Visit to learn how hovercraft can help you work smarter or play harder, check out our course offerings and sign up to begin your adventure in flight.

21 November 2014

An Uncommonly Practical but Fun Holiday Gift: Hovercraft Flight

No matter what your occupation, it’s that time of year when you start thinking about the holidays, and about what gifts you’d like to give – or receive! Recently Clay Russell of Richmond, Kentucky, gave himself an uncommonly practical gift that you might want to give someone on your Christmas shopping list – or add to your own “wish list”.

Clay owns a security systems company in Richmond, and has been a volunteer first responder for most of his life. “I joined the fire department when I was just 15 years old, and started driving the truck when I was 21,” he said. “I got out of firefighting some time ago, but I still volunteer with the rescue squad. I’m a little older now, and not as active as I’d like to be. I pretty much work all the time, trying to build up that retirement fund, so I don't have a lot of hobbies.

Sound familiar? Maybe, like Clay, you or someone on your holiday shopping list needs a break! He decided to mix business with pleasure by taking a Flight Training Course at Hovercraft Training Centers. “I haven’t really had a vacation in a long time by myself, and I needed a diversion,” he laughed. “I guess that’s a big reason I’m here today. But all my diversions have some sort of either business or altruistic motives; I can’t just go recreate by myself. I needed a reason, so I picked this.
Clay Russell (left) receives his Hovercraft Pilot Certification from HTC Senior Flight Instructor Chris Fitzgerald.
Everyone would agree that learning to fly a hovercraft is fun, but how do business and altruism fit into Clay’s motives? “What I need to do today is become as familiar as I can with a hovercraft and take this information back to my department – and to my family – and then convince them to either purchase one or help me purchase one,” he explained. “If we buy a hovercraft, I would own it personally and my department could use it for rescue purposes. After a few years, when I retire, maybe I’ll take it to Florida and start a tourism business, I don’t know. Hopefully I can retire with it and have fun!”

Clay describes why his department needs a hovercraft: “The lakes in our area partially freeze over in the winter, then people walk out onto the ice and, of course, they end up needing to be rescued. And in the summer, we have some swiftwater in the area. The Kentucky River, albeit not swiftwater, has dams, so there’s also choppy water we deal with. We normally use a Zodiac for rescue, but it’s very hard to operate. We need something that will stay stationary in moving water.

And a hovercraft comes naturally to his family’s outdoor lifestyle. “I do rock climb and hike a little bit, with my 8-year-old daughter. My whole family’s kind of outdoorsy,” Clay said. “And not only is a hovercraft an outdoor vehicle, it’s more technical. As a kind of amateur mechanical engineer, it’s very interesting to see how they work. And they’re not common; I’m into the uncommon things in life.

Clay also came to Hovercraft Training Centers because we train exclusively on Neoteric hovercraft. “I’ve known about hovercraft for years, and I’ve researched every brand out there. I was most impressed by the Neoteric HoverTrek's reverse thrust. So that’s another reason why I’m here.”
With Senior Flight Instructor Chris Fitzgerald providing guidance,
Clay Russell experiences the thrill of flying a hovercraft for the first time.
Who in your life needs a break? Maybe someone who has considered a hovercraft for work or play and would love to do a feasibility study that’s actually fun? (If this describes you, start hinting now!) Shirts and ties have their place, but there’s no better stocking stuffer than the gift of hovercraft flight. And it lets you completely avoid the Black Friday rush!

The most unique holiday gift you can give – or receive … 


Post a Comment