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Hoverwork BHT130

(British Hovercraft Technology - 130 passengers)

The BHT130 hovercraft has a 20 tonne or 131 passengers payload, designed by Hoverwork and fitted out at their St Helens works.

The first welded aluminium hull (fabricated by Aluminium Ship Builders, Fishbourne, Isle of Wight) arrived at Hoverwork's St Helens works in August 2005 (see pictures below).

The first one, named 'Solent Express', was due to enter service on the Ryde Southsea route in 2006 - well this didn't happen, the first sight of the craft outside the workshop was February 2007 (see picture below), and at the Ryde Hovercraft terminal March 2007 (see pictures below) from where sea trials were conducted (see pictures below).

The 70 tonne BHT130 completed trials and received Maritime and Coastguard Agency approval - it entered cross-Solent service on 14th June 2007, 40 years to the day after the launch of the SR-N1 at Saunders Roe Cowes.

In July 2007, the 'Solent Express' was charter to Stagecoach for a two weeks trial on a new passenger service between Kickcaldy and Portobello across the Firth of Forth in Scotland - for more details see 'BHT130 in Scotland'.

Technical data:

  • 29.3m long
  • 15m beam
  • 70 tonne all up weight
  • Service speed over water 45 knots
  • 131 passengers
  • 4 crew
  • Lift engines - 2 x air-cooled, turbo charged, MTU 12V2000-R1237K37 diesels - each producing 675kW
  • Propulsion engines - 2 x air-cooled, turbo charged, MTU 16V2000-R1637K37 diesels producing 899kW
  • 2 x 3.5m diameter, five-bladed, variable pitch propellers for propulsion

see Griffon Hoverwork website for more details of this and other craft.

YouTube video clip of BHT130 leaving Ryde

SunaX hovercraft picture courtesy of NW Tech Service, Alaska
See also internal pictures
A cargo/passenger version of the BHT130 was built by Kvichak Marine Industries in Seattle USA and launched in 2006. It is "one bay" longer that the BHT130 described above at 30.7m. Designated 'Suna-X', it is designed as a high speed ferry for up to 47 passengers and 47,500 pounds of freight to serve the remote Alaskan villages of King Cove and Cold Bay.

(Click on an image to get a larger version)

August 2005 saw the arrival of the welded aluminium hull at Hoverwork's St Helens works after being towed from Aluminium Ship Builders, Fishbourne, Isle of Wight where it had been fabricated.

BHT130 hovercraft hull

BHT130 hovercraft hull - rear, port corner view
BHT130 hovercraft hull - rear view

February 2007 - at the St Helens' Works

BHT130 - rolled out

March 2007 - at Hovertravel's Ryde Terminal

BHT 130 hovercraft Port side
Port side

BHT130 on cushion
On the cushion at Ryde
(photo contributed by Mark Porter)

BHT 130 hovercraft bow
Bow off cushion
BHT 130 hovercraft coming in at Ryde
Coming into Ryde

BHT 130 hovercraft with AP188

On the slipway with a couple of AP188s

BHT130 on sea trial - April 2007
BHT130 crossing behind AP188
BHT130 crossing behind AP188 coming into Ryde
BHT130 hovercraft BHT130 coming in
BHT130 hovercraft on trial BHT130 hovercraft at speed

June 2007

In mid Solent heading for Southsea

BHT130 heading towards Southsea

BHT130 at Southsea Hover Terminal
BHT Hovercraft arriving at Southsea
BHT130 hovercraft leaving Southsea

Other hovercraft websites: