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Bell Aerospace Canada
Voyageur

The CCG Voyageur, based in Montreal, once visited Ottawa on buoy tending duties.  It completed what was once a several day task in just one day!  The above photo was taken from the front page of Ottawa Citizen, Aug 4th, 1979. Voyageur was powered by two UAC ST6T-75 Twin-Pac marine gas turbines of 1,300 SHP continuous power per unit.  These drove two Hamilton Standard 9' diameter 3-blade variable pitch propellers and two 7' diameter centrifugal lift fans via gearbox.  The cargo deck was 40-feet long and 33-feet wide. 

The world's first airborne landing pad as tested by the CCG and Northern Transportation company.  This was the first time a helicopter successfully landed on a hovercraft.  This was part of the Voyageur trials on Lake Ontario.

   

The photo on the left shows Voyagers load carrying capabilities. The photo on the right of four SK5 skeletons was taken on the ramp in Grand Bend, Ontario. Although Bell Aerosystems denied that it happened, the first two Voyageurs were assembled from scavenged Bell SK-5's. 

The US Navy was so impressed with the Voyageur that a huge order was placed for their developed version known as the LACV-30.  Unfortunately, this saw the withdrawal of Bell Aerospace in Canada as they moved their facilities virtually overnight to New Orleans.  This was done in spite of heavy investment by the Canadian Government to develop the Voyageur program. The LACV-30 US Navy program has now been discontinued and the entire fleet of over 60 vehicles was handed over to a native band in Alaska as part of a treaty program.

Recently obtained info from a former field rep for the US. Army suggests that in fact it was the US Army that first obtained hovercraft from Bell Areospace. The Army had the US Navy do tests on LACV 01 and LACV 02, believed to have been constructed from scavenged parts from the Voyager program. The Army only purchased 26 total of these vessels. They were then turned in to the Defense Dept. Reutilization Program to be sold in an effort recoup millions spent on the project. Before the craft were sold a qualified organization (native band in Alaska) expressed an interest in obtaining the craft free from the government. They had no knowledge of Hovercraft especially this size but they just happened to have a company on site to help them. The companies name was Textron marine formally Bell Aerospace Canada. The US NAVY went on to purchase aprox. 76 or more LCACs from Textron Marine. The US Army currently has no Hovercraft that the source is aware of. He reports seeing some of the craft stacked on top of each other rusting away under the 1st Street bridge in Seattle.

Particulars:

Length: 65.7'    Width: 36.7'    Height 22'    Emp. Wt: 37,700 lb    Payload: 52,300 lb    Max Speed: 55 mph

The Voyageur was manufactured by

Bell Aerospace Canada
P.O. Box 160
Grand Bend, Ontario
Tel: (519) 238-2333
 

 

 

Copyright 2002
Hovercraft Club Of Canada

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