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30 January 2015

Hovercraft Flight Training: “It’s everything we thought it would be!”

It’s been a typical winter in the USA, with enough snow and ice to bring on an outbreak of ‘cabin fever’. But having a hovercraft keeps you immune – you’ll never get sick of being stuck indoors during winter months!

John T. Stewart and his father John C. Stewart from Milwaukee, Wisconsin are a perfect example of those who broke the boundaries of winter by buying a hovercraft – and training to fly it expertly on all terrain, including snow and ice.

The Stewarts describe themselves as outdoor types: “We hunt, fish, quite a bit of everything.” And winter was making a dent in their activities. They explained, “Our second home is on an island near Milwaukee and, when the weather turns inclement, we have to wait until the ice freezes solidly to cross with an ice machine. And the same thing happens in the spring, when the ice is getting too thin to walk across. With a hovercraft, we won’t have to wait.

Their first step was to buy a pre-owned Neoteric hovercraft from a long-time Neoteric customer in the Chicago area. The Stewarts had Neoteric do a complete refurbishment of the craft, and then they took the most important step of all – they came to Hovercraft Training Centers to undergo flight training. As they said, “It’s a unique vehicle, a unique mode of transportation, and we definitely want to make sure we know how to use it properly.

Suited up for the cold weather, John T. Stewart (left) and HTC Flight Instructor Steve Stafford
are prepared for John’s first training session on the Wabash River.
After a productive training day, the Stewarts accept their HTC flight certification. From left: HTC Flight Instructor Steve Stafford; John T. Stewart; John C. Stewart; and HTC Senior Flight Instructor Chris Fitzgerald.
Neither father nor son had flown a hovercraft before, but they went into their training course with the right attitudes. John T., understanding that a hovercraft is a flying vehicle, said, “I think it will be challenging, like learning to fly a helicopter or an airplane.” John C. added, “I thought it would be just like getting in a car, but after doing some research and reading the training manual, it’s a little intimidating. So I definitely want to take it slow and make sure that I respect the vehicle and what it can do.

Did the training meet their expectations? John T. described his flight training course: “The excitement was more than I expected; the learning curve was what I expected. Going from land to water was a lot smoother than I expected; I thought it would be bumpier.” His father added, “I’m very impressed! It’s everything we thought it would be.”

And what advice would they give someone who wanted to own a hovercraft without going through flight training? “I think it would be a big mistake,” John T. said, “If you’ve never flown one, the feelings of falling over or turning over or of falling out of the machine are so great – even though you’re not going to – that it could be dangerous for somebody who doesn’t train and get the feel of the craft.”

Get the feel of a hovercraft even before you buy one:

And check out hovercraft deals in the Neoteric Trade-In Showroom

20 January 2015

VIDEO: Drone footage of HTC Hovercraft Ice Rescue Training

First responders, your Hovercraft Training Centers education doesn’t always end when you finish your training course: our instructors often conduct special practice sessions for our graduates.

Last weekend the Perry Clear Creek, White River and Hazleton Fire Departments participated in an ice rescue practice with their Neoteric hovercraft on Calmuck Lake in Monroe City, Indiana, organized and conducted by HTC Flight Instructor, Steve Stafford. Steve is also Neoteric’s Law Enforcement Liaison and is the founder of Project H.E.R.O. (Hovercraft Emergency Response Operations).

Our appreciation goes to Rodney Helderman who captured the day’s activities on drone footage  – which illustrates how well the Neoteric rescue HoverTrek™, flown by professionally trained pilots, maneuvers on thin and broken ice.

And our sympathy goes to Neoteric’s VP of Marketing, Filip Przybysz, who spent a cold day playing the role of the victim who fell through the ice!

Check out the drone footage below, then watch the news coverage of the event

First responders: Could a hovercraft help you save lives?
and try one out with a Test Flight or Training Course