• Short Summary

    Missionaries in Central Africa, long hampered by transport difficulties will soon, literally, be floating on air.

  • Description

    SV Sign "Missionaire Mark I ZOOM OUT TO GV hovercraft

    SV Mike Ive speaks with shots of boys cleaning boat.

    CU Starter switched on

    CU Propeller ZOOM OUT TO GV hovercraft moves off

    SV ZOOM OUT hovercraft in water

    CU ZOOM OUT Langley & Chapman

    GV ZOOM IN & PAN Hovercraft across water

    IVE: "This craft is unique. It's designed to carry a stretcher in here and will be used as a hover-ambulance by a doctor on Lake Chad in Central Africa. Now this lade is just south of the Sahara Desert. It's very shallow and it's only a hovercraft that can get into the area and allow a doctor to get around his patients....over a quarter of a million of them. The craft has been built mainly by the pupils at the Sir George Moinoux School, where I am head of the technical department. Of course, we've had a lot of help from outside, from industry. We're powered by two Volkswagen engines and the instruments here are to give us an idea of what's happening with those engines and just how fast and so on we're going. We should be able to take the thing up to 35 or 40 knots eventually. But we still have some trials to do first. Let's take her out then..."

    Boys cleaning hovercraft; interview with overlay; hovercraft operating.

    Initials SGM/1553 SGM/1525

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Missionaries in Central Africa, long hampered by transport difficulties will soon, literally, be floating on air. They'll take delivery of a prototype hovercraft, built by a group of London schoolboys and designed by British engineers. The project took three years to complete, and all the work was done on a voluntary basis.

    The hovercraft was handed over to the Missionary Aviation Fellowship in London on 13 July, and its ultimate destination is Lake Chad, where African missionaries and a lone doctor struggle to serve 250,000 lake-dwellers.

    The Fellowship has been operating 25 years, providing light aircraft to help open up new areas. However, Lake Chad -- with its stretches of disease-ridden, shallow water -- has proved too much for aircraft, motor launches and four-wheeled drive vehicles. The doctor needed a reasonably cheap vehicle to cross the lake -- even over shallows and sandbanks. A hovercraft seemed the obvious answer...but those available commercially were the wrong size and too expensive.

    Two engineers -- Tim Langley and Tony Burgess -- designed the prototype and supervised the construction work, which was carried out at the workshops of Sir George Monoux School, in East London. The school has spacious new facilities and school authorities backed the project, recognising the education and community service value of student participation. Other technicians gave their time and talent to the project, in which the Fellowship invested 'GBP' 2,000 sterling($5,000 US). However, subsequent models, produced commercially, would cost more.

    One of the project leaders was Mike Ive, head of the school's technical department. He explains in this film the aims of the project. A transcript of his remarks follows:
    SYNOPSIS: This is a hovercraft with a mission. To explain -- project supervisor, Mike Ave.

    The project began three years ago, when a Missionary Aviation Fellowship engineer returned to London from Central Africa. He brought first hand reports of the difficulties on Lake Chad, where conventional transport -- light aircraft, motor launch and four-wheel drives vehicles -- is useless. The boys at Sir George Monoux School volunteered their labour, and technicians, their talent and time.

    The Fellowship spent 'GBP' 2000 on materials to produce to prototype, which it's hoped will be the basis for an expanding international missionary service. In addition, the Royal Navy has expressed interest. They plan to build a second prototype for inshore rescue work. That will cost more.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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