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28 February 2014

VIDEO: Rescue Hovercraft Training in Viet Nam

As we posted earlier, HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fitzgerald is in Viet Nam this week, training first responders from the National Department of Rescue and Relief. Also being trained are Personnel from Tuyet NGA Co. Ltd., a supplier of security and rescue equipment, who is an Agent/Dealer for Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

The two hovercraft in the video were purchased by Tuyet NGA and will be used by the National Emergency Response team – which will be a great asset in a country plagued by monsoons and floods.

Enjoy a video of Fitzgerald demonstrating the Neoteric HoverTrek’s one-of-a-kind maneuverability before flight training begins on Suoi Hai Lake at the Emergency Response Training Facility 60 Km west of Hanoi …

27 February 2014

Tetra Tech tests hovercraft for ordnance removal project

Sometimes a commercial hovercraft is the only vehicle that can get the job done. There’s a sure way to discover if that’s the case for your company: follow Tetra Tech’s lead and take a training course at HTC to experience hands-on what a hovercraft can do for you. It’s the logical first step.

Based in California, Tetra Tech is a global consulting, engineering and construction firm with 330 offices worldwide. Tetra Tech also provides disaster management and Homeland Security services; it has responded to more than 2,000 chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events, as well as natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tornados.

Tetra Tech personnel David Bennett, an ordnance removal specialist, and Richard Funk, a geophysicist, traveled to HTC headquarters to undergo a Training Course and test the capabilities of a hovercraft …

From left: HTC Flight Instructor Steve Stafford; Richard Funk; HTC Senior Flight Instructor
Chris Fitzgerald; and David Bennett.

Tetra Tech has a military contract to conduct an ordnance removal project in Puerto Rico that will involve transporting equipment over coral reefs. Boats are typically used to carry the equipment, but boats can damage the coral. Hovercraft, however, will enable them to fly 9 inches above the surface of the water, pushing or pulling the equipment on a raft - working safely and efficiently while protecting the coral reefs.

As Bennett explains, “A hovercraft is for going places you can’t go with conventional craft, places that are too shallow for a boat, places you can’t walk. I develop systems for detecting munitions. We try to push it to the next level so we can go places other people can’t go.”

Their day of training definitely ‘pushed it to the next level’ – at the training site, the Wabash River was encrusted with flowing broken ice …

But HTC's Neoteric training hovercraft mastered these extreme conditions with ease, sailing across moving ice chunks and debris like no other vehicle could possibly do ...

After challenging day of training, David and Richard felt even more strongly that hovercraft were up to the tasks facing Tetra Tech. They’re now working with Neoteric who will custom-design their craft with special accessories to meet their needs.

See a complete photo gallery of the day's training session on Facebook.

Learn more about Commercial Hovercraft Pilot Training ...

Learn more about Tetra Tech ...

25 February 2014

Hovercraft Pilot Training in Viet Nam

Hovercraft Training Centers performs hovercraft pilot and maintenance training throughout the world. This week HTC founder and senior instructor Chris Fitzgerald has traveled to the Tuyet Nga company (Russia Snow Co. Ltd.) in Hanoi, Viet Nam to train company personnel as well as first responders from Viet Nam’s National Department of Rescue and Relief.

Tuyet Nga is a supplier of security and rescue equipment, with offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. In December, the company purchased two 6-passenger Neoteric Rescue hovercraft, to be utilized by the Department of Rescue and Relief.

Here, one of the Neoteric hovercraft purchased by Tuyet Nga undergoes thorough performance testing on the Wabash River in Terre Haute, IN prior to shipment of the two craft to Viet Nam ...

Whether you come to us, or we come to you – and no matter where you live or what type of hovercraft training you need, HTC is here to serve you!

20 February 2014

Hovering on thin ice: An HTC Training exercise

When you undergo pilot and maintenance training at HTC, your training doesn’t necessarily end when you complete your course. For instance, HTC flight instructors Chris Fitzgerald and Steve Stafford recently met with first responders from the Hazelton Fire Department and the Perry Clear Creek Fire Department for ice rescue training exercises on Lake Monroe.

Located near Bloomington, Lake Monroe is the largest lake in Indiana. With below-freezing temperatures and a lake covered with snow and ice that was thin in places, the conditions that day were ideal for ice rescue practice.

