Hoverwork/BHC/NRDC AP1-88 :: jameshovercraft.co.uk
 

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Hoverwork/BHC/NRDC AP1-88

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The AP1-88 was developed jointly by British manufacturer Hoverwork, BHC (British Hovercraft Corporation) and the NRDC (National Research Development Council) from 1981, with the first pre-production prototype being built and tested in 1982 [Barton, 2006]. Hoverwork, the engineering company associated with Hovertravel is still producing hovercraft today, its latest production model being the 130 seater BHT-130, used on the same route as AP1-88's today. Located on the Isle of Wight this firm was founded in 1966 [Hoverwork, 2004] and has produced various models of the AP1-88 including the "Well deck" variety used as an industrial amphibious transporter for various companies around the world, and the AP1-88/400 industrial variety (as seen here).

The AP1-88 replaced the SRN6 for the Southsea to Ryde route (Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight) which had started operation in 1965 by Hovertravel [Hovercraft Museum, 2007]. The craft were quieter, more efficient, had more capacity (88 seats and later 100 seats as opposed to SRN6's 38 seats) and were a revolutionary design change from the previous craft produced by BHC. Various AP1-88s have been used worldwide such as in the USA, Scandinavia, Australia and Canada [Leonard et al., 1981]. The Southsea to Ryde crossing normally takes about 7 minutes, weather and traffic permitting. Visit Hovertravel's website for a schedule of operations.

A photo gallery follows below, and you can also visit the AP1-88 Videos page.

Performance specifications for AP1-88 hovercraft

Source: Hoverwork, 2004

Feature Specification
Length (m) 21.50
Beam (m) 10.06
Height (hovering) (m) 8.90
Height (landed) (m) 7.92
Rated cruise speed (kts) 45
Max Speed (Freedom 90) (kts) ~ 60
Propulsion Engines (Original version) 2 x Deutz BF12L 513FC air-cooled turbo-diesels
Engine max. efficiency speed (RPM) 2,300
Engine power at max efficiency (kW) 392
No. of Passengers (x/88, x/100) 88, 100
Propulsion Engines (Enhanced Freedom 90) 2 x MTU V12 water-cooled turbo-diesels, 800 h.p.
Engine power (Freedom 90) (kW) 597
Propellers 2 x Hoffmann 2.755 m dia. fixed pitch, Type HO-E-214P/D275BS
Lift Engines 2 x Deutz BF12L 513FC air-cooled turbo diesels, rated for continuous cruise.
Lift Engine max. efficiency speed (RPM) 2,300
Lift Engine power at max efficiency speed (kW) 392
Drive system Geared belt drive from engine gearbox to propeller
Steering system 2 x forward bow thrusters, each with 360° freedom; Rudders on each ducted main propeller.

Video of AP1-88 Freedom 90 arriving at Hovershow 2009

Video used with permission from YouTube user UKWMO (YouTube channel)


Original BHC Information Brochure (November 1985) kindly sent in by M. Fane


General Arrangement Drawings (from Hoverwork's old website, 2005; no longer directly available online)

Gallery 1 - AP1-88 Diagrams

AP1-88 Diagrams - Front-view of AP1-88
Front-view of AP1-88
AP1-88 Diagrams - Side-view of AP1-88
Side-view of AP1-88
AP1-88 Diagrams - Top-down view of AP1-88
Top-down view of AP1-88
AP1-88 Diagrams - Isometric view of AP1-88
Isometric view of AP1-88

