Canair Hovercraft Inc.
Canair 506 / 509 / 512

Canair Hovercraft was the brainchild of Ron Fishlock.  It was the natural development of Ron's hovercraft career since coming to Canada in the early 1970's.  The concepts behind the Canair series evolved from his earlier projects with the Canair 2 and Canair 440.

The Canair 506 on the ice.

The Canair 506 6-seat hovercraft was powered by a Cam 100 engine driving a 12-blade multi-wing fan via an integral gear reduction unit and toothed belt.  The skirt was an HDL loop-segment type with a unique attachment which minimises the possibilities of the segment snagging on obstacles.  The hull was comprised of modular components each constructed of fibreglass over a closed cell foam core. Precise control of all Canair hovercraft was achieved through a single control column.  Pushing the column forward directed thrust air aft pushing the machine forward.  Lean it to the left and the hovercraft turned left.  Pull it back and the craft would brake.  Leave it back and the craft would reverse.  Steering control was maintained while the hovercraft reversed. The 506 - the first machine developed by Canair - was the "baby brother" of the Canair line.

Canair 506 Specifications

Length: 19'11"/6.1 m    Width: 8'3"/2.51 m    Height: 6'1"/1.85 m    Gross Weight 2911 lbs/1320 kgs
Payload: 1105 lbs/502 kgs    Fuel Cap: 24 gal (US)    Cruise Speed: 35 mph    Hover height: 12"

Canair's 509 coming up a boat ramp

Constructed using the same modules as the Canair 506, the 509 seated 9-passengers and was powered by twin Cam-100's each driving its own 12-bladed multi-wing fan.

Canair 509 Specifications

Length: 19'11"/6.1 m    Width: 11'11"/3.63 m    Towing Width: 8'9"/2.69 m    Height: 6'4"/1.92 m
Gross Weight: 4290 lbs/1946 kgs    Payload: 1710 lbs/777 kgs    Fuel cap: 48 gal (US)    Cruise speed: 38 mph

The Canair 512 operating over snow.

The Canair 512 was the largest hovercraft produced by Canair.  Like its little brother, the 509, it was powered by twin Cam 100 engines.  Each of these drove a 12-blade multiwing fan via an integral gear reduction unit and toothed belt.  The 512 could operate for over 4-hours at its maximum gross weight at high cruise.  Its cruise speed on light choppy water was said to be 36 MPH / 58 kph.

Canair 512 Specifications

Length: 22'10"/6.96 m        Width: 11'11"/3.63 m    Towing Width 8'9"/2.69 m    Height: 6'4"/1.92 m
Gross Weight: 5334 lbs/2420 kgs    Payload 2460 lbs/1119 kgs

In August of 2000 Canair Hovercraft Inc. folded. The letter to shareholders and creditors was brief and terse: "Dear Sir/Madam: Regrettably, I must advise you that the company has ceased operations." It went on to explain that the assets and intellectual property had been seized for sale in an attempt to repay outstanding loans, with secured creditors to be paid first. Citing insufficient financial resources to continue, it further advised that employees (employment) had been terminated and the company premises surrendered to the landlord. And so another Canadian hovercraft company closed its doors after 12 short years, with a product family which, in many ways, set a new standard for control and visual appeal in the light commercial hovercraft market. 

In its 12 year life, Canair moved four times: from the Fishlock workshop, where many of the hull plugs and molds were built; to a building in the Carleton Place Industrial Park; then to a shared industrial unit with Canwest Hovercraft in Langley, BC; then to its own facility in Langley where the first two twin engine craft were built; and finally, to a larger facility in Langley with the potential to house series production. 

In all, a total of 16 hovercraft were built: eight model 506s, one model 509 and seven model 512s. These craft have found work in a wide variety of locales, with the 506s currently located in Surrey, BC; Niles, Ohio; two in Big Pine Key, Florida; Chetwynd, BC; Watertown, New York; London, Ontario; and Tighnish, PEI. The 509 is located in Sioux Narrows, Ontario, while the 512s are in Italy (heading for Curacao Netherlands Antilles); Nain, Labrador; Washburn, Wisconsin; Island Lake, Manitoba; two craft in Long Beach, California; and one in Churchill, Manitoba. In terms of usage, four of the craft are considered as personal use, five are used as freighters, with two of those doubling as MEDEVAC ambulances, and seven being used for tourism.

The Canair series was manufactured by:

Canair Hovercraft Inc.
Unit 111
20351 Duncan Way
Langley, British Columbia
V3A 7N3
Telephone: (604) 514-3297



Copyright 2002
Hovercraft Club Of Canada