Check out the photos below to get an idea why a hovercraft is the only rescue vehicle that can perform fast, safe rescues on swift water, thin or broken ice, flood waters and snow …

From left to right: The HTC training hovercraft, the Hazelton Fire Department’s craft, and Steve Stafford’s personal craft are ready to launch on Lake Monroe. All three are Neoteric Hovercraft ...

The lake ice varied from solid to thin and broken – surface conditions that prohibit the use of any other vehicle. During the day, the three hovercraft cruised the entire length of the largest lake in Indiana, regardless of ice conditions …

A short pause, and they’re off again …

Hazelton Fire Department’s Jeff Splittorf stands aboard the department’s 6-passenger Neoteric rescue hovercraft ...

After a brief consultations, maneuvers begin anew. Steve Stafford and Tim Dodds are aboard Steve’s hovercraft; outside the craft are Hazelton Fire Department’s Mark Ellis (left) and Rachel Hyneman (right) …

Steve Stafford’s hovercraft with a cabin offered him some protection from the brutal weather …

Hazelton Fire Department’s hovercraft flies easily across the snow and ice …

Rachel Hyneman’s smile indicates that braving the weather was worth it. The day of practice ensured that the Hazelton Fire Department is even more fully prepared to conduct successful ice rescues with a professionally trained crew of first responders and the most maneuverable hovercraft available …

First responders: see for yourself how hovercraft keep you out of the danger – not in it!

19 February 2014

Hovercraft Training "goes to the dogs!"

HTC graduate Gary Meyers isn’t the only one reaping the benefits of his training course! Ride along as Joey Meyers, the Official HTC HoverPup – sporting sunglasses and Mutt Muffs – cruises around Arizona's Lake Havasu in his Neoteric hovercraft ...

Would someone in your family enjoy a hovercraft ride?

Treat them to a Test Flight …

17 February 2014

Deer rescuers credit HTC and Neoteric Hovercraft

Even if you’ve already seen the heartwarming viral video of the deer rescue in Minnesota, this raw footage is definitely worth watching. HTC grad James Kenison and his father Doug of MedCity Hovercraft use their Neoteric hovercraft – and their piloting expertise – to save the lives of three deer stranded for days on the ice of Albert Lea Lake. As one reporter wrote, “It’s a father/son rescue mission unlike anything you’ve ever seen”

Sometimes hovercraft are the only lifesaving tool that works – especially in climates like that of Minnesota – ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ The Minnesota DNA reports that since 1977 there have been 225 human ice fatalities in the state - and 57% of them resulted from taking a snowmobile, ATV or vehicle other than a hovercraft onto ice. Another journalist summed it up, “Boats and jet skis are pretty useless on ice and snowmobiles fall through ice if it won’t hold their weight … If you fall through ice, or get sucked into mud or quicksand, better hope someone locally has a hovercraft handy.”

The Kenisons credit Hovercraft Training Centers and Neoteric Hovercraft for the success of their rescue. “The training I received has been such a huge benefit," wrote James, “Each time I operate the craft some of my training comes into play to some degree and I continue to build on my skills as a Neoteric hovercraft pilot.” He added, “Our Neoteric craft performed really well. Its reverse thrusters gave us the ability to quickly maneuver on the slippery ice; without them, the rescue would have taken longer just to get the craft in the right position.

Getting to the heart of the matter, Doug told us, “It looked like one of the deer actually came closer to us. It just seemed like she knew we were there to help. It was our honor and privilege to help these wonderful animals.

James Kenison (center) and his father Doug (right) earned their pilot certification from
instructor Steve Stafford (left) at Hovercraft Training Centers.

Tell us in a comment: Have you ever witnessed an ice rescue? How does this compare?

10 February 2014

Take to the Outer Limits!

Watercraft adventures in Florida have reached a whole new dimension – thanks to Outer Limits Hovercraft Tours! Owners Ron Michaels and Ryan Peacock are using a hovercraft to go above and beyond in their All Florida Watersports WaveRunner tours and parasailing business on Marco Island. “We wanted to bring an attraction that has never been offered in our area – something a bit different. We started looking on the Web and there you were. We went on a demo ride and decided that was our niche.”  

