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20 May 2014

Marc Sidell: “Training is the key to success.”

Marc Sidell of Seattle, Washington is a boater and a pilot, and he even considered flying professionally at one point. Since he lives near the Boeing factory, and because several of his friends are pilots, flying came naturally to him. Also, he lives near the San Juan Islands and “It takes awhile to get to them by boat, but with an airplane it’s much faster. And with an airplane you can fly all over the place,” he says.

 But Marc wants to stop flying. He explains, “I want to transition out of that because it’s gotten quite expensive - and also you have the possibility of dying!”

So he turned to hovercraft as a way to fly safely 9 inches above the ground, with less expense. And as an experienced pilot, he knew the place to start was to take a training course at HTC. “It’s like a plane; you need to train and put time in on it,” he says, “Otherwise, it could be dangerous.

After a full day of training, Marc Sidell (left) accepts his Hovercraft Pilot Certification from Chris Fitzgerald (right).
Marc thoroughly enjoyed his training course. “It was the best day, and very eye opening,” he says, “And I loved the safety of being trained by someone so experienced and qualified. Even though it felt a little humbling at first to perform around Chris, who is so skilled, it was very comfortable to have him around.

His training left Marc even more interested in the possibility of owning a hovercraft: “It’s versatile and you can go just about anyplace – like you can fly up a steep boat ramp. I think a hovercraft gives you a lot of independence and freedom to do things you wouldn’t dare do otherwise.”

And his day at HTC fully convinced him that training is the place to start. “Training is the key to success,” Marc says, “Anyone who attempts to fly a hovercraft without training is an idiot, point blank!

Enjoy a few photos of Marc’s flight training session at HTC …

Wearing wireless headsets for constant communication with HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fitzgerald during his training session, Marc is ready for his first flight in a hovercraft at the Wabash River training site.
Chris Fitzgerald fully reviews the operation of all the hovercraft’s controls with Marc before launching the craft onto the river.
And they’re off, with Fitzgerald in the pilot’s seat to explain maneuvers before Marc takes over the controls.
After a morning classroom session where he learned everything about hovercraft and their operation, then a flight demonstration with Chris Fitzgerald, Marc easily flies the craft down the Wabash River to practice what he’s learned.

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