Fletcher Glidemobile


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11 January 2008
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Is there any reliable information available about the Glidemobile hovercraft designed by man named Charles Fletcher during the WWII? The little information i have found only seems to describe later legal battles concerning the origin of the hovercraft.


"However, there had been numerous previous experimental attempts to design vehicles using the ground-effect principle, including prototypes built by Russian and German naval designers in World War I. In the US during World War II, Charles J. Fletcher designed his "Glidemobile" while he was a United States Navy Reservist. The design worked on the principle of trapping a constant airflow against a uniform surface (either the ground or water), providing anywhere from ten inches to two feet (250–600 mm) of lift to free it from the surface, and control of the craft would be achieved by the measured release of air. Shortly after being tested on Beezer's Pond in Fletcher's home town of Sparta Township, New Jersey, the design was immediately appropriated by the United States Department of War and classified, denying Fletcher the opportunity to patent his creation. As such Fletcher's work was largely unknown until a case was brought (British Hovercraft Ltd v. The United States of America) in which the British corporation maintained that its rights, coming from to Sir Christopher Cockerell's patent, had been infringed. British Hovercraft's claim, seeking US$104,000,000 in damages, was unsuccessful. In a case brought in 1985, Patent agents BTG successfully sued the US Department of Defence, being awarded $6 million in damages in 1990."

Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey Museum has the original craft but their website says that it was designed and built in 1953 or 1959.


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