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Urgent - Government Dept all set to scrap last two Giant SRN4's

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Urgent - Government Dept all set to scrap last two Giant SRN4's

Old 30th Jan 2016, 17:26
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Urgent - Government Dept all set to scrap last two Giant SRN4's



https://www.change.org/p/homes-and-c...fb_ref=Default

Hello All,

Professional pilots flew these giant machines across the channel daily for 33 years - perhaps some here would be keen to help save at least one from the bulldozers that are now to scrap the two survivors stored at Lee-on-Solent!

I am sure many aviation and marine engineers and pilots would wish at least one of the Giant Cross-Channel SRN4 hovercraft to be saved from the bulldozers for the nation. It is almost miraculous that two still exist in 2017 but both are now to be scrapped - unless a last-ditch rescue plan urgently gains popular support.

Please support and help publicise the campaign if you can - thank you!

These giant craft were operated by pilots with aviation licences and flights were regulated by the aviation authorities. mod's please move to other forum if appropriate, thank you!

https://www.change.org/p/homes-and-c...fb_ref=Default

Last edited by execExpress; 30th Jan 2016 at 17:43.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 18:12
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I travelled on these a few times. Amazing beasts. Have signed the petition.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 18:51
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BBC News coverage tells the story so far

#BBC News coverage Hoverspeed hovercraft set to be destroyed - BBC News
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 20:06
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Had the privilege of a "Jump Seat" ride on one when I communicated I was doing the same route (well CDG-LHR-CDG ) twice a day in a 737.

Fascinating machine, and was very happily able to reciprocate for both guys, as we were living in "calmer times" at that moment.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 21:00
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I always wondered how they would calculate their top of descend.
Nontheless, very cool pieces of engineering...
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 23:21
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I, too, had a jump-seat ride when I (mischievously) asked the hostie if I could "go out on deck" - meaning outside . . .

She returned a few minutes later and I was invited to follow her (through the vehicle deck) and then up a staircase to the 'cockpit'.

The pilot was talkative and described himself as "neither fish nor fowl" and explained the rules and how the machine was operated.

The view from the cockpit was free from the spray that enveloped the rest of the 'craft'.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 08:17
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No, they were not operated by pilots with aviation licences, and neither were they regulated by aviation authorities.
Anyway good luck in your quest!
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 08:40
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Like the Steam Train, the Glider, the jet engine, the Comet, Concorde and Harrier, this is a true icon of British technological history, one of those eccentric but brilliant inventions we should be proud of and look after appropriately. In an age where other nations now get the enthusiasm and funding from their governments to develop and test new weird and wonderful transportation machines which may one day see regular use by the masses, this iconic British invention, engineering masterpiece and important part of our recent history, should be preserved for future generations so we can show them how truly 'Great', forward-thinking and technologically-advanced Britain once was.

Please help save just one of the largest - the British Hovercraft Corporation (Saunders-Roe) SR.N4 'Princess Anne'. You'll also be preserving all the hard work and dedication that hundreds of designers, engineers and crew gave so that thousands could enjoy this once taken-for-granted ultra-quick method of marine-aviation transport linking the UK to the continent. Please sign the petition above.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 09:36
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Rather than scrap these machines, surely one of them could be preserved at the Science Museum site at Wroughton. Might also be able to give rides there on Open Days!!
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 11:08
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Opportunity cost

The money would be better spent elsewhere I'd suggest. Whilst I'd agree that maintaining one of these beasts as a static display would be preferable to junking them both, I'd offer the opinion that maintaining even one in operational condition would be a gigantic waste of money. These are cross-Channel ferries! Imagine one trundling round Duxford...

I well remember the introduction of the first few hovercraft. They were hailed as a British revolution in transportation (British!) that was soon going to be seen in all kinds of applications. I also worked for a while with a woman who had been a hostess on one of these craft. The most lasting impression it left on her was the quantity of vomit she had to work around in less than perfect weather. No doubt there may be a few residual applications in the military where these craft are still extremely useful but in the main they were a technological cul-de-sac.

Now the "Caspian Sea Monster" Ekranoplans is a different matter. I'd pay for a trip round the bay on that.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 12:08
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Originally Posted by skridlov View Post
Now the "Caspian Sea Monster" Ekranoplans is a different matter. I'd pay for a trip round the bay on that.
Sad that the hovercraft, which did work, comes out second in line to a ride on the ekranoplan which didn't, although the monster certainly won on sheer weirdness.

