Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Dover-Calais Hovercraft



When I was in the U.K. ten years ago, a friend and I crossed the English Channel by giant hovercraft. To see one of these things start up, with those giant swivelling propellers, the whole thing rising as the skirt inflates, is amazing. It's at least as big as the Staten Island Ferry -- which is to say the size of a small building -- and yet it glides across the cement landing like it's on ice.

Riding in one is delightful. It's quick, and it's noisy. But it's very comfortable.

Prior to that, my only experience with such a machine was a G.I Joe hovercraft my friend Jeff had when we were growing up. I guess I didn't know whether or not they really existed commercially -- I figured they were more like jet-packs and flying cars.



And so it was sad to see that the U.K.'s channel hovercrafts have been taken out of service. See below.

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