16 October, 2016

Neoteric Hovercraft’s role in Lockheed Martin’s #Hybrid Airship technology

Lockheed Martin, the global security and aerospace company, is known for developing advanced technology, focusing on military vehicles. One of its many projects, in process for more than a decade, is the Hybrid Airship.

Their first Hybrid Airship, the P-791,  became public knowledge in 2006 when a strange object was seen in the sky over the Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Projects Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. In their next issue, Aviation Week & Technology magazine “scooped” the story.

But the story was old news to Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald, who is also the founder and Chief Flight Instructor at HovercraftTraining Centers. A year before the article was published, Lockheed Martin’s test pilots Eric Hanson and Tim Blunck had come to Fitzgerald for pilot training on a Neoteric HoverTrek™ and to familiarize themselves with hovercraft technology – which would be a major feature of their new P-791 Hybrid Airship's air cushion landing system ...

In 2005, #Lockheed Martin Flight Test Engineer Tim Blunck (left) and Flight Operations Manager/Chief Test Pilot Eric Hanson (center) received their Hovercraft Pilot Certifications from Neoteric President Christ Fitzgerald (right).

Hanson and Blunck were both in the cockpit during the first test flight of the P-791 airship demonstrator model, with Hanson as pilot. They reported to Neoteric, "With the four vectored propulsors, I skated, sidestepped, backed up and did 180-degree reverses with solid control in 5-knot winds ... The training you provided last June was a tremendous help. It enabled us to understand the sensations around us and gave us a better situational awareness as the systems were energized."

A decade after studying hovercraft technology and flight training at Neoteric and Hovercraft Training Centers, Lockheed Martin is now manufacturing the ACLS Hybrid Airship - and giving hovercraft technology the major credit for a vehicle that will "open a new world of possibilities."

To quote from their website, "What is a hovercraft? It's an amphibious vehicle that travels on a cushion of air ... Hovercraft can operate across nearly any terrain, including land, water and ice. It's this characteristic that makes hovercraft technology the ideal match for the Hybrid Airship, the cargo-hauling ship of the skies."

Lockheed Martin's Hybrid Airship has a multitude of functions, especially since more than two-thirds of the world's land and half of the global population has no direct access to paved roads. From carrying heavy equipment or troops to isolated areas, to transporting medical personnel and supplies in disaster relief operations, this combination hovercraft/airship is "the next leap in transportation technology."

Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin
Beginning with "black projects" during World War II, Lockheed Martin's #Skunk Works has made and indelible mark on aviation history through its development and production of legendary aircraft, including the U-2, the SR-71 and the F-117.

Their new Hybrid Airship and its hovercraft technology could join the ranks of legend in Lockheed Martin's incomparable record as producer of so many of the world's most innovative, and most famous, aircraft. We at Neoteric Hovercraft are honored to have played a role in this latest production.


05 October, 2016

China market eagerly embraces Neoteric Hovercraft

In recent years, China’s demand for American-made products is increasing. Surveys reveal that authenticity and quality are the two main reasons for the growth of this demand. In China, western goods have long been synonymous with prestige and authenticity.

This is one reason why Neoteric, as the world’s original and most experienced light hovercraft manufacturer, is experiencing an expansion of its business in China.

But the other reason – the most important one - is the proficiency and enthusiasm of Neoteric’s agent, China Hai Pai Hovercraft, Ltd., located in Shanghai. Hai Pai Hovercraft is the leading hovercraft company in China and, under the dedicated direction of company President Mr. Huang Xiaogang, is conducting superior marketing efforts for Neoteric.

As one example, Mr. Huang recently arranged a Neoteric Hovercraft presentation for Vice-Minister of China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, Mr. Gu ChaoXi, along with Major General WenPing Feng, Commander of the ZheJiang Military Region of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.  The event took place in YiWu, a county-level city in ZheJiang Province.

The presentation involved the YiWu Emergency Rescue Team using their Neoteric Model 3626 65hp 4-passenger hovercraft to conduct flight training for additional pilots. The event took place on the YiWu River, the longest river in the region.

The YiWu, China Emergency Rescue Team conducts pilot training on the YiWu River.

Mr. Gu ChaoXi, China’s Vice-Minister of Civil Affairs (in black suit),
showed great interest in the YiWu Emergency Rescue Team’s Neoteric Hovercraft.

Major General WenPing Feng, Commander of the ZheJiang Military Region
of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and his accompanying personnel
were impressed with the performance of the rescue hovercraft.

