Everything we learnt about the upcoming new Hovercraft (podcast and gallery)

Hovertravel’s chief pilot talks us through the new craft designs. Listen to the podcast and look at the photo gallery.

New Hovercraft at Griffon Hoverwork's factory

On the way back from yesterday’s tour of the Griffon Hoverworks factory in Southampton, when plans for Hovertravel’s two new craft were revealed, we managed to catch some time with their Chief Pilot, Peter Mulhern.

As mentioned yesterday, Peter has been intimately involved with the plans for the new craft – which are expected to be in use in early 2016 – bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

Quieter journeys
The new craft, although being different in design, will be a similar size to the current ones in use on the Solent.

If you’ve ever been on the Hovercraft, you can’t help but notice the very loud humming of the engines in the background.

Peter says the new craft will have significantly quieter engines, which will be welcome news to those living near the seafront, but also opens up the possibility of the Hovercraft being run earlier or later in the day too.

Five minute turnaround
Another plus with the new craft will be a change to the boarding. Instead of to the rear of the craft the new entrances are at the front.

The front opening doors, Peter says, are effectively self-contained ramps. One side entrance has steps, the other a ramp.

Bicycles, wheelchairs and large suitcases will be able to go inside the craft, all protecting the five minute turnaround target.

It’s hoped that all the seating will be quick release, so during festival periods, for example, seating can be removed to provide more luggage space.

Inside the cockpit
For those interested in what happens behind the little hatch in the ceiling, Peter explains his hand in the designs of the cockpit.

Hear more from Peter about the two new Hovercraft by clicking on the play button below.

Click on images to see larger version
Visit to Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Diagram of Hovertravel's new craft
Diagram of Hovertravel's new craft
Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Mock-up of Hovertravel's new craft at Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Mock-up of Hovertravel's new craft at Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Mock-up of Hovertravel's new craft at Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Mock-up of Hovertravel's new craft at Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Hovertravel's new craft at Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Griffon Hoverwork's Factory
Model military hovercraft

Thursday, 27th November, 2014 8:57pm


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Filed under: Hover, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, podcast, Top story

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6 Comments on "Everything we learnt about the upcoming new Hovercraft (podcast and gallery)"

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I note the comment about loading being labour intensive and the new craft making it easier. I don’t suppose running two four engined craft and a hoverbus is cheap with all the fuel costs. Nor is paying out compensation to the commuters who put up with the ‘niggles’ of aging craft constantly breaking down. After the cost of fuel and maintenance their biggest costs are staff and… Read more »
I don’t see how a different exit location will stop the usual suspects from leaping out of their seats as soon as the “we are approaching” announcement is heard. The warning about remaining seated is merely to cover the operator’s backside, in any case. If an accident occurs during landing and one of those standing is injured they won’t have a leg to stand on. And if… Read more »

It used to be not uncommon practice for the chief steward on an airliner to pick up the intercom to the cockpit and have a chat with the captain if passengers rose from their seats on the taxiway.

“A touch on the brakes, if you would be so kind”.

They tended to stay seated after that.

The captain would usually apologise for the rabbit on the taxiway.

Robin Paine
There is a 700 page book, with 450 pictures called ‘On a Cushion of Air’,which tells the story of Christopher Cockerell’s discovery that heavy weights could be supported on a cushion of low pressure air, and the development of the hovercraft by those who were there, from the very early days (including when Hovertravel started in 1965) through to the heyday of the giant 165-ton SRN.4, which… Read more »

Hovertravel is an excellent part of the mix for crossing to the mainland. I am writing this from Greggs Café in Portsmouth having taken Hovertravel’s Blue Residents’ Card (free) special offer today for £5 return. Bless them! I’m looking forward to the new hovercraft — looks terrific.


Oh…forgot to mention….not such good news for Island businesses. If we had a cheap fixed link how many would nip over to the mainland for shopping, lunch, etc.? Don’t be too quick to wish for a very cheap link; it might change the Island beyond recognition. For the better or worse? Depends on your point of view.