Some of the historical 'haunts' on the River Medway.

added by Emma on March 20, 2014 at 07:14

The Medway is a spectacular river for those interested in maritime history. Last weekend, we used small hovercraft to explore some of the more interesting sites. There's still lots to see in the tidal area leading right up to Allington Lock. Check back for more updates as we explore this fascinating intertidal world!

 

View the video on  Youtube


www.flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk
0044 (0)1304 619820

Mercier-Jones Hovercraft - I'm calling you out!

added by Emma on March 18, 2014 at 07:21

 

 

The hovercraft community is pretty small, and the industry manufacturing them even smaller. So it's been very frustrating to watch the hype surrounding the Mercier-Jones hovercraft which has been created in Chicago and has secured so many column inches of newsprint over the last year or two.

It's fair to say, it looks very striking, and the manufacturers have clearly spent their money on the design, styling and marketing, which has landed them huge amounts of coverage in the media. Mercier-Jones  modestly claim the aesthetic inspiration of high end sports cars like Bugatti Veyrons & Audi R8's and make some incredible claims as to its performance and how their product will revolutionise an 'old-fashioned' industry. This is 'the future of personal transportation' apparently and it's amazing new system of steering paves the way for a 'street- legal' version… oh please, its vectored thrust, it's not new, it doesn’t work and the day will never come when one of these things drives legally down the road in a civilized country.

They claim 'hybrid technology' - Ah! All those batteries will explain why - at 400kgs plus - it's far too heavy for its size, leading to an unrealistic skirt pressure which means, it quite simply cannot work - these guys might be geniuses for all I know, but they can’t defeat physics.   

My hobby - away from building recreational and small commercial hovercraft - is racing them. I race in Formula 2 - my craft weighs half what the Mercier-Jones does, and has three times the horsepower. I reckon its good for 60mph. You should see what the 200kg Formula 1's can do with their 200bhp engines.  Take a look here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6YHz6YwlBo and you'll get the idea!

I doubt the bespoke, lightweight 200bhp hovercraft in this video are achieving much above 70mph, yet the Mercier Jones is faster than these apparently! "With top speeds estimated at over 80 MPH and acceleration that will rival it’s supercar cousins, Mercier-Jones hopes to handily beat the hovercraft land-speed record this summer of 56.25 mph and go after the water-speed record of 86.5 mph." It's rather like claiming your Dacia Duster will lap Spa Francochamps faster than Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

Unfortunately, Mercier-Jones aren’t the first company to flood the hovercraft market with ridiculous claims  The industry seems to have attracted lots of bullsh****rs over the years. They tend to come and go, usually leaving an investor or two considerably poorer.  But I have to say, this is certainly the most far-fetched, unrealistic  and misleading set of claims I've seen in my 30 years involvement with hovercraft. I'm sure their intentions are honest and this is a huge misunderstanding on my behalf.  

One of the outrageous claims that Mercier-Jones make is that their hovercraft works.

And that's an outrageous claim because….  it doesn’t! Look here for their test video….

http://www.independenttribune.com/news/concord/video_60c6a380-1ffb-11e3-8213-0019bb30f31a.html

There it is in a pond on the end of a rope (maybe that’s what they mean when they claim it's fly-by-wire?) in a big ball of spray hovering no more than one inch off the ground!  It's a fair way from this to their 87mph ambitions, that hovercraft does not produce a thrust ratio "which is slightly better than the supersonic B-2 Stealth Spirit" I've got to ask, what exactly are they celebrating at the end? That nobody drowned?

They claim the first craft will be delivered in May 2014, really? Who would witness this and splash out $75,000 on something which obviously doesn’t work? I've only ever seen one real one on film - everything else has been computer generated images.

You may well have picked up on the fact that I'm angry about this and may ask why. Well, it's not jealousy, (though I wouldn’t mind my company getting 1/10th the press coverage they've managed!) but I know just how much damage the Mercier Jones may cause the industry with their high profile shenanigans.  As secretary of the 'Hovercraft Manufacturers Association' (HMA) I'm very keen to mature and develop this nascent industry. Together with our some of our members, I've spent two years dealing with the UK Authorities to develop a new 'Hovercraft Code of Practice' and we're constantly lobbying government organisations and commercial operators who've had bad experiences with small hovercraft - and are firmly of the opinion that they simply don’t work. The Mercier Jones is simply going to further that opinion - negatively impacting on honest manufacturers and operators who are trying to develop their own businesses.