Photo Gallery

Gallery 2 - AP1-88

AP1-88 - Close-up of a bow thruster on an AP1-88. This (starboard) thruster and its counterpart (port) can be rotated through 360°, allowing precise control of yaw when stationary or in motion. Fed by bleed air from the lift system these bow thrusters are aligned facing aft during cruise to give maximum thrust. Here they are shown rotated to the starboard aiding in lateral movement on land. For braking, they can be swivelled to oppose the direction of travel of the craft, and act akin to thrust reversers.Close-up of a bow thruster on an AP1-88. This (starboard) thruster and its counterpart (port) can be rotated through 360°, allowing precise control of yaw when stationary or in motion. Fed by bleed air from the lift system these bow thrusters are aligned facing aft during cruise to give maximum thrust. Here they are shown rotated to the starboard aiding in lateral movement on land. For braking, they can be swivelled to oppose the direction of travel of the craft, and act akin to thrust reversers.
AP1-88 - An AP1-88 arriving at the slipway of the once BHC factory in East Cowes, Isle of Wight. (Photo in Croome, 1984)An AP1-88 arriving at the slipway of the once BHC factory in East Cowes, Isle of Wight. (Photo in Croome, 1984)
AP1-88 - An AP1-88 in cruise during a Southsea to Ryde crossing on the Solent (Photo in Croome, 1984).An AP1-88 in cruise during a Southsea to Ryde crossing on the Solent (Photo in Croome, 1984).
AP1-88 - Double-Oh-Seven arriving on the ramp at Portsmouth (Photo: David Ingham).Double-Oh-Seven arriving on the ramp at Portsmouth (Photo: David Ingham).
AP1-88 - Courier, seen here at Ryde after being purchased and shipped from Hovertravel Australia. Since this picture, Courier has been used in Spain and America on passenger runs (Photo: David Ingham).Courier, seen here at Ryde after being purchased and shipped from Hovertravel Australia. Since this picture, Courier has been used in Spain and America on passenger runs (Photo: David Ingham).
AP1-88 - Freedom 90 leaving Southsea hoverport (Photo: David Ingham).Freedom 90 leaving Southsea hoverport (Photo: David Ingham).
AP1-88 - Freedom 90 in 2006 in a new livery (Photo: David Ingham).Freedom 90 in 2006 in a new livery (Photo: David Ingham).
AP1-88 - Freedom 90 arriving at the then enlarged Ryde slipway on the Isle of Wight at low tide (Photo: David Ingham).Freedom 90 arriving at the then enlarged Ryde slipway on the Isle of Wight at low tide (Photo: David Ingham).
AP1-88 - Here is the first ever built AP1-88/80 prototype, Tenacity (GH-2087) leaving Ryde in 1983. Ryde slipway was more curved and a lot smaller then, only enough room for two craft, unlike today when they can fit four craft on the slipway (Photo: David Ingham).Here is the first ever built AP1-88/80 prototype, Tenacity (GH-2087) leaving Ryde in 1983. Ryde slipway was more curved and a lot smaller then, only enough room for two craft, unlike today when they can fit four craft on the slipway (Photo: David Ingham).

With the Canadian Coastguard

Paul Brett, ex-engineer with Hovertravel, the Canadian Northern Transportation Company Ltd., and the Canadian Coastguard, sends me these photographs of the AP1-88s in action for the Canadian Coastguard out of Sea Island, Vancouver. See Paul's other gallery from Canada here.

Gallery 3 - AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard

AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft PENAC on hover
AP1-88 craft PENAC on hover
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft PENAC arriving at base
AP1-88 craft PENAC arriving at base
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft PENAC departing the slipway
AP1-88 craft PENAC departing the slipway
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft PENAC arriving as seen from away from the slipway
AP1-88 craft PENAC arriving as seen from away from the slipway
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft SIYAY from in-front
AP1-88 craft SIYAY from in-front
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft SIYAY at sea, off hover seen with crane deployed
AP1-88 craft SIYAY at sea, off hover seen with crane deployed
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft SIYAY departing the base
AP1-88 craft SIYAY departing the base
AP1-88s with the Canadian Coastguard - AP1-88 craft SIYAY cruising the coastline
AP1-88 craft SIYAY cruising the coastline

 

Page updated Thursday, July 24, 2014

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