The First Hovercraft

first Hovercraft

What is a hovercraft?

An ACV or air cushion vehicle is a craft that uses blowers that create a high pressure under the vehicle, thus creating lift, and another engine with propeller that produces directional motion.

The first hovercraft design in the historical record that used the term hovering was in 1716, Sweden and made by Emanuel Swedenborg, and looks like an upside down boat.

Then in 1915-1916 Dagobert Müller von Thomamühl created a prototype vehicle, named Versuchsgleitboot (Test float boat) System. Dagobert Müller von Tomamyul was the son of the main constructor of the Austro-Hungarian Navy - Rear Admiral von Tomamyulya Wenzel Müller (1841-1910).

He graduated in 1899, the Naval Academy in Fiume. While at the academy he developed a diving suit that was able to reach a record depth of 64m. In March 26, 1915 he presented the committee of the Admiralty his "Study on the construction of a high speed glider". The army loved his idea and started the construction of the first prototype. Testing began in October 1915 on waters and lasted almost a year.




Versuchsgleitboot was an open top boat that resembled a longitudinal section of an airplane wing. Hull length of 16.15 m, width 8.08 m, height 1.75 m, draft 0.37 m . The power plant consisted of four aircraft engines Austro-Daimler capacity of 65 hp. The boat was equipped with two steering wheels (front and aft), which made the boat easier to manage. The crew consisted of five men and the boat had to carry 600 kg of gasoline, which should be enough for 120 miles at a maximum speed of 30 knots.

In the 1930 a Russian prototype appeared, the L-1 made by Vladimir Levkov and in 1937 the L5 (watch the video)

russian hovercraft


The first production built hovercraft in the world was the British Saunders-Roe SR.N5 (or Warden Class), 1964.

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