The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now law! CoP24.

added by russ on December 9, 2015 at 12:08

Great news received from the MCA today. The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now formally adopted and has been given the catchy title of CoP23. To us it remains the 'hovercraft code.' You can download it from the MCA website HERE

This 100 page document has been prepared over three years between the British Hovercraft Company, Griffon Hoverwork, the Hovercraft Manufacturers Association, Lloyds, the MCA and other contributors such as The Hovercraft Museum and The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain.

It really does change everyhting, small hovercraft can now be coded for commercial operations using clear, industry lead standards and methods. The first part of the hovercraft code explains what catagories hovercraft go into for each role - be it commercial hovercraft, rescue hovercraft, recreational hovercraft craft or even racing and 'days out' stag and hen driving experiences! It's all in there and clarifies exactly how hovercraft operators can get their hovercraft coded for commercial operations.

So, after three years work, and dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours of work behind the scenes, today has seen all the hard work come good. It opens the way for small hovercraft to really show their potential and step up for intertidal work such as survey, crew transfer, sampling, security and anything else where fast, safe intertidal transport is required.

We do now provide this service - hovercraft hire - through our subsidiary Coastal Transit Services www.coastaltransit.services

If you have any questions on the code, please don't hesitate to contact us!

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-hovercraft-code-of-practice-cop-23

British Hovercraft Company - Play Day for friends and family!

added by russ on June 23, 2015 at 09:12

It's been a pretty mental few months now and at times, the order book has rather outstripped production! But the team working in production have risen to the task brilliantly - working, quickly and efficiently and putting extra hours in as required to make sure that customer orders have been completed on time - we're are genuinely grateful for their efforts.

As a bit of a thank you, we decided to throw another one of our 'play days' where we invite the familes and friends to come along for a drive in the safety of our demo track in Sandwich. Some vigourous work with the mower, rakes and water pump (to refill the bone dry pond!) gave us a useable track, Emma's new exhibition trailer (of which she is rediculously proud and excited!) was pressed into use as the corporate centre (we're not quite Red Bull Formula One yet!) and a huge BBQ thrown together from an empty acetone drum, base made from an old trailer chassis and off-cuts of hovercraft fan ducts providing the grill!

All in all, a quick and dirty bit or organisation which worked out just great. I was responsible for the weather (which was gorgeous) and we got really lucky when a stunt plane turned up and put a spectacular display on for the show in the next field over... result! Nobody died of food poisoning, dozens of people drove a hover for the first time and the kids and dogs were completely exhausted when we finished up around 6pm.

A great day, thanks so much to all our staff for their hard work, and friends and family for coming along and helping out.

Here's a few photographs from the day, mostly courtesy of my Auntie Brenda!

 

 Awesome show - Pitt Special?

 The peace and tranquility of an English summers day!

 

I taught a lot of people to drive... successfully too! :-)

Gary soaking the girls. 6 years old and they love it...2 years old and they hate it!

Your never too old to try it - right uncle?

Emma's trailer..next stop the vinyl wrap ready for some shows.

And you're never too young either - 10 year old Kai drove the Snapper like a boss! ("Daaaad? Can I race one next year....?")

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!

 

 

 

Medway & Swale Boating Association Meeting

added by russ on March 19, 2015 at 07:26

On behalf of the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain, together with two other active local hovercrafters, we attended the MSBA meeting at the Kent Boat & Ski club at Cuxton last night.

As usual, it was an interesting meeting and the MSBA provides a powerful voice for river users to address issues that effect them. With representatives in the room from Medway Council, the police, RYA and various clubs and organisations, it is also a great chance to find out about proposed developments, works and strategies. For instance, the Medway, and likely the Swale, are to become MCZ's (Marine Conservation Zones) which is always a concern as granting this staus is often the 'thin end of a wedge' which may prevent sensible dedging for instance (obviously not a concern for a hovercrafter, but I like boats too!) There's some rumours about powerboat racing returning to the Medway, and we'll put our names forward to be part of the Medway River Festival in July. Last time we buzzed round for the crowds, we were a bit of a hit!

The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain organises around 8-10 cruises on the Medway, Swale and Thames each year. There's a representation on the MSBA by another hovercraft club, but the local rep doesn'w own a hovercraft or organise any events - so our advice is to join the HCGB - the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain (Which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year!) and contact us here at BHC to find out what's coming up on 'our patch' down here in the South East. Lots coming up, just get in touch to join in the fun!

 

HCGB : www.hovercraft.org.uk MSBA : www.msba.org.uk

Hoverclub / HCGB Cruising Dates 2015.

added by Emma on February 6, 2015 at 07:06

CRUISING DATES 2015!

All dates and locations are provisional, and weather dependent. You'll need to be an HCGB member to launch at these events (Just £27/year!) Swale launches carry a £10 launch fee and you'll be asked to sign a one-off disclaimer covering all events you attend.If you'd like to discuss additional events, by all means mail me.

