Longbow, a pure thrust jet hydroplane, is currently under construction on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire and aims to become the fastest vessel on water. The record currently stands at 317mph, set in 1978 by Australian Ken Warby MBE in his jet hydroplane Spirit of Australia.

Britlift is supporting the construction of Longbow, fabricating and donating a lifting frame to help the team safely move and position the twin Rolls Royce Viper 535 turbojet engines derived from the military BAC Strikemaster aircraft.

“We created Britlift to be a solutions provider, solving complex lifting problems large and small. Longbow offered a great opportunity for us to lend our lifting expertise, designing and manufacturing this adjustable H-Frame with a screw-driven central top lifting point, for small CoG adjustment,” said Liam Botting, MD, Britlift.

The team behind Longbow is Jet Hydroplane UK, led by David Aldred, who is well known and respected in the jet hydroplane community. It also includes a serving RAF pilot as the vessel’s driver, David-John Gibbs (DJ). A flight examiner at RAF Cranwell and an acrobatics display pilot for the RAF, in his spare time DJ races a Formula 4 hydroplane. Consultant design engineer for the project is Paul Martin who has previously worked for McLaren and is currently working on the Aussie Invader land speed record car, which is aiming for 1,000mph.

“Longbow is considered a genuine challenger for the outright world water speed record. We are delighted to be playing our part in the construction of this jet hydroplane and wish the team every success with it,” added Botting.

Based in Dorset, UK, Britlift works with a global client base, providing an end-to-end lifting equipment engineering design service including calculations, design, manufacture, certification, and rig design.

The qualified mechanical and structural engineers at Britlift will work with the client during the design phase, ensuring the most efficient, effective, safe and suitable solution is engineered, be that a lifting beam or frame, a bespoke handling or lifting tool, complex rig design, or FEA. Its Traditional Modular spreader beam is also available in a variety of standard sizes.

Britlift provided a bespoke lifting frame to Jet Hydroplane UK, built to David Aldred’s specifications. “I am deeply grateful to Britlift for their sponsorship and support. They understood exactly what we needed and delivered the perfect product for the job,” said Aldred, who has a long history in the jet hydroplane community.

He previously supplied the Orpheus engines for K777, an experimental replica of the world-famous Bluebird K7 and prior to that worked on the restoration of the original Bluebird K7.

His design philosophy encompasses both traditional boat building methods and modern technology. “I feel it is easy to forget the basics of simply building a fast boat where there is no need to reinvent the wheel or be overwhelmed by expensive, highly complex engineering, when common sense and experience will get you where you need to be,” he said.

“Pick up your tools and make what you want a reality. If it looks right then it probably is right and if it doesn’t work as you want it to, scratch your head, ask for help when needed and fix the problem.