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13 September 2013

Pete Garland: "It's all about excitement, adventure!"

Pete Garland of Coldspring, Texas, is a retired oil company engineer who enrolled in a Hovercraft Training Centers course for the same reason he went into the oil business: “It’s interesting – and I look for excitement, adventure.”

Pete Garland (left) receives his hovercraft pilot certification from HTC President Chris Fitzgerald.
But to Pete, retirement is definitely not the world’s longest coffee break. He has jet skis, four wheelers, a couple of boats and four ATVs – and grandchildren to enjoy his vehicles with him. He explains why he signed up for training before buying a hovercraft: “The reason I thought about a hovercraft is it looks like it could be a new adventure, a lot of fun. But I don’t think you can just toss your keys to the grandkids and say, ‘Here, give it a go’ like you can with jet skis. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. And I’m not sure how you repair these things, so today I’ll learn.”

And he did. After a morning of classroom and maintenance training, Pete learned how to conduct a preflight inspection before his first flight training session …

Pete first learned about hovercraft from his son-in-law, an avid golfer who got really excited when he saw the Bubba’s Hover viral video of the hovercraft golf cart Neoteric created for Bubba Watson. “He’s just as excited about me coming here for training,” Pete says. “He wants me to buy him a hovercraft, too!

Before his flight session began, Pete anticipated that flying a hovercraft would be different than operating other watercraft: “Directly on the water you have a lot of control, but from reading the manual, when you’re floating on air there’s a little more of a control issue.”

But control wasn’t an issue once he learned to fly. In the pilot seat, Pete takes over the hovercraft controls while HTC instructor Chris Fitzgerald provides constant guidance …

At the end of his training day, when asked what three words would best describe him, Pete said, “Adventurous, outgoing and in good health.” Then he added, “I’m not too old for this!”

You bet he isn’t! As Henry Ford - a man who knew a thing or two about vehicles - said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Hold back time - learn to fly a hovercraft!


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