It all started at Hovercraft Training Centers, where the Outer Limits crew learned to fly their craft. “You can’t do it without training,” said the crew. “You have to have the experience of an instructor talking continuously in your ear to accomplish your maneuvers.

Ron Michaels (left) and Ryan Peacock (2nd left) complete pilot training with instructor Steve Stafford (3rd left) at HTC headquarters in Indiana, accompanied by USCG Cpt. Josh Eiler (right).
It’s only fitting that their unique plan has extraordinary features; here again Outer Limits has gone above and beyond. “We offer a very specialized craft that is the only one of its kind in the area,” says Ron. That’s why they chose a Neoteric hovercraft. And then they went a step further - just take a look at the design of their craft, shown here with Captain Ron …

Ron: “We came up with an “outer space-ish” design and had the craft vinyl heat wrapped.”
Outer Limits offers two different hovercraft experiences. For daredevils, there’s the Hovercraft Thrill Ride – 30 minutes of spinning, flying backward and other moves that get the adrenaline rushing. Or there’s the 2-hour Eco Adventure Tour through the scenic Ten Thousand Islands, with stops for shell collecting, beachcombing and wildlife watching.

The maneuverability of these high-tech, lightweight hovercraft allows the captain to fly inches
over the surface of either water or land.” says Ron.  “It’s just incredible how there’s no transition;
from land to water you don’t feel a thing. It’s amazing!” adds Ryan.
Ron and Ryan especially appreciate the low environmental impact of Neoteric hovercraft. “These craft fly over water and land nine inches above the surface, leaving no impact or footprint,”  Ron explains, “This is a super sensitive environmentally friendly craft. Absolutely no pollutants go into the water and there’s no propeller under the water that could harm marine life. It’s a great way to protect manatees and other animals from getting hit by boats.

So, southwest Florida, break free of your limits! As Ron Michaels recently told Coastal Breeze News, “We encourage enquiries and are able to design private trips. Not many can say they have taken a flight on a hovercraft and we hope to change that. Let us take you to the Outer Limits!

Then leave a comment below for Outer Limits. Or tell us how you or someone in your area could reach the outer limits with a hovercraft!

(And don't forget - you can take your lover to the outer limits with a hovercraft joyride as a Valentine's day gift!)

08 February 2014

Let Cupid take flight in a whole new way!

A card, chocolates, dinner … sure, that’s fine. But here’s a way to make this Valentine’s Day the sweetest one ever. Treat your significant other to a Neoteric hovercraft joyride at HTC headquarters in Terre Haute, Indiana!

Learn a bit more about Neoteric Hovercraft from Wealth TV’s Boys Toys, hosted by Emmy-nominated Jenn Barlow …

Are you ready to give the most unique gift possible? Just click the link below to sign up and we’ll contact you within 48 hours to schedule the flight for the date of your choice. Then we’ll email you a gift certificate to enclose in that Valentine’s Day card.

There’s no better way to hover into your lover’s heart than the gift of a flight on a Neoteric Hovercraft – the makers of Bubba’s Hover, Bubba Watson’s BWI hovercraft golf cart!

07 February 2014

First responders: Is a hovercraft right for you?

There’s no better way for first responders to determine if a hovercraft will suit their rescue needs than to undergo a training course at HTC – just like Chris Kleppe and Sean Geib.

Chris (Supervisor) and Sean (Assistant Supervisor) are in charge of the University of Wisconsin Lifesaving Station in Madison. Established in 1909 on 10,000-acre Lake Mendota, the Station is a safety and rescue operation for both the University and the city of Madison. 

Sean Geib (left) and Chris Kleppe (right) receive their Hovercraft Pilot & Maintenance Certifications
from HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fitzgerald.
But, as Chris explains, “We have no ice rescue capabilities at the Lifesaving Station – none whatsoever. We need to have some way to get out there to someone who might be in trouble – especially the ice fishermen because they have to travel across unsafe ice to get to the safe ice to fish. ATVs won’t do that. Once we saw a fisherman out on a hovercraft - okay, the light went on.

Sean adds, “And you’d be surprised how many people will walk out onto unsafe ice. Close to the lake is the University with more than 40,000 students from all over the world. Some of them are familiar with ice, but many aren’t, so they do high-risk things we just can’t believe. And with global warming, we’re getting more and more days of thin ice and more risk.”