Mr. Huang Xiaogang reports that everyone attending the demonstration was impressed by the hovercraft, particularly by its rescue features: high speed reverse thrust that enables it to brake, back up, spin and hover in place; searchlights; speaker; alarm system, etc.

YiWu is the perfect city for conducting this demonstration. Founded during the Qin Dynasty around 222 B.C., YiWu today is a thriving international trade city with the largest commodity market in China - well on its way to becoming the largest global supermarket in the world. The world-famous YiWu International Trade Market alone has 62,000 vendors and is estimated to have 40,000 visitors per day. As an interesting side note, more than 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in YiWu.

Located about 300 miles from the East China Sea, YiWu is surrounded by mountains and has a mild climate, which has also helped it become a popular tourist destination.

The YiWu Emergency Rescue Team’s Neoteric Hovercraft is certainly not the only Neoteric craft in use in China – thanks to the efforts of Mr. Huang Xiaogang and Hai Pai Hovercraft, Ltd. Besides serving in rescue agencies, Neoteric Hovercraft are also used in tourism operations. For example, Sichuan Baichuan Tourism in TangShan City, Hebei Province owns two Model 3626 Neoteric Hovercraft. And Sichuan Baichuan Tourism in LuLiang City, Shanxi Province, owns one Model 3877 hovercraft … and their two additional Model 5854 6-passenger Neoteric craft will arrive there soon ...

The shipping container arrives at the Neoteric factory to export Yellow River Tourist Attractions’
two new hovercraft to China. By mid-October, the hovercraft will reach Neoteric’s agent in Shanghai,
then President Mr. Huang Xiaogang will deliver the craft to LuLiang.

Yellow River Tourist Attractions is increasing their fleet due to the popularity of the hovercraft. As a recent review on a travel site said, “Thrilling experience! I boarded a hovercraft to travel across the Yellow River … Wow, the hovercraft was fun and thrilling! It travelled both on land and water. We stopped at a sand bar where we could look at the views across the river.” 

We at Neoteric eagerly anticipate a continuing mutually-beneficial relationship with China Hai Pai Hovercraft, Ltd. as the Asian market embraces the Neoteric Hovercraft.

23 September, 2016

Neoteric Hovercraft transports Indiana Bicentennial Torch

The signature commemorative event of the state’s 200th birthday is the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. Patterned after the Olympic Torch Relay, Indiana’s version will pass through all 92 of the state’s counties and cover 3,200 miles over a five week period, averaging 97 miles a day.

The torch is being carried by specially chosen people, and by modes of transport that are symbolic of the heritage and history of Indiana. These include an Indy race car, antique autos, a Batmobile, farm equipment, a horse & wagon … and, of course, a Neoteric Hovercraft ...


It’s only natural that Neoteric was selected to bring the Bicentennial Torch down the Wabash River to Terre Haute. As the media have often reported, Neoteric, with its international clientele and global reputation, has put Terre Haute, Indiana on the world map. 

And, of course, a Neoteric Hovercraft always serves as a media magnet …

As the crowd gathers, the Bicentennial Torch-bearing Neoteric Hovercraft arrives ...

... and makes a smooth transition from the river up the Fairbanks Park boat ramp ...

Piloted by Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald, the hovercraft passengers were, from the left: Vigo Country Representative Elizabeth Scamihorn, Torch Manager/Guard Phil Baldwin, and Torchbearer NBC-2 Chief Meteorologist Jesse Walker ...
The Terre Haute Tribune Star interviewed Jesse Walker about his hovercraft experience: 
"It was such an honor to be nominated to do this," Walker said. "The 200-year celebration of Indiana is fantastic. And for me to get to go down the river ... I go on TV every night and talk about the weather, talk about the river. This was the first time I've been on the river to any extent."

"We traveled about five or six miles. Perfect conditions. The river was fine and Chris Fitzgerald did a great job with the hovercraft. I did get splashed a little bit. But it's been hot today, so I'm OK with that."

At Fairbanks Park, Jesse Walker passed the torch on to Blake Griffin, who carried it on his bike around the park in honor of his brother, Sgt. Dale Griffin. Dale gave his life in 2009, while serving in Operating Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan ...

The night ended with a magnificent fireworks display over the Wabash River. And now the Bicentennial Torch continues its journey through Indiana, to cover 260 cities and towns; 17 State and National Parks; 9 lakes and rivers; 27 national, state and local sites of historic significance; and 22 colleges and universities.

When the Relay concludes on October 15, the torch will be used to illuminate an everlasting light at the statehouse in Indianapolis. It will serve as an homage to Indiana's first 200 years and an inspiration for generations of Hoosiers to come.

