I am a marine structures engineer with more than twenty five years’ experience working in specialist marine vessels. I have a wealth of experience communicating at all levels from boardroom to the shop floor and have successfully run focused design teams for many years. I ran the structural engineering department within a major naval architecture consultancy before starting my own company, Argo Engineering Solutions Ltd. in 2016. Hovercraft Consultants is a sub-brand of the Argo company. Over the last 4 years I have built up a loyal client base in all areas of structural design, whilst retaining and expanding on my interest and expertise in the hover industry. My background in the marine and aerospace sectors naturally drew me to the hovercraft industry which stemmed from childhood. As a boy, Sir Christopher Cockrell living at the end of my road and his house is only a one minute walk from our office.
After graduating in Aeronautical Engineering I joined CETEC, a special projects company owned and run by Tony Marchant. Tony had been the chief structural engineer at Hovermarine on the Isle of Wight, was now running CETEC but also held the position of Chief Engineer for ABS Hovercraft. Tony was a kind and clever man who gave me the opportunity to really understand how these advanced composite hovercraft really worked.
While at CETEC I was also involved in the design of hoverbarges for Hovertrans – this is where I met and started working with Dan Turner. In 2005 I moved from CETEC to Nigel Gee and Associates (later BMT) – who were also of Hovermarine heritage. Hovertrans’ design work followed me from Cetec to Nigel Gee’s and I immediately became lead consultant for Hovertrans. From 2005 through to 2014 I was the project lead for several hoverbarge builds and all their design studies, including 2,500 tonne logistics hoverbarges, trans-Alaskan pipe laying hoverbarge systems and a 4,000 tonne hover drill complex.
My experience leading the structures department at a great naval architecture firm gave me experience including work on fast landing craft, PACSCAT, wing-in-ground effect craft and even studies to refit an SRN4 hovercraft for use on the Volga river!
In 2016, when I started Argo Engineering Solutions Ltd (Argo), we continued our relationship with Dan and Hovertrans (now Hoverfreight) and have undertaken several design studies for hoverbarges of various sizes and roles. Many of my colleagues have followed me into Argo and they bring a greater depth of experience of hovercraft and light weight vessels to the team.
It is clear that clients need experienced, professional advice and design services for niche vessels and we have started Hovercraft Consultants to offer this service. Our experience in this field now puts us in an unrivalled position to offer advice and support in all areas of hovercraft, hoverbarge and other lightweight craft concept studies, design and build worldwide.
I am the world’s leading expert on hoverbarges, having built and operated the largest ever constructed. I started my career as a Marine Engineer with BP Tankers and in the early 1970’s then joined the original industrial air cushion consultancy, personally designing the first hoverbarge for the civil engineering company, J T Mackey. With this group, heavy lift hoverbarges were operated which included the Yukon river crossing, the Sea Pearl, a modular rental fleet and ice breaking trials for the US Coastguard (link to my history of hoverbarges). The company eventually became Mackace (Mackley Air Cushion Equipment) and I became its Managing Director. This organization became the most successful operator and supplier of commercial hoverbarges worldwide.
With the recession of the oil industry in the 1980s Mackace was sold to Westlands and I formed Hovertrans to continue offering technical and consulting services to the industry. Over the following years we conducted multiple studies and built a number of working hoverbarges
It is a privilege to state that I am the only engineer to have been in this industry from the beginning having operated commercial hoverbarges from the Middle East to North America. I hold the record for being involved in the construction of the largest successful hoverbarges/craft manufactured between 1974-2018. This skill is only held by a few people and they are based in Argo Engineering. Many failures have occurred by engineers with a small amount of knowledge that copy my designs. They may achieve lift off but then fail to perform as required in the field.