11 December, 2011

Neoteric Trains Hovercraft Pilots in Hong Kong

Neoteric Hovercraft pilot training instructors Chris Fitzgerald and Steve Stafford recently traveled to Hong Kong to conduct six days of challenging hovercraft pilot training for firefighters from the Hong Kong Fire Services Department in their new 6-passenger rescue Hovertrek.

Their hovercraft is based at the Sheung Shui Fire Station where more than 75 firefighters are stationed. This northern region of Hong Kong suffers frequent flooding due to typhoons and rainstorm “Black Warnings.” Because of this, the area has quite a sophisticated storm water management system consisting of narrow engineered drainage channels with highly elaborate controls. These channels feature walkways, ramps, service platforms, inflatable dams and even bike trails and rest areas for the public.
Aerial view of the Ng Tung River near Tin Ping Shan, where flight training was conducted. 
Hands-on flight training for the firefighters took place in one of these drainage channels of the Ng Tung River near Tin Ping Shan.
At the start