WHEN Sir Eric Mensforth — now, appropriately, President of the Institution of Production Engineers — presented the 1964 Lord Sempill Paper of ‘Background to the Production of Helicopters and Hovercraft’ in April of that year, he remarked on the hovercraft being still in its infancy and on the ‘state of constant and exciting advance’. Sir Eric, at that time, was able to refer to the in‐service achievements of the 27 ton SR.N2 and the 37 ton SR.N3, the beginning of manufacture of the 7 ton SR.N5, and the projected 160 ton SR.N4 — all in the five short years since the advent of the original 4 ton SR.N1 research vehicle in 1959.
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