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15 December 2014

Hovercraft Operation: A Three-Legged Stool

We at Hovercraft Training Centers use the analogy of hovercraft operation as a three-legged stool: If one leg is weak, it topples. The three legs are: 1) A properly engineered hovercraft; 2) Thorough pilot training; and 3) A comprehensive maintenance program.

When you simply buy a hovercraft and take off on your own without pilot or maintenance training, most likely it’s going to end up parked in your garage and, whether you planned to use it for business or pleasure, your dream is going to topple.

But when you make sure your intentions have a strong foundation, your future with your hovercraft will play out like Barry Eison’s – its novelty and usefulness will increase over time. Barry is a 58-year-old mechanical engineer from Tennessee, who bought a hovercraft a year ago, but first underwent training at HTC.

Barry Eison (right) receives his Hovercraft Pilot Certification from HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fizgerald.
Barry keeps a journal of his hovercrafting and often sends us excerpts, so we’ll let him tell his story in his own words …

January 2014:
“I bought a hovercraft because every time we go out hunting, fishing, exploring, we see places we can’t get to. So many areas are inaccessible. Duck hunting is big in my area and one of the biggest frustrations for duck hunters is you have to be able to go from water to land to water – a hovercraft makes that possible. I’ve been looking at hovercraft for five years. I’ve looked at every hovercraft company out there … Neoteric is the only one that doesn’t have a single negative review.”

February 2014: (after his HTC training course)
“My biggest concern was being able to safely operate the craft. Here’s what I learned:
1) Training is absolutely necessary. If you don’t know how to use it, stay off of it!”
2) A hovercraft is a flying machine. Its capabilities must be learned and it takes time to learn to operate it.
3) If one gets too “cocky” or arrogant in their familiarization with the craft, you can get hurt of damage the machine.
4) It’s important to learn to feel the response of the craft and recognize that it doesn’t take much to alter its flight.
5) Anticipate the path you will take when you’re executing turns or other maneuvers.
6) Think, think, think! Starting, stopping – every move requires thought until you know it by heart.
7) Don’t overreact when responding to changes.
8) Learn the machine – inside and out, front to back.”

August 27, 2014:
“I love this machine. The more I use it, the more I realize the engineering and research & development that went into its development. Well done, Neoteric, well done. I am becoming quite confident with it and absolutely cannot wait to get it out hunting this winter. It has already opened up areas that I have hunted my entire life but have never been able to access.”

November 12, 2014:
“The hovercraft has performed very well on the Mississippi River and in and around the barge traffic we encounter. I was able to harvest my first deer from an area that I was previously unable to access but can now using the hovercraft. The state game wardens think it is fascinating and have given me the green light to use it freely on land or water within their motorized vehicle guidelines.”

December 15, 2014:
“I took the hovercraft out on the Mississippi River on Friday afternoon and deliberately targeted rough waters (barge wakes, small whirlpools, traversing small rapids over rock dikes, swift current) and the craft performed absolutely flawlessly. The more I use it the more impressed with it I am. You may want to pass this on to other clients: Do not take the training manual home and set it on a shelf. Print it, put it in a notebook and READ IT. Everything you need to know about the craft is enclosed! It has been a godsend for me.”

Thinking you might like to own a hovercraft?
The first step to building a strong foundation is to see if a hovercraft is right for you.


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