Ref Number: 00448
Ref Number: 00448
In the year 1958, the National Research and Development Corporation granted a contract to Saunders-Roe for the construction of the inaugural full-scale hovercraft, known as the SR-N1 (Saunders-Roe – Nautical 1). The SR-N1 was successfully launched on June 11, 1959, and achieved a significant milestone by becoming the inaugural hovercraft to traverse the English Channel from Calais to Dover a mere five weeks later.
Sam Saunders started his employment within the familial enterprise specialising in boat construction, situated along the River Thames during the latter part of the 1870s. In 1901, Sam relocated his personal business, which involved the construction of boats, to the Isle of Wight. In 1909, S.E. Saunders established an Aircraft Department with a strong emphasis on invention and a commitment to fulfilling customer demands. This department played a significant role in the early development of British aviation, particularly in the realm of sea aircraft and flying boats.In the year 1929, the corporate entity known as S.E. Saunders underwent a name change, adopting the new designation of ‘Saunders-Roe’ subsequent to A.V. Roe’s acquisition of a financial stake in the aforementioned firm. Saunders-Roe primarily focused on high-speed launches and flying boats until the mid-1950s.
In the year 1958, the National Research and Development Corporation granted Saunders-Roe a contract for the construction of the inaugural full-scale hovercraft, known as the SR-N1 (Saunders-Roe – Nautical One). The SR-N1, an innovative watercraft, was launched on June 11, 1959. A only five weeks after its introduction, the SR-N1 achieved a significant milestone by becoming the inaugural hovercraft to successfully traverse the English Channel, namely from Calais to Dover.
The sequence of crafts includes the SR-N1, SR-N2, SR-N3, SR-N4, SR-N5, SR-N6, BH-7, BH-8 (concept), Hover Freighter (concept), and AP1-88.
The SRN1, constructed in 1959 by Saunders-Roe (Aviation) on behalf of the British National Research and Development Corporation (NRDC), stands as the inaugural full-scale prototype hovercraft, serving as a testament to its feasibility. The watercraft was conceived by Sir Christopher Cockerell, the renowned creator of the hovercraft. The aircraft impressed observers with its inaugural flights originating from its manufacturing facility located in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, demonstrating remarkable performance both on land and in the waters of the Solent.