The trouble with preserving these things is, I suspect not only money but their size. They are simply huge and I very much doubt you'd ever manage to get one to Cosford or Duxford. Someone needs to find not only a stack of cash but a suitable acreage of land accessible from the sea via a sloping beach - and that assumes they are still operable which I haven't seen stated so far. They'd be unlikely to come apart into roadable size bits so how the heck would you shift them?

56 X 23 metres and 300T laden weight. (The area of 5 tennis courts)
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 13:00
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Have I missed something in the links - how is this a "Government Dept" that intends to scrap these? No reference to who actually owns them.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 13:49
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SRN4 hovercraft possible destruction

On the basis that passenger hovercraft in the UK are registered with the CAA and the SRN4 were powered by aero engines, I'm taking a punt and flagging this up here.

A terrible shame (again) if one of these leviathans are not saved for posterity. The Saunders Roe Princess class flying boat was lost and it would seem absurd to lose these too.

Petition to save last cross-Channel hovercraft - BBC News
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 14:08
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Smile SRN4 hovercraft possible destruction

These magnificent hovercraft are an example of British inventiveness by Christopher Cockerell who would turn in his grave if he knew that these two remaining examples could finish up on the scrapheap. One at least needs to be saved for the World's only Hovercraft Museum if enough persons will support the petition which can be seen on the Museum's website, otherwise
we will have no remaining live exhibit to show future generations this important heritage.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 14:14
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The Ramsgate Hoverport concrete slope still exists. However, a hangar would be required to be built to preserve one indoors.

That is of course, if one could get there under it's own power!
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:13
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I've signed up. I have never even seen an N4, but my dad worked for Hoverwork/Hovertravel, so I'm well acquainted with N6s.

It's interesting that the Beeb can't even get their video right. The aerial shots are of a Hovertravel AP1-88, not an N4!

Petition here: http://www.hovercraft-museum.org/
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:22
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It's interesting that the Beeb can't even get their video right. The aerial shots are of a Hovertravel AP1-88, not an N4!
I noticed that too. Still, at least it is an actual hovercraft and not a catamaran - that would be too ironic even for a journalistic lazy mistake.
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:30
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As an engineering student, we received a lecture in the early 1960s from Christopher Cockerell about his invention.

Soon after news of his idea had emerged, CC received a visit from representatives of the Army (or maybe just 'Defence') who grilled him as to the potential.

He explained that the machine did, indeed have cross-country capabilities, and questioned in what role they saw his invention being 'necessary'.

He pointed out that they already had Land Rovers and larger 4x4s - but they said that these were hindered by obstructions such as hedges.

CC did a calculation to increase the hover height to 6ft and pointed out that the curtain area necessary would produce a vehicle too wide to fit between trees in hedges.

The military chiefs demanded another calculation for a machine capable of hovering high enough to pass over trees.

The resulting machine would have had to be large enough that it would have been capable of carrying the entire British Army (as it was in the 1950s).
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 18:03
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Hovercraft RTF?

As AirUK implies, the hovercraft is another one of those fantastic British solutions looking for a problem. As a point of interest these craft were characterised and perhaps approved? more like aircraft than boats If a project were to be funded, would this be a return to flight (RTF)? I ask because most unlikely RR be interested in zero timing any Proteus engines. Is a hovercraft flying or just performing fast taxiing?
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 21:35
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Is a hovercraft flying or just performing fast taxiing?
Try taxiing at 50kts on a rough, slippery taxiway! One of the issues for other mariners, when dealing with hovercraft, is visually assessing the track which can vary dramatically from the craft's heading.

The SRN craft were built like aircraft and had expensive gas-turbine engines, so they were fragile and expensive to operate. The second generation craft (AP1-88) were built more like aluminium work boats and had marine diesel engines, so they were much more durable and the operating costs were lower.

I remember my dad coming home one day, very happy because he had discovered that the amber anti-collision beacons on the SRN-6s were the same as those on the "Ryde Council dustcarts". So he was able to buy them from a commercial vehicle dealer for a fraction of the cost of a CAA-approved aircraft part!

I don't know if it is still there, but rather than install radar on each craft, Hovertravel installed a radar on the roof of the Esplanade Hotel in Ryde and in foggy weather, one of the pilots would operate as an "en route and approach controller". The hotel's owner liked to brag that he had the only "radar-equipped hotel" on the south coast!

Last edited by India Four Two; 31st Jan 2016 at 21:53.
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