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.
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.