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By Frank Tinsley

THIS radical new ship is now under development by the British government. According to the London Daily Mail the Saunders-Roe Aircraft Co. is now hard at work on preliminary research.

The idea is essentially the same as that proposed for Ford’s futuristic “Wheel-less Car.” (See Oct. ’58 MI) The MI design calls for an elongated saucer form with a horseshoe-shaped cavity underneath. Compressed air is expelled from nozzles in the top of this cavity, which contains the pressure and directs it against the sea’s surface, lifting the saucer a few feet above the water. Airplane-type propellers, driven by gas turbines, propel the skimmer at high speed. In docking or lying at anchor, the pressure is gradually reduced and the ship lowers to the water. A water propeller and rudder are provided for surface maneuvering.

The British expect saucers to carry up to 1,000 passengers, hit over 100 mph. Development will probably take about ten years.

  1. fred says: April 2, 20102:08 am


  2. Stephen says: April 2, 20106:25 am

    I think this must be a distorted impression of the SR.N4 hovercraft ferry, to an article about which I have linked. It first flew in 1968, which is indeed “about ten years” after the article published in 1959. It was, however, nothing like the ambitious luxury craft described here: it was a ferry with a tunnel through the middle and passenger seating on either side. The design in the illustration above shows a very poor understanding of hovercraft: it’s too high out of the water and has no retaining “skirt”. This means that, even by hovercraft standards, it would have been very inefficient.

  3. r peltier says: April 2, 201011:21 am

    WOW!!! One of the very few things this magazine reported on that actually went into production.

  4. KD5ZS says: April 2, 201011:28 am

    I wonder if the hovercraft ferrys are still be used between England and France.

  5. Firebrand38 says: April 2, 201012:08 pm

    KD5ZS: Wonder no more…
    Last service in England is offered by these folks http://www.hovertravel….

  6. KD5ZS says: April 2, 20101:27 pm

    Thanks! Very interesting.

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