The hovercraft was invented by Christopher Cockerell, an English electronic engineer in the 1950s. The first full-sized hovercraft, the SRN1 was not built and ready for testing until May 28, 1959.
Because of friction between the boat and the water, boats could not be made to travel faster without using powerful jet engines which use a lot of fuel, so Christopher Cockerel thought of something to reduce the friction. To reduce any kind of friction, you need a lubricant. Cockerel thought air might be the answer. After attempting many experiments he came up with an solution. A curtain of air right around the hull of the boat in the form of an annular, or ring-shaped, jet was the answer to friction.
The hovercraft has improved in strength over the years and many other developments have also taken place. They include:
The Hoverbed: which is a light fabric bed supported on a rigid frame, which is used in the treatment of severe burn cases: it allows the injuries to dry up rapidly and heal much more quickly.
The hover-transporter: it is a heavy-load transporter working on the hovercraft is used for moving bulky loads
The hoverkiln: this device was used for a time in the manufacture of delicate china, which ‘floated’ through the kiln on a cushion of air.
The hovermower: Lawnmowers which ride over the grass on a cushion of air are proving of great value on banks and eneven ground as well as stretches of level turf.
Life would be quite different without the invention of the hovercraft. By using the hovercraft, people could travel to places quicker by sea and also the ability to transport heavy loads by sea quicker is also a great advantage to us. Many hovercrafts travel across the English Channel and they have reduced the journey time to 35 minutes, from 90 minutes on a ferry. Many people still believe that the hovercraft is a perfect military tool as it is the only true amphibious vehicle that can travel at the same speed over land and ocean.