The Hovercraft: Now and Then

By: Jacob Shelton and Blaine Cloney

Christopher Cockerell

Cockerell was the inventor of the hovercraft back in 1959. He had the design finished in 1956, but due to lack of military interest, the idea was declassified in 1959. Cockerell was able to get the National Research and Development Corporation to fund a full scale model and then the SR.N1 was born.

The First Hovercraft: SR.N1

The SR.N1's first flight was on June 11th, 1959. It was powered by a 450 hp fan in the center that blew air to the sides and out of the back for thrust. It was made famous by crossing the English Channel on July 25th, 1959.
SRN1 World's First Hovercraft

The Effect on America

For Fun or For Military

From 1960 to 1969 the hovercraft was considered "cool" and often said to be an exciting new form of transportation that would revolutionize the way we travel. It also brought new things to the military such as the zodiac which was a pontoon boat that is used in the military for undercover mission and ocean rescue.

Now in 2013

A New Hovercraft

Inventors are bring new life to technology by proposing new designs that aim to bring the hovercraft flying into the 21st century. In 2012 a designer named Yuhan Zhang proposed a radical concept for a new Volkswagon hovercraft called Aqua.

2011 Hovercraft

It Can Fly!!
Discovery Channel HD - Universal Hovercraft UH 19XRW Hoverwing™ Ground Effect Hovercraft


What factors in American society led to the creation and/or rise in popularity of this invention?

This invention came about during the space race, a time where scientists were trying to recreate everything in science fiction. The hovercraft got its start during this time along with many other things like robotics and advanced computers. Cockerell was trying to create a personal flight vehicle (flying car) when he came up with the idea of the hover craft, and through some American engineering he was able to create a model.

How did this invention change American society?

The hovercraft was used by the military for many new technologies such as the Zodiac which is still used today. It was used for short missions where troops needed to cross small areas of land and water quickly. This invention also lead to the fan boat wich helped with the population of the southern swamps, an area wich before was un livable

Why do you feel this invention was a turning point in America life?

This invention made people able to imagine things into the future such as flying cars. The hovercraft was a new type of technology that made some people belief that soon everything would be airborne. Technology was now booming making it easier to make things better and to create new inventions, this was a small piece of that time. Everyone was competing for the next big thing, every new invention was getting bigger and more extraordinary making easier. The hover craft was the turning point for technology in America.