The SRN6 was built by BHC, Saunders Roe and Hoverwork as a larger version of the SRN5, a craft of very similar design. The SRN6 was bigger and more powerful than the SRN5 however most of the layout of the two craft was identical or at least similar. The craft was used and tested extensively in miliary circles as well as civilian, and operated the passenger hovercraft routes between Portsmouth and the Isle of wight under Seaspeed then Hovertravel, the Ramsgate to Calais route from Ramsgate of Hoverlloyd prior to their introduction of the SRN4 craft, and the Dover to Calais route of Townsend Car Ferries.
The SRN6 came in two main variants, being the single propeller and dual propeller variants. Both are shown in the gallery below, and both were used around the world for different purposes, such as by the Canadian Coastguard. A freighted version was also produced, consisting of a flat decked standard SRN6.
Initially developed, trialled and manufactured from 1963 by Westland in parallel to the SRN5, the SRN6 carried over 500,000 passengers from the mainland to the Isle of Wight in 1964-5 alone!
Residents of the ports from which SRN6s were operated complained of the noise they generated. Their high speed, small diameter, thin propellers generated what was described as an "angry wasp" noise as the tips broke the speed of sound during their rotation. This, high operating costs, and low passenger capacity saw the SRN6s being phased out of routes and/or and replaced with either SRN4s or later AP1-88s.
Performance specifications for SRN6 hovercraft
Source: Fuller, 2004; Hovercraft Museum, 2007
|Skirt height (hovering) (m)||
|Height (landed) (m)||4.57|
|Cruise speed (kts)||55|
|Max speed (kts)||60|
|Main Engine||Rolls Royce Gnome Turboshaft|
|Main Engine Power (kW)||671|
|Fuel tank capacity (litres)||1,000|
|Passenger capacity [after extension]||38 |
|Operational Limits (Sea state) (m)||1 - 1.5|
|Operational Limits (Wind) (Beaufort Scale)||6|
The SRN6 at Camber (Nigel Thornton)
Three lads on a hover-holiday to the Isle of Wight (David Walsh)
The SRN6-Twin Prop on trials (Michael Gardner)
The SRN6 operating with Hoverwork (Tim Stevenson)
The SRN6 departing the Isle of Wight (The Hoverspeed Story)
SRN6 used for Search and Rescue (Croome 1987)
A new SRN6 parked outside the soon-to-be-renamed, then Westland factory, at Cowes, Isle of Wight (UK).
An SRN6 operating for Seaspeed at the 1966 Hovershow
SRN6 as used by "Aeronave" in Naples, Italy, in 1968, on the Naples-Capri/Ischia/Naples route.
Page updated: Saturday, September 13, 2014