Neoteric Hovercraft is greatly honored to have served a role in this historic event. Back in 1975, we made the decision to move our company from Australia to the USA. More than four decades later, we still feel privileged to call Terre Haute, Indiana our home.

20 August, 2016

First Responders: Save flood victims safely – with a hovercraft

Question:  Of all natural disasters, which is the fastest growing and most costly?

Answer:  Devastating floods – like those now plaguing Louisiana – are rapidly increasing in the U.S. and across the world. From 1980 to 2009, floods caused 500,000+ deaths worldwide and affected more than 2.8 billion people.

To date, the Louisiana flood is responsible for 13 deaths and damage to more than 40,000 homes. Last weekend alone, first responders rescued more than 20,000 people and 1,000 pets. 10,000+ people are living in emergency shelters and 70,000 have registered for individual assistance. The government has declared south Louisiana a flood disaster zone.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards calls the floods “unprecedented” and “historic”. But, extensive research reveals that deadly flooding is becoming more ordinary than extraordinary. According to FEMA, the area of the U.S. at risk of floods, including inland river areas and coastal regions, will grow 45% by 2100. It’s estimated that by 2050, flooding will cost about $1,000,000,000,000 a year, and cause major damage to the 136 largest coastal cities in the world.

Current statistics support these predictions: 1) 2015 was the second wettest year on record in the U.S., and 2) In just the past year, catastrophic floods occurred in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Missouri and Illinois, to name just a few.

As flood disasters increase, it’s crucial that preparedness efforts must also increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year more deaths occur in floods than in any other weather hazard. And the death toll includes first responders, as well as victims lost to failed rescue attempts.

So, another question:  In the face of increasing flood risks, how can first responders increase their ability to perform faster, safer rescues, protecting their victims as well as themselves?

Here’s the answer ...


This video of Wylie Fire-Rescue’s Neoteric Hovercraft saving lives last year in Texas’ widespread flooding shows how easily it operates in shallow, debris-filled water and has the unique maneuverability for up-close access to victims without forcing first responders to enter the water.

But the proof of the Neoteric Hovercraft’s ability to outperform other water rescue vehicles consists of far more than a single video. First responders across the world rely on the Neoteric Rescue HoverTrek™; here’s what just a few of them say about the superiority of hovercraft over boats and other water rescue vehicles …

North Muskegon Fire Department, Michigan USA
"Our hovercraft have saved more lives than all our fire engines combined. Since 1985, more than 255 people have been rescued from Muskegon area lakes using the hovercraft. More than half of them would have drowned not having the hovercraft as a safe rescue tool."

WOPR, a national water rescue organization in Poland
“Regardless of the weather, our hovercraft can fly over water, ice, mud, sand, grass or wetlands – allowing us to get to those places you can’t reach either by boat or by foot. This machine can save people under the most difficult conditions that prevent the use of a helicopter.”

Mansfield Fire Department, Texas USA:
“The benefit of having the hovercraft is we do not have to send our personnel into the water to retrieve victims. It can also hover over logs, car tires and any other debris, unlike boats that could be a hazard in flood water. A hovercraft is the answer to a faster rescue – a safer rescue.”

Central Fraser Valley Search & Rescue Society, Canada:
"The hovercraft gets us into areas that, before, we weren't able to reach, areas that our jet boat can't get into because we ingest debris into the impeller. And the hovercraft saves us a lot of time."

Council Bluffs Fire Department, Iowa USA:
"Our hovercraft can handle some of the most dangerous rescues that would otherwise be out of reach. It's the only vehicle able to operate on any surface; you can get it anywhere that basically nothing else can get to. With it, we're not sending first responders out into bad water or ice. We can go over it all with the hovercraft, grab the victim and bring them back."

As you can see, hovercraft are a critical rescue apparatus for flood rescue operations. They’re able to access areas that boats, airboats and even helicopters can’t reach. Flat bottom Jon Boats and other propeller-driven watercraft are of little use in flood water or shallow water. Debris and obstructions can not only damage rescue boats, but can pose a lethal danger to first responders and to flood victims whose lives they are tasked to save.

And the Neoteric Rescue Hovercraft, with its exclusive reverse thrust, greatly tops the maneuverability of other models, allowing you to back up, spin and hover in place. Flying 9 inches above the surface, the HoverTrek™ performs in debris-filled, shallow and fast-flowing flood water and allows rapid up-close access to victims, keeping first responders above the danger - not in it.

In dangerous flood waters, there’s no better way to save lives safely – or to keep rescuers from becoming the rescued.

Experience for yourself how a hovercraft saves lives safely …