannot think of a better man to take on the speed challenge. I'm pretty sure he'd much rather have used a 20ft long craft with a pointy front end to reduce high-speed lift, given time and  money - neither of which (from our discussions) were available. Quite simply, I feel he was pushed towards grabbing what was available and making the best of it. For a utility/commercial hovercraft - I think it did pretty well.

 So, it ended in failure - of a sort. But it was a worthy attempt - a brief 79mph maximum speed remember. And what it has done is to reopen interest in a speed record attempt here in the UK.  We've certainly looked into it in a half-hearted way previously, and it's just possible we may turn the heat up under our plans. We're also aware that another well respected figure is making plans.

 So, fingers crossed that the program - and Guy Martin's involvement - has given the sport a shot in the arm. Well done to all involved.

 100mph in 2016…. now there's a challenge!

Free World Wide Delivery!

added by russ on November 4, 2014 at 11:38

FREE WORLDWIDE DELIVERY!

Yes you heard us right we are offering free worldwide delivery** of our bestselling hovercraft!

From now until Midday on 14th November we are offering free worldwide delivery on four of our bestselling hovercraft!

That gives you only 16 days to take advantage of this offer!

This offer is strictly limited to the first 10 craft so 
PICK UP THE PHONE NOW!! 
 

To your door for delivery in the EU or to your nearest port for the rest of the world!
 

The Marlin III – from only £13500.00*

 

Coastal Pro or MACV – from only £20000.00*

 

BBV 500 – from only £45000.00*

 

Call us today for more information! And to make things even more interesting order by Friday 31st October and we will include a free spares kit!

Tel +44 (0)1304 619820

Email - emma@flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk

Full terms and Conditions can be found HERE

*Please note that vat may be applicable on orders dependant on destination.

** see full terms and conditions for exclusions .


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