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Sir Christopher Cockerell (born 1910), the British engineer who invented the hovercraft. Cockerell originally trained as a radio engineer but later switched to boat design. He first conceived the idea of a vessel that floats on a cushion of air while working on ways of reducing friction between a boat's hull and the water. In 1955 he patented his hovercraft design and in 1959 demonstrated the prototype to the public, creating a sensation. The craft was highly manoeuvrable and capable of travelling at high speed over both land and water. Cockerell was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1967 and knighted in 1969.
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