Griffon Hoverwork have developed a ground-breaking new model of hovercraft called the 12000TD. The new craft is the most technically advanced and modern hovercraft available today, offering better fuel efficiency, low emissions and significantly less noise.
Our sister company, Hovertravel, is the first company to operate the new model of hovercraft, investing in two new passenger hovercraft to replace their ageing fleet, the two craft named 'Solent Flyer' and 'Island Flyer' will enter into service this summer. As the world's longest running commercial hovercraft operator, Hovertravel operate between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, making 70 journeys a day across the Solent.
The 22.4m craft is driven by two diesel engines that provide integrated lift and forward thrust and is capable of carrying 80 passengers or 12 tons of cargo, achieving a top speed of 50 knots.
From our extensive knowledge in the maritime sector, experience in proven technology and relationships with key partners, the new craft features break-through technology and delivers the advantages of low running and maintenance costs, as well as exceptionally low noise, low emissions and a fully flexible internal layout. Some of the advances in technology include our new diesel electric drive system and bonded aluminium structures as an alternative to traditional welding.
Powered by two engines instead of four and using slower turning propellers has resulted in signification improvements in noise levels and fuel savings of up to a third, these production improvements on the 12000TD mean the noise levels are significantly reduced when compared with craft of a similar size, the average reading taken in the public space was 74dB, equivalent to that of office noise.
The propellers and fans are driven via carbon fibre synchrochain drive belts manufactured by ContiTech. Exceeding five meters, these are the longest ever made to date. As larger propellers have been used, longer belts were required to work with the 12000's large propellers.
The 12000TD is the first passenger hovercraft to be built and used in the UK for over a decade. Griffon and Hovertravel worked closely together to develop a craft with passenger comfort in mind. The front of the craft is fitted with two loading ramps for quicker and easier boarding of passengers and light cargo, providing a quicker turn-around time. This change in design allows bicycles, wheelchairs and suitcases to go straight inside the craft, whilst larger windows provide greater visibility for passengers on board.
Griffon Hoverwork's Chief Engineer, comments "Passenger ferry services have to be both low cost and reliable, requirements which force you to make a certain 'weight-versus-ruggedness' compromise when designing a hovercraft."
Maintenance costs are reduced through extensive use of highly reliable components and real-time data is provided to the maintenance team through a continuous on-board condition monitoring system from Monitran. Designed and built in a modular method the 12000TD offers a highly configurable internal main cabin layout and wheelhouse arrangement to meet with any operational need.