Carbon Fibre Integrated Hovercraft....no, not really the answer!

added by russ on May 28, 2015 at 10:23

Unfortunately, the days of cross channel 300 ton monster hovercraft are behind us, killed off by many factors - unavailability of engine servicing, increased fuel costs and finally, the end of duty free.

Nowadays, the Russian Navy ZUBR, and the US Marine LCAC's operate the world's largest hovercraft. Here in the UK, the Hovertravel AP1-88 flies the flag for the largest craft in the UK.

Down at the ‘other end’ of the scale, our original single seat ‘Snapper’ of 1998 now has a larger sibling in the shape of the Coastal-Pro, a 3-4 seat commercial craft which has been selling well to people who need a practical, safe and effective hovercraft for such uses as transport on frozen rivers, through tidal estuaries and over mudflats.

The biggest difference between the Coastal-Pro and our earlier hovercraft (the Marlin, Snapper and Mark One Coastal-Pro) is that it uses a separate lift system, which is controlled independently from the thrust system. Our smaller hovercraft use just one engine to give both lift and thrust, a system which works really well on smaller hovercraft but is redundant by the time the craft gets to 3 seats/4m or so. The Coastal-Pro is the first of these twin-engined hovercraft from BHC, but larger ones will follow.

 

As a result the Coastal-Pro can lift over 300kgs from a dead-start on water, and carry considerably more on land or over water without needing to stop. The earlier craft without he separate lift engine displayed some shortcomings in this area, which is why the  new Coastal-Pro was born. Quite simply, larger hovercraft don’t work with a single engine and fan.

Interestingly, one company has recently released an integrated 5m hovercraft built from Carbon Fibre which they claim is capable of seating (variously!) seven to nine people or an astonishing half-tone payload – from a water start, this is a hovercraft’s biggest challenge. Of course, none of the videos actually show it doing so with 7 people on board (just big cardboard boxes in the back full of what I wonder? Air?) If you have a desire to never hear again, take a look at a video of it in action (WARNING : HEARING DAMAGE VERY LIKELY!) VIDEO

The whole design concept of a 7 seat integrated hovercraft is simply wrong. It’s a fundamental design flaw akin to building a 400bhp three wheel Ferrari or an aeroplane with one wing. This particular example is powered by a 120bhp turbocharged engine – huge complexity and noise levels fit to burst eardrums (this, from our analysis is around 96dbA at 25m, loud even for a racinghovercraft!) A carbon fibre hull is space rocket technology stuff, sure. But in hovercraft use, it’s brittle and shatters quite easily, a more useful design would be to back it up with Kevlar (something we and many others have learned from racing hovercraft over the years of competition) – on its own, it’s a poor choice.

The problems can be seen quite clearly on the promo videos, the integrated design means very poor hover height, the hovercraft never truly hovers which means the skirt is dragging and will wear out in no time. Worst case, poor hovering can mean it will catch the ground travelling sideways and stop dead or flip over…ouch!

You cannot simply ‘’scale up’ small hovercraft and expect them to work as well – there has to be limits, and this one’s been crossed - and here's the result.

Meanwhile...put your fingers in your ears, turn down the volume on your PC and and play THIS VIDEO!

Take a look at this photo - wow! No words needed!

 

 

The bottom line is that despite being a much smaller hovercraft, our Coastal-Pro (all 65bhp of it) will outperform this 5m, 120bhp offering. It’s around 1/3rd of the noise level, three times as economical, carries just as much payload, is easier to drive, more reliable (seriously – a turbocharger and extensive electronics in a saltwater environment???) – oh, and much prettier! :-)

All those years of R&D, racing, cruising, commercial work and using our own craft in every conceivable environment have given The british Hovercraft Company unmatched experience in the design and production of real, working hovercraft. No bull, no wild figures, no opinion – we’re proud to say our hovercraft perform exactly as promised in our literature and on this website

By all means, try out other hovercraft brands – then come along to us for a demo, we’ll be happy to see you and demonstrate the advantages of a clear design philosophy.

For demonstrations, please call us on 01304 619820

 

 

Demonstrations this weekend in Liverpool.

added by Emma on May 26, 2015 at 10:51

Venturing out of Kent, we're headed up for a play on the Mersey this weekend, a Hovercraft Club event, kindly hosted for the third year by the Liverpool Sailing Club  

Whilst we'll be off on a cruise or two, there will also be plenty of time to offer demonstrations to potential buyers - so do please get in touch if our 300 mile trip north makes things a little easier for you! You can email us : info@britishhovercraft.com or call 01304 619820

 

To show you exactly what it *wont* be like but hopefully to excite you to the idea - here's a photo of a Marlin taken ten years ago on a sunny beach in Melbourne, Australia. Smile

 

Yup, that really was a Marlin you saw on the 'Clarkson, Hammond & May Live' Show!

added by Emma on May 23, 2015 at 07:26

Jeremy Clarkson likes hovercraft. In fact, interviewing Rupert Grint on Top Gear in 2010, he stated 'Hovercraft are THE most fun you can have with an engine!' Coming from a man who's driven every car worth driving on the planet...that's quite an accolade! He's featured hovers on Top Gear at least four times, so when the BBC got in touch and asked us to provide a Marlin for Jeremy to drive on the (now infamous!) 'Hovervan' episode in 2013, we were delighted to agree. During the filming, Jeremy blasted round a grassy field and said some really nice things about our hovercraft, and we spent a couple of days at the filming their crazy antics in the Hovervan.  All in all, great fun!

So, we were pretty excited when Jeremy got back in touch and asked us to provide another hovercraft for the brand new 'Clarkson, Hammond & May' show which opened last night in Belfast. Since the 2013 show, we've released a new Marlin, and in accordance with the wishes of the show organisers, it got rather 'blinged up' with full on LED lighting. Not enough for Jeremy however, the fireworks you see in the photos were pyrotechnics actually launched from the craft as he drove on to the sound of 'Eye of The Tiger!'

Now THAT'S an entrance!

Jeremy is a champion for British engineering and manufacturing, and we owe him a big thank you for this exciting, high profile opportunity for us to demonstrate one of our UK manufactured hovercraft in front of thousands of petrol heads. Of course, we were up early this morning to grab every newspaper from the corner shop and three daily's have pictures of his grand entrance in our Marlin hovercraft.

We'd already planned a limited edition model to mark the occasion, in same colours as the CH&M hovercraft with upgraded engine, upholstery and a graphics kit....but after seeing the Daily Star's headline, we think we'll call it...

'The BEAST'

The Beast is priced at just £9,950.00+VAT - Call us for more details!

 

 

 


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