The world's first (modern) hovercraft
the Saunders-Roe SR-N1
In 1958, the National Research and Development Corporation awarded Saunders-Roe a contract to build the first full sized hovercraft - the SR-N1 (Saunders-Roe - Nautical One). On the 11th June 1959, the SR-N1 was launched and, only 5 weeks later, the SR-N1 became the first hovercraft to cross the English Channel from Calais to Dover.
Cecil Hugh Latimer-Needham was the person who had the idea of using a skirt to keep the air cushion under the vehicle. In October 1961, Latimer-Needham sold his skirt patents to Westland Aircraft.
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