If I don't have your email address and you wish to be kept up to date, please mail me at russ(at)britishhovercraft.com or call 01304 619820

 

February 21st - Lowest tide of the century! We're headed to the Thames for some Mudlarking (look it up!) by hovercraft. More mudlarking than cruising but a good pre-season shakedown!

March 14th - Swale/Medway/Thames LW 1130/HW 1800

April 25th - Probably Swale/Medway/Thames LW 1030/HW 1700

May 30th & 31st - Liverpool/River Mersey Cruise from Liverpool Sailing Club

July 11th - Swale/Medway/Thames LW 0730 /HW1400 (probably the overnight camping trip)

July 26th - Possible Dover Regatta demo race or alternative.

Wednesday August 19th - Thanet Coastal Cruise.

August 29-31st - Solent cruise, based at Gang Warily Race meeting.

More to follow into Autumn.

 

 

HOVERCRAFT OPERATIONS ON THE RIVER MERSEY

added by russ on December 18, 2014 at 12:06

Those of you that see the updates on our Facebook page may have noticed that we have been busy providing crew transfer services on the Mersey Gateway project, a £600m six-lane motorway bridge over the Mersey linking Widnes & Runcorn in Cheshire.

This has been a very significant job for us, as it’s the first time that a small hovercraft has been used commercially under the terms of the 2014 Hovercraft Code of Practice. The 2014 Coastal-Pro MACV is designed and built to comply with the code, and all correct certification for skippers and the hovercraft are correct. As you can imagine, our risk assessments, method statements and plans had to be right up to scratch with all relevant permissions gained from the MCA, port authourity etc

The work has certainly been tough! Our job is to transfer the engineers and welders to and from the various barges and work sites, and with the river at Widnes being so tidal, the craft must be able to operate over both water and sand/mudflats. The tidal bore can be quite something, with the tide rising in a little over two hours. Having said that, the mud bank doesn’t always cover at all, so that after a week drying due to neap tides, the mud becomes extremely sticky. On the flooding or ebbing tide, coming alongside the barges can be challenging, especially in the recent winds. Our hardcore skippers start at 6:30am, with first transfers in the dark at 7:00am. During our first week, the cold temperatures have meant that the MACV has literally torn itself free of the ice coating the steel slipway in the morning with an unnerving ripping noise. Early though it is, any sleepiness is gone in the first ten yards – it’s bitterly cold and dark, and the mudflats change literally tide by tide with gullies coming and going overnight. The skipper needs to be alert and aware of the changes in the terrain and a set of the superb 'Cree' LED lights seem almost powerless on the giant landscape.  

CLICK FOR VIDEO - NIGHTIME TRANSFER 

It’s certainly been an interesting period with a very steep learning curve. The MACV has performed absolutely faultlessly, proving to be exactly the right size – large enough for two or three crew, but small enough to be ‘handy’ amongst the barges and cranes – able to get into and out of some pretty tight spaces and through the gullies and able to deal with that ‘sticky’ mud. We've been told that at leats one much heavier commercial/rescue hovercraft has become thoroughly stuck when attempting to operate in this area of the Mersey. Our lighter craft and segmented skirt allows us a workaround and the separate lift system is absolutely essential for this work.   

The mud rescue on site is being provided by a 'Sealegs' which if you've not seen one before is a 6m RIB with a hydraulically driven, three wheel system. This allows it to travel across the land as well as water. It's been interesting to compare the two vehicles - the Sealegs certainly offers an advantage in fast flowing tides (reverse is handy, a pointy bow and no skirt to drag in the water when not moving is a luxury) but it's is desperately slow on land and can only run for around half an hour before needing to cool down. On a bumpy day, give me the RIB every time, but crossing the mudflats from one side of the river to the other takes some twenty minutes - by contrast the MACV takes less than four! It's outboard has also proved vulnerable to silt in the shallow water conditions and it can get stuck if the mud is too soft - the wheels do have limits and cause a lot of damage to the littoral substrate that hovercraft don't. Having said that, it's been on the job for some months and is doing a demanding job in an environment I can’t believe it was actually designed for.

Our skippers (myself included) have learned a lot about skippering and driving the MACV in this role. We've managed to bend a few bits that we didn’t think could be bent, we've found components  that have frozen up on cold mornings, we've learned to deal with 'that' mud and certainly discovered the limits of the craft. We're pretty sure that every welder on site weighs a minimum of 100kgs, and every part of the MACV has been jumped or stepped on - so far with no damage which is rather gratifying!

VIDEO - DAYTIME FROM BARGE TO SHORE

So, as we end the year, we'll be bringing the MACV back from Liverpool for some love and attention and will be back in the new year to continue operations until Spring 2015, when we move to another, similar job in the North East of England. Exciting times!

Our thanks must go to the team at the MCA who have allowed small hovercraft to operate in this role, with the adoption of the Ultralight category of the Hovercraft Code of Practice 2014, Peel Ports for quickly assessing the viability and safety of our operations, and our duty skippers Nelson & Dave for their hard work in tough conditions.

