New hovercraft ready to be tested

Southsea seafront. Picture: Keith Woodland

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The first new passenger hovercraft to be built and used in the UK for a decade is ready for testing.

Hovertravel, which runs service from Southsea to Ryde, has spent £10m on two new passenger hovercrafts.

The vessel hovered for the first time last week and this week has been moved out of the engineering shed to have the propellers connected to the engines.

They are being designed and built by Hovertravel’s sister company Griffon Hoverwork in Southampton.

Loretta Lale, Hovertravel’s commercial and marketing manager, said: ‘The first hover for any hovercraft is a highly significant goal and everyone at Hovertravel and Griffon Hoverwork was delighted to be able to reach this major milestone in the build project.

‘The next stage is to prepare the craft to undergo performance testing on the water.’

Griffon is expected to start conducting these tests within two weeks to ensure it meets the manufacturing and design parameters.

The firm has more than 40 years’ experience in the sector and has constructed over 170 hovercraft.