25.07.

1959: First Practical Hovercraft to Cross the English Channel

1959: First Practical Hovercraft to Cross the English Channel
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 22 July 1959
  • This day in 1959 was selected for crossing the English Channel because it was the 50th anniversary of Louis Blériot's first cross-channel flight.

On this day in 1959, the first practical hovercraft model SR.N1 (short for Saunders-Roe Nautical 1) crossed the English Channel.

It was designed by Christopher Cockerell, and manufactured by the British company Saunders-Roe. It is interesting that the company once owned the name Hovercraft as a trademark, but today the term is used as a common noun.

This day in 1959 was selected for crossing the English Channel because it was the 50th anniversary of Louis Blériot’s first cross-channel flight. The crossing from Calais to Dover took the SR.N1 Hovercraft only approximately two hours.

It is interesting that, except for the pilot and navigator, the mentioned inventor Christopher Cockerell was also aboard the hovercraft on this voyage.

Today, the world’s largest hovercrafts are the Russian Zubr-class. Their displacement reaches up to 555 tons, i.e. the same as a dozen tanks, and they are equipped with five engines of nearly 60,000 hp.

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