National Research Associates, Inc

In 1958 Melville W. Beardsley founded National Research Associates company. NRA developed and tested over 30 air cushion vehicles, with the Air Gem Air cushion vehicle produced as their first product. NRA also sold Disney's Flying Saucers attraction under license. The Company went out of business in 1963.[1][2]

National Research Associates, Inc
HeadquartersLaurel, Maryland
Key people
Melville W. Beardsley
ProductsAir Cushion Vehicles

National Research Associates, Inc was a United States of America aircraft manufacturer...

NRA Developed Air Cushion Vehicles for the Army and Marines. In 1959 The Marine Corps signed a $40,000 contract for a 14x3 ft demonstration vehicle. NRA's development facilities were located in College Park, Maryland and Laurel, Maryland.[3][4] After moving on from NRA, Beardsley spent several years contesting who had the rights to the patent of the Hovercraft concept with Christopher Cockerell.[5]


Summary of aircraft built by National Research Associates, Inc
Model name First flight Number built Type
Aqua Gem Air Cushion Vehicle 1961 Number built Type


  1. ^ "Amphibian Vehicle Riding On Air Cushion Is Shown". The Evening Star, Washington, DC. August 4, 1961.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Air Suspension Vehicles Redied for Quantico Tests". The Free Lance Star. July 27, 1959.
  4. ^ "Air Transports of Future Displayed at Conference". The Reading Eagle. October 24, 1959.
  5. ^ "Melville Beardsley: A pioneer's impact on hovercraft development". Retrieved 23 November 2010.