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Many of the plans available are poorly written and based on outdated 1970’s designs.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 .

The Coastal-Pro - designed with rescue hovercraft in mind.

added by russ on October 9, 2014 at 04:33

The new Coastal-Pro from Flying Fish is aimed squarely at utility/commercial and rescue operations.

Hovercraft can travel over pretty much *any* surface, but the key to their potential as rescue craft lies in their ability to effortlessly traverse

*Shallow Water* where conventional vessels cannot approach a victim or vessel.

*Mud Rescue* where traditional methods are almost farcical ('mud shoes' and dragging a sled/stretcher together with rope and equipment.)

*Ice Rescue* - The perfect vessel as a hovercraft spreads its weight over the entire area it covers, meaning less chance of ice breakage. Can also travel over water should ice break.

Twin engines give precise control and an ability to travel very slowly whilst retaining maximum lift and ground clearance. Larger size gives more space and load carrying capacity but retains excellent manoeuverability and ability to access tight areas.

We've previously supplied Marlin & Coastal-Pro hovercraft to countries such as Finland & Hungary for rescue operations, as well as assisting State Emergency Services in Australia during the  2010 Queensland Floods. So if your rescue organsation is looking for a viable and cost effective alternative to current methods, please call us!

 

 

Flying Fish Demo Day - come along and try out a Coastal-Pro or Marlin III in the Swale, Kent.

added by russ on October 7, 2014 at 09:43

If you've seen our cruise videos, you'll be familiar with the Swale. It's pretty much perfect hovercraft country, very tidal, big mudflats and reliably calm water.

Ideal then for a Demo day!

So, this Sunday, we'll be at the Long Reach Ski Club, close by Iwade, so if you'd like a demo of either the Marlin III or Coastal-Pro MACV. With the adoption of the 2014 MCA Hovercraft Code of Practice, small hovercraft now have many potential commercial uses, as well as being fantastic recreational toys.

The Marlin is the best sellign small hovercraft in the world. The Coastal-Pro is a brand new twin engined hovercraft at hom ein both commercial and recreational roles.

You'll need to call us to arrange a time from 12.30pm onwards and high tide is at 4pm so earlier will be better to demonstrate the amphibious qualities of hovercraft if you want to experience the full magic!

Flying Fish Hovercraft

sales@flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk

Telephone : 01304 619820

 

 

 

 Coastal-Pro

 

Marlin III

Hovercraft Torture Testing - Torrential Rain, High Winds & Salt Water!

added by russ on October 7, 2014 at 08:15

What were we thinking? It was Carl's fault, he wanted to spend his birthday out on his hover. The weather forecast was for 25mph gusts and torrential rain. For once they got it right. Together with 3 Marlin II's, it was also the first time out in such terrible conditions for the new Coastal-Pro MACV.

We returned some three hours and 20 miles later very cold, and soaked through to the unmentionables - but we did prove that our craft can take pretty much anything you can throw at them!

Take a look at the video, and leave a comment/like it (if you do!)

Flying Fish Marlin III, Coastal-Pro and BBV500 hovercraft are ready for marine usage. Days like this teach you plenty and having experienced many of them over the years, we know our hovercraft perform extremely well even in the worst conditions.

The Coastal-Pro is the new 2014 3-4 Seat Hovercraft from Flying Fish which is designed for the commercial market. With Hovercraft legislation having completely changed in 2014, small hovercraft can now be used for a huge range of intertidal and shallow water applications such as water sampling, nearshore survey,Water Quality Sampling (Benthic, WFD, Plankton sampling,) Intertidal Fish Stock Monitoring (Seine and Fyke netting) Ecological Survey,Tidal Flow Monitoring,Accoustic Survey (Hydrophone) Bank Erosion Surveys, Bridge and Structural Surveys, wildlife Monitoring such as bird, seal & cetacean and habitat survey.
One day, who knows, maybe the Coastguard will finally see sense and buy some hovercraft for Mud Rescue!

 

Current Pricing 2014, ask for full pricing.

Complete Component Sets to build your own Snapper or Marlin II from £5000+VAT
Marlin Hovercraft - New - from £8750.00+VAT
Coastal-Pro from £19,950.00+VAT

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!

COASTAL TRANSIT SERVICES - A NEW SERVICE FOR BUSINESSES WORKING IN INTERTIDAL AREAS.

added by russ on September 23, 2014 at 08:01

Survey and monitoring operations in intertidal areas have always represented a challenge. At best walking across tidal flats carrying heavy equipment can be hard, slow, dirty work -  at worst, soft mud and fast tides can make it a lethal business.

The Solution

However - a practical and cost-effective solution is finally available. In June this year, the regulations governing the use of small hovercraft for UK commercial operations were substantially revised, after UK manufacturers Flying Fish Hovercraft & Griffon Hoverwork spent two years working with the MCA to produce a 'Hovercraft Code of Practice' (HCoP).

This means that small hovercraft can be used in limited commercial operations without any requirement for coding, as long as it is built, equipped and operated in accordance with the HCoP. To that end, Flying Fish designed and produced a new model of hovercraft specifically aimed at intertidal marine work such as sampling, survey and ecological monitoring in environmentally sensitive areas such as estuaries, foreshores and mudflats.  

The MACV can travel over any surface. Any depth of water, mudflats and sand can be traversed in complete safety with up to 4 persons on board. Noise levels and economy are exceptional, and the MACV has zero environment impact as it exerts less pressure on the ground than 12" of tide. Research as shown that birds are no more disturbed by the craft than any other vessel.  The speed of the MACV means that projects can be completed much more quickly and 'between the tide' times are extended without risk, saving time and money.

Cost Effective Rental

In response to adoption of the new code, Flying Fish have launched a new service 'Coastal Transit Services' to provide MACV craft and skippers on either long or short term hire anywhere in the UK or EU. Hire costs may vary based on location and length of deployment, but are quite modest in the region of £700.00/day including skipper and fuel  As manufacturers, CTS have full support and backup for their service, and skippers are all qualified to required standards as well as having a minimum of 5 years experience in small craft.

Recent work has been undertaken with a survey company on the tidal Thames, and a University in the west country with both organisations declaring themselves delighted with the comfort, safety and cost savings.

MACV's are also available for sale to organisations with more regular work in intertidal areas. Built and equipped to MCA specification, together with manufacturers conformity statement from £25,000.00+VAT.

For more details, visit www.coastaltransit.services or call us on (01304) 619820


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