What I don’t know is what the aim of this whole project is - they've already attracted some funding from the IndieGoGo website - is the ambition to attract more, whilst they draw a decent wage? The problem is that plenty of people are excited by the idea of a hovercraft (when I finally invent a hoverboard, I'll be richer than Bill Gates) and I've seen some rather naïve investors and overexcited buyers jump in without first checking their facts.

One thing's for sure, the Mercier Jones doesn't work - yet they claim they’re taking orders. And that worries me.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/mercier-jones/hovercraft/prweb11664961.htm

Michael Mercier, Chris Jones - I'm calling you out to protect my industry and the sport I love. My company manufactures and sells over 100 of those 'old fashioned' hovercraft each year, and I'm happy to take on any dynamic challenge you can come up with. Flying Fish hovercraft steer accurately, hover a foot above the ground, do 40mph and work with up to four people on board - you can see them on the internet cruising  on rivers and the sea, beaches, ice, snow, sand, mud and estuaries. Can you provide a single piece of evidence that any of your claims are justified?

Because, if your company is ever going to achieve  100 hovercraft sales a year, one thing is pretty important.

They need to work.

 

 

 

Three more Minnow Hovercraft leave tomorrow!

added by Emma on March 13, 2014 at 11:52

I'm pretty sure my toys weren't this much fun when I was a lad - a hoop - and a stick if I was lucky.

Anyway, three more Minnow Hovercraft leave us tomorrow for their lucky new owners. Enjoy yourself lads!

 

WANT TO WORK IN THE HOVERCRAFT INDUSTRY?

added by Emma on January 2, 2014 at 05:38

WANT TO WORK IN THE HOVERCRAFT INDUSTRY?

WANTED : General Manager / Accounts Manager for SE Kent based manufacturing company. Flying Fish manufactures around 100 small hovercraft each year, employs 20 people and exports to a dozen countries from our factory in Sandwich. In  order to achieve consistent, targeted, production deadlines, we need an experienced full-time manager to join the management team,  overseeing all aspects of production staff management including fibreglass hull manufacture, engineering and fitting out. In addition, the manager will be required to administer company book keeping and accounts, including VAT reconciliation and filing, deal with suppliers and customers and have knowledge of Quickbooks or similar accounts software.

This role will suit a mature and experienced person with a working mechanical knowledge, a management and accounts background and the ability to motivate and organise staff.
 
Flying Fish is a small but expanding company, and this is a key role - so  you'll need to display a flexible, committed and proactive approach which can assist the management team at the highest level.

The role is 40 hours per week, plus extra hours as required in busy times and the successful candidate will start at the end of January.

For more details, please send your CV to Emma or Russ at Flying Fish Hovercraft,  via email : russ@flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk

Hovercraft Racing Video from Gang Warily....'THAT' accident!

added by Emma on November 13, 2013 at 10:42

Well, it wasn't going to end well was it.....?

 

 

 

GANG WARILY VIDEO

www.flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk
01304 619820
Cobra Racing Hull Kits from £1,500.00+VAT
Complete Marlin Leisure Hovercraft £13,500.00+VAT

Something of a fraught weekend, and for me, one best forgotten (and actually, parts of it already are... ten minutes unconscious does that!) but I keep getting asked for the on-board footage of my high-speed accident so here's a 5 minute video of the weekends fun and games. Skip to 5:30 if you only want to see the crash!

Next year the plan is to focus on the European Hovercraft Federation Championship (EHF). Dates have been released as below - and hopefully there will be a World Hovercraft Federation (WHF) World Championship event as well.....

24/25/(26UK only) May 2014 Hacket lakes UK Combined UK National & EHF meeting
21/22 June 2014 Prudhomat France
30/31 August 2014 Saalburg Germany
20/21 September 2014 Towcester UK Combined UK National & EHF meeting

 

Somebody likes our hovercraft!

added by Emma on November 4, 2013 at 07:10

Overall, I guess we should be flattered! I'm pretty sure that whoever designed this game saw a photo of the RAF Coastal-Pro online!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtXhTmjGeFI&feature=youtu.be

 

Cholmondleley Pagaent of Power - Round 3 of the HCGB National Hovercraft Championships.

added by Emma on June 20, 2013 at 06:06

A superb weekend racing at Cholmondeley saw the Volantis Hovercraft Racing Team finish first in Formula 2 with four wins from four starts - so a pretty good weekend!

