View Full Version : Can you identify the craft?

9-May-09, 08:48 PM
I recieved this from a friend on one of the Saab forums i visit,

Can anyone shed any light onto the hovercraft, or the person scruitineering it.

It had a very diverse history and was put to some intersting use ;)



9-May-09, 10:29 PM
1978 registered to Lindsay Gatward (Light Hovercraft Co.) care of Janes Surface Skimers, he is still around and may pick up this thread, if not try Kip
i think the craft was called a snoopy or some thing like that made of plywood

10-May-09, 01:11 PM
the scrutineer could be my dad ..... Bill Sherlock..... although the hair might be a little short for that era!

Louise Beale

10-May-09, 06:50 PM
Trust me, some of the guys on that photograph woul be grateful to have that amount of hair, however short, today!

10-May-09, 10:21 PM
This is what i Know from the friend who passed on the picture to me

All the guys there were at School with me, apart from the scruitineer chappie.
It was the RGS Newcastle team at the BP National Schools Hovercraft championship in 1977. Two of the crew converted it to a crop sprayer and it won BBC young Scientist of the year in 1978 and the European equivalent later on.


11-May-09, 10:34 AM
Digging through my archives, I came across this picture of it in action.


From memory (and a couple of my friends could possibly confirm this), the lift motor was a JLO unit and the thrust came from a Reliant Robin Engine. Certainly I remember ringing Tamworth to get some technical specs on it.

11-May-09, 10:50 AM
WOW :eek: looks as if it worked really well 2.

13-Sep-09, 11:25 PM
Hi Chaps
Just came across this thread and thought I'd shed some more light on it: I can remember seeing it at one of the "Young Scientist" competitions. I THINK it was at the 1977 UK BBC competition. From memory they came second, not first though I could be misremembering. As far as I can remember the 1978 UK and European competitions were won by a team from Birmingham ( I attended both the 1977 & 1978 UK and European events)

The 'craft was used in trials of an attempt at creating a crop spraying system which didn't need heavy tractors. The idea was to develop a crop sprayer which would not compact the soil, or damage the plants. The hovercraft would simply ride over the top. Accurate steering was required: this was by a set of spiked narrow-rimmed ( bicycle??) wheels on long outriggers - from memory one at the front, one at each side on the rear (though I may have that wrong - there may have been four - its hard to remember). It was this development of a novel low-footprint steering design which won the boys the prize
Spraying was done from side booms at the rear of the machine, and there was a central tank for the chemicals.
As far as I can remember BP sponsored the work: at the time BP were investing heavily in agricultural research, both in crop genetics/breeding, and advanced chemical formulation and delivery systems.

In retrospect I suspect the project was doomed to failure: I would have thought the wash from the two fans would have made delivery of the aerosol too unpredictable

14-Sep-09, 07:36 AM
From what I can remember, there were three wheels, two at the back and one at the front. IIRC Paul made the wheels from 6mm wire for the spokes and flat bar for the rims. The spokes actually ran through the rims and acted as ground spikes to prevent wheel spin...

One of the wheels drove a peristaltic pump that metered out the delivery of the spraying agent. The coverage could be altered by changing the drive ratio of the pump using bicycle derrallieur gears.

The issue of coverage must have been addressed as I remember the use of fluorescent water and a UV lamp to check. The intervening 30 years cloud my memory of what the results actually were!