 

Evening on the River mersey

 

Early morning, Sealegs and the MACV together.

 

One of our other jobs - providing a solid, stable base for survey equipment on dangerous mudflats.

 

Hovercraft Cruises - Date for the diary late 2014.

added by russ on October 2, 2014 at 06:38

Amongst the many 'hovercraft hats' I wear is the slightly dodgy sounding 'cruising director' for Hovercraft Club of Great Britain events.

Following last night's South East branch meeting, we've put together some dates for some late season cruises as below.

As usual - all hovercraft are welcome as long as they are reliable and safe in an uncontrolled (and demanding) marine environment. These are club events, not strictly Flying Fish ones but you'll need to join the HCGB to come along.

Saturday 4th October 2014 - Launching Gillingham Strand

Saturday 1st November - Long Reach Ski Club

Saturday 29th November - Long Reach Ski Club

Friday 26th December - Boxing Day cruise. Probabaly a 'round Thanet' keep-warm, pub-based cruise launching from Sandwich, Kent.

All dates are weather dependant - please contact me for more details of you'd like to come along.

Download the CRUISING GUIDE :    CRUISING INFORMATION.pdf (194.46 kb)

 

 

 

Happy Snappers!

added by russ on September 24, 2014 at 05:44

It was great to receive a couple of photographs from Adventure Sports in Warwickshire. They bought these two Snappers from us during summer and are delighted with them - they're now available within the huge range of activites Adventure Sports offer (if you can think of it, they probably do it!)

Zorbing, Paintball, Clay pigeon Shooting, Segways, Buggies, Archery, Quad biking, reverse-steer cars, 4x4 off roading  etc etc The list is endless!

Presented in a fetching Lotus-esque colour scheme, they look great and are to the latest specification.

For more details, contact

Adventure Sports Ltd, Warwick.

01926 491948 / 07808 911015

or visit their WEBSITE

 

 

European Hovercraft Racing from Towcester Race Course......Grrrrr!

added by russ on September 24, 2014 at 04:18

Well, that went well. Or Not.

Having been rather too buried under customers hovercraft during 2014, I hadn't managed to get back racing this season.

My new Cobra Formula 2 hovercraft was sporting a rather sexy Rotax 453 two-stroke engine (yes, yes, I know....!) in place of the hugely powerful but too heavy GSX-R600 Suzuki 4 Stroke. Lift system was carried forward from the previous craft -a fter all, it hovers beautifully and never lets me down (A Simonini Evo2 paramotor engine, it even has the luxury of electric strart!) But as the last race meeting of the year was at my favourite track, and was a European (more/better craft and top level racing) I decided we'd finish the Cobra off and have a bit of fun.

A few frantic nights work and we were ready.

After all, we were also holding the Hovercraft Manufacturers Association AGM (The HMA - more about that later) at the same venue on the thursday before, so I kind of spotted a sneaky day-off on the friday. It all fitted (actually Friday was spent smashing posts into the ground and building the course so that bit didn't work out!) but it was nice to be there in plenty of time.

A brief test of the new Rotax 440cc engine showed it pulled like a train....it passed the float test (always a nervous time for a fat bloke like me!) so I joined the back of the grid. No practice, I wasn't ready. In the race, it was clear the engine needed some set-up, when it did pull through into the rev range and the power valves opened... it was superb! But most of the time  - it didn't!

Anyway, finished the race pretty much last but with a plan and after a bit of tinkering tried again. This improved things a bit in race 2.... until the poreviously faultless lift engine cut. Dead. Just like that.

On a pretty much blind brow.

About 5 seconds after I'd overtaken Bananaman.

The ensuing impact wasn't his fault - it was mine for stopping in a damn stupid place.

In true 'hovercraft impact' style, his craft lost a couple of segments - the back of mine was trashed. The hitter always suffer much less damage than the hitee - all he had to do was push the rudders into the path of the blades and The 110bhp contained in the blades blew apart, did some severe damage, bent the fan frame and ripped out every last flow straightener and cone. The good news is that the hull is untouched and the running gear is fine - in any case the fan frame was temporary so thats no big deal.

Oops.

The message my friends is - don't rush building things. I should have started earlier and taken my time. Of course, the engine started up straight after the race, but somethign meant it failed on the day and mor etesting - in fact any testing - would likely have found it.

But - it was a great meeting, caught up with some friends I haven't seen for a while and superb racing from a challenging but very fast course.

And just to prove that there's always someone who has a worse weekend than you....this clip is from the start of a Formula One Race. Conrad Beale rolled his craft going into the first corner and was very, very lucky not to be collected by Greg Lallemand who was right behind him. Conrad ended up in hospital for observation and brain scans (a bit of a surprise as I'd always thought Formula One Hovercarft drivers had no brains!) but was released a day later. No doubt he feels pretty second hand, and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Thanks to Ross Hammond for some top-quality HD coverage!

Ross Hammond _ Facebook.mp4 (5.80 mb)

So - it'll soon be christmas which means May bank holidays not that far away - Best get on with mending it I guess!


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