25 Jul:
Is it a Boat? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Hovercraft

The Hovercraft SR-N1, piloted by Captain Peter Lamb, sailed from Calais to Dover on 25th July 1959, fifty years to the day after Louis Blériot made the first crossing of the English Channel. It took 2 hours, 3 minutes. 

The brainchild of British engineer and inventor Christopher Cockerell, Hovercraft was described as a cross between an aircraft, a boat and a land vehicle, hovering just above the water on a cushion of air. Ultimately over 80 million people and 12 million cars crossed the Channel using Hovercraft. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Cockerell eventually got the UK Government on-side; consider the role of Duty Free regulations in its popularity and demise; and attempt to settle for good whether this iconic craft is *really* a boat, or a plane… 

Further Reading:

• Cross-Channel Aviation Pioneers: Blanchard and Bleriot, Vikings and Viscounts – By Bruce Hales-Dutton’ (Pen and Sword, 2021): 


• ‘Back to the future — amphibious travel gets a fresh lease of life’ (FT, 2016): https://www.ft.com/content/c986c712-3dd3-11e6-8716-a4a71e8140b0

• ‘What Happened To Giant Hovercraft?’ (Mustard, 2022):

#50s #UK #Inventions #Technology