Hovercraft History - Griffon Hoverwork
1870s - 1960s
The concept of an "air-cushion" vehicle was first explored by the British engineer Sir John Thornycroft in the 1870s as a way of reducing the drag experienced by boats using a pocket of air between the hull and water. In the 1930s Russian aerodynamicist Vladimir Lekov took this a step further, experimenting with the "sidewall" hovercraft which proved to be fast but unreliable.
It was not until British Inventor Sir Christopher Cockerell developed his British Government funded prototype, the SR.N1, that the modern day hovercraft was born into reality. This craft famously crossed the English Channel on July 25 1959 forever changing the way humans could travel between land and sea. In 1961 hovercraft skirts were introduced to the design which provided far greater performance abilities and sea keeping.
Hovertravel Ltd Formed
By this time the technology in hovercraft had reached the stage where commercial use was possible. Hovertravel Ltd (Griffon Hoverwork's sister company) was founded and began operating passenger services between the South Coast of the UK and the Isle of Wight.
Hoverwork Ltd Formed
Hoverwork Ltd was formed, bridging the gap between operator and manufacturer to offer chartered hovercraft services across the world
Griffon Hovercraft Ltd Formed
Griffon Hovercraft was formed, a manufacturer building ducted propeller hovercraft for commercial, military and rescue.
Hovercraft Consultants Ltd Formed
Hovercraft Consultants Ltd was founded, specialising in hovercraft skirt design.
The 1000TD, Griffon's first diesel powered craft launched.
The first hovercraft is delivered to the RNLI for search and rescue along the coast of the United Kingdom.
Royal Marines in Iraq
The UK Royal Marines use their fleet of 2000TDs during the Iraq war.
Hovercraft United by Bland Group
Griffon Hovercraft and Hoverwork, acquired by the Bland Group in 2008, merges to form Griffon Hoverwork Ltd. Hovercraft Consultants also joins Griffon Hoverwork, uniting almost half a century of hovercraft design, manufacture and operational experience.
Pakistan Flood Relief
The Pakistan Navy use their 2000TD hovercraft fleet in severe flooding to help reach the millions of people effected and in need of medical aid and relief. The hovercraft were able to fly over the uncharted, debris strewn waters to reach isolated communities.
Griffon's Largest Hovercraft
The Korean Coast Guard receive the BHT-150. The largest hovercraft ever built by Griffon Hoverwork at 31 metres in length and 20 tonnes of payload.
Auckland Airport Rescue
Auckland Airport, New Zealand, receive a second 2000TD for quick direct response in air crash rescue over the mudflats surrounding the runway.
Future of Passenger Travel
Hovertravel replace their existinghovercraft fleet with two 12000TDs. The most advanced large payload hovercraft developed by Griffon Hoverwork today.
The most advanced small craft offered by Griffon Hoverwork, the 995ED, is delivered to its first customer, the Malaysian Marine Department. An electric diesel craft with just under 1 tonne of payload powered by two engines.
Into the Future..
From its first beginnings to 2019 hovercraft technology continues to develop and evolve fulfilling roles from military to commercial. Today, planet has reached uncertain environmental times. As strong believers that this technology can help change the world, we continue to strive towards our mission of providing customers with the products and services that enable them to readily save lives and access the inaccessible across the globe.