The pair describes why they decided to undergo training before buying a hovercraft: “The more training you have, the better you’re equipped to help someone out in emergency situations where your adrenaline is running high. We both also understood that a hovercraft is not a boat; this is something completely outside our realm of knowledge, so we decided it would be both advantageous and fun to get the training.

And we’re here to have some questions answered, too,” explains Sean, “Not only from the operational standpoint but to see if it will be compatible with our facility, since we have no flat spaces and no ramps.

Fittingly, Chris and Sean’s training on a frigid January day showed them exactly how a hovercraft operates on ice. Check out the photos of their flight training session below, then read what they had to say after completing their training course …

After a morning of classroom instruction, Chris Kleppe learns how
to fuel the hovercraft at the Wabash River training site.
Next, Sean inspects the skirts as they learn to conduct a thorough preflight inspection.
With HTC instructor Chris Fitzgerald at the controls, Chris Kleppe is ready to launch
on the partially-frozen river for his first flight instruction session.
Now behind the controls, Chris Kleppe sees first-hand why a hovercraft is the only vehicle
able to travel safely and easily over thin or broken ice.
Now Chris learns how to fly the craft over water.
During their flight training sessions, both Chris (piloting the craft) and Sean (waiting back on shore for his session) receive constant feedback and instruction from their HTC instructor via wireless headsets.
After returning to Wisconsin, HTC received the following email from Chris Kleppe describing their training experience:

We both felt the training was very important. Floating on air is the best way to describe how it felt to me. Certainly the feeling was completely different than any other vehicles that I have piloted. Most surprising was the need to think way ahead of any maneuver that was made. Without the training, I could foresee a future disaster by way of a crash. To anyone trying to pilot the craft with no training I would say, ‘DO NOT DO IT.’ Plain and simple.

The hovercraft would be a useful tool for the Lifesaving Station during the freeze up and thaw out of the lake when the risk of someone going through the unsafe ice is very high. To perform winter lake safety work on Lake Mendota, I feel the hovercraft would be essential.”

01 February 2014

HTC grad Alberto Torruella: “I think training should be required.”

Alberto Torruella is a man who knows his business. The 80-year-old attorney comes from a background of sugar cane farming in Puerto Rico. Then things got interesting: “Initially our business was sugar, but my great-grandfather started producing rum. After Prohibition, we set up a distillery and went into the rum business, which was kind of a secondary business at the time.” Alberto’s “secondary business” is now the Serralles Distillery, makers of Don Q Rum. It’s not only the largest rum producer in Puerto Rico, but the second largest producer of quality rums in the United States. Then a decade ago he went into the hotel business as well, and when he bought his first hotel, he added a golf course.

Alberto lives on a beach in Puerto Rico and when he retired last year, he discovered the hovercraft golf cart via the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. “I figured this was something to keep me busy,” he says. But business is never far from his mind, so he realized he could also benefit from the Bubba’s Hover phenomenon: “And I thought it would help the golf course. Puerto Rico has 12 or 13 golf courses – lots of competition for attracting golfers – so we can offer rides.”

Like all good businessmen, Alberto decided to test the viability of his plan – so his first step was to undergo pilot and maintenance training at HTC last November before he bought his Neoteric HoverGolf™ Cart…
Alberto Torruella (left) receives his pilot certification from HTC Senior Instructor Chris Fitzgerald.
I decided to take training to see how it works out, whether I can handle it.” he said. “Obviously I know it takes practice; you don’t do it overnight. You don’t do anything like that. It’s not just knowing you have to press X button; it’s doing it, and doing it with instruction.

Alberto is a pilot and has operated boats and motorcycles since he was a child. But after completing his training course at HTC he said, “This is different. I used to drive motorcycles so I’m used to speed and some crazy things – but not this crazy! I mean, you’re going 30 mph and all of a sudden you can spin and go backwards!

Then he added, “There are some things you’re never going to do by yourself until you see it done by someone else and learn what works. You have to know what can be done and practice it. I think training should be required.”

Considering a hovercraft for business or pleasure?
Test the viability of your plan with a Test Flight or Training Course.