Having finished third on the first meeting of the year, and fist in the last two rounds, with three rounds gone, theVolantis Cobra of Russ Pullen now leads the championship. Now to keep up the momentum for the rest of the season!

Next stop, Claydon House on July 20/21st. This is followed by a European race meeting at Prudhomat in southern France a week later.

 

Formula Two          
no Team Magnol Hacket Cholmo season
99
Russ Pullen 17 25 25 67
31 Team Polfrey 20 17 20 57
71 Kevin Tunaley 11 13 14 38
47 Wayne Ravenhall 15 14 9 38
92 Section4 9 15 10 34
77 Bernie Hook 10   17 27
100 Team Razor   12 15 27
73 Double A Racing 13   13 26
316 Team Castrol 25     25
62 James Limburn 14 7   21
50 Team Goldney   20   20
80 Team Wiggin 8 6   14
63 Team Buzzwagon     12 12
83 Nice But Dim Racing 12     12
111 John Cotton     11 11
44 Andy Griffith   11   11
39 Phil Jakeman   10   10
40 Wayne Hill   9   9
32 Fred Wilson   8   8
95 Nationwide Fire 503 7     7
130 Geoff Sweetman 6     6

 

Video from the last Open Race of the weekend.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47XkXlY7-D0

 Photo below courtesy of Rhiannon Black Photography - thanks Rhi!

Flying Fish back hovercraft racing in 2013!

added by russ on March 25, 2013 at 06:44

With the last couple of years being massive ones, there's been very little time to think of anything except the business (although 'business' means talking about, demonstrating and working on hovercraft design so it's pretty enjoyable most of the time!) and we've not had much time to go racing. But it feels like the time's right once more so I'd planned to build a bespoke racer from a hull kit. But with one thing and another, there was insufficient time so I started looking around for a complete craft and just happened to stumble across some interesting information about a Formula 2 hovercraft that was for sale in Belgium. I'm too big for Formula 50 or Formula 3 - and too scared to race in Formula One, so Formula 2 seemed like my natural home.

So, late last week, my dad and I jumped into his motorhome with a trailer on the back and shot over to Belgium to look at the Formula 2 'Cobra 5P' Hovercraft of Jos Vanderhoven, the creator of the fabulous 'Cobra' racing hovercraft. Jos is retiring from racing and had his own craft for sale, a Cobra 5P built to a very high specification. Looking over the craft, we were extremely impressed with the build quality and standard of finish. So what makes it go?

In the front is a separate lift engine, a 200cc Simonini Mini 2 Plus which is producing approximately 20bhp at 5500rpm. In the to push her along... oh boy... a Suzuki GSX-R600 motorbike engine which has a full Akropovic exhaust and piggyback ECU fueling system to provide something around 140bhp. So that's around 150-160bhp in a GRP hull which weighs a bit over 325kgs with me on board. Gulp.

Current fashion for racing craft features a long, tapering bow, which helps with lift at high speed and has advantages in the turns and the Cobra follows that design, it looks great and whilst it has only had three outings in Jos's hands, it's already been noted for it's performance. As a result of it's limited use, it's in fantastic condition and is quite ready to race.

So - with just six weeks to go before the first UK Meeting in Accrington, there's plenty of time to try the craft out and find a set up that we're happy with. If all goes well, we'll be racing the European Hovercraft Championship (EHC) which consists of four rounds, two in France, one in the UK and one in Flottsbro, Sweden. In the meantime, hopefully we'll also compete in a few of the popular UK rounds run by the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain (HCGB)  www.hovercraft.org.uk If you're not familiar with Hovercraft racing, take a look at this Youtube video from Prudhomat, one of the French rounds of the EHC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIiz0EygLvY

Spectacular stuff eh? Surprised If you want to know more about hovercraft racing or cruising, then get in touch and join up to the with the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain, at just £27/year, you'll have access to loads of information and events.

So, watch this space for updates, it's going to be an interesting summer!

 

 

 


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