What happened to passenger hovercraft? BBC text story

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by DCockey, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    Nice corporate golf buggy!
  2. BMcF
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    BMcF Senior Member

    It was the ideal corporate recreational diversion. The pilot (me) was always about as tense as an overwound clock spring trying to fly that unstable beast (I wrecked it twice..officially...and had at least two more "close calls" that I managed to make look instead like the consequence of deft piloting). The passengers were always a bit baffled - unnerved even - by the rapid-fire requests continually issued from the pilot to "move left!...move right!!...move back!!!..move forward" as the various maneuvers required to navigate the thing required all manner of ballast shifts..

    And between the fuel costs and excessive repair/maintenance overhead, I figger it cost easily $200/hour to operate.

    A real peach of an AMV. :D
  3. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

  4. BMcF
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    BMcF Senior Member

    That's a real shame. But they are so large, difficult to maintain...difficult to move intact..

    The hovercraft museum has always limped along on a wing and a prayer...

    I'm glad I got to see them when they were operating, though I missed several opportunities to make the crossing on one. We (my company) were doing a lot of work with Hoverspeed's new(er) high-speed cat ferries back in the late 90s. And Condor's too, for that matter.
  5. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    I had the pleasure many years ago. I even saw one of them being Christened by Princess Anne; a school trip many lifetimes ago!
  6. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Heh, me too. A bunch of kids from Texas and California, IIRC, in my case.
  7. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    We made the crossing from Dover to Calais and return in one day in 1997. Fare was 5 pounds per person for the round trip. This was when duty free was still available for cross channel crossings, and the person selling tickets said the money was being made on the duty free sales. Many, perhaps most of the passengers boarded pushing carts loaded with alcohol. When we got to Calais they walked through the terminal and immediately reboarded. We had a good lunch in Calais and then spent time on the beach waiting for the return trip. I watched the large, high speed monohull ferries entering and leaving the harbor. Our ride on the hovercraft was noisy and the view out the windows was obscured by the spray.
  8. BMcF
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    BMcF Senior Member

    Most of my time underway on larger hovercraft was in support of sea trials of the USN LCACs as they rolled off the assembly line. My "spot" was damp, cramped, noisy beyond belief, and with no view out save a tiny porthole that faced the cargo deck. Ahh...the good ole days. :D

    SAS used to operate an AP188 hovercraft in Malmo or Gothenburg, Sweden...I took that noisy, usually nasty, ride a couple times.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  9. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    all those big fabric skirts look like high maintenance.

    pushing a vessel through water at 50kts+ doesn't sound viable and too subject to sea states from waves coming from 100s of miles away.

    Maybe a good fit for a Caspian Sea Monster huge wing in ground effect craft.

    I heard they didn't work out for Soviet military because of hitting submerged logs on take off and landings. But that is military operation where you can't just hop from seaplane port to seaplane port.

    Keeping logs out of a particular seaplane landing area isn't a particularly difficult chore.
  10. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    I did the crossing once; I'm afraid it was cramped, noisy, and no view. I had a pint of milk in my bag (I drank a lot of milk in those days.) It was solid yoghurt from the vibration by the time we arrived.

    By contrast, my favourite crossing ever was the (now also sadly defunct) Fleetwood - Larne crossing; its the waggon drivers crossing, so in the daytime the boat was pretty empty, the cooked breakfast was spectacular, you could get an outside cabin with an opening porthole for a tenner suppliment, and the bar opened straight away; the passenger deck was the roof of the boat, so after a slap up fry up, you could get a pint of irish guiness, and lozz about on deck for 3 or 4 hours, watching the isle of man slide by in the sun...

    (can't help wonder if my memory deceives me about the opening porthole - I have a clear memory of lying on the bunk while my little lads had a zzz, with a delightful breeze from the porthole, but it seems unlikely on a ferry with hindsight)

  11. gtflash
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    gtflash Senior Member

    Still see this near me. Pebble beach one side and massively tidal sand beach to cross other side. It's an odd ride. You see the wash, but it just doesn't go up and crash like a boat. Till the waves and wind get bigger. Then it stops very quickly. All local boaters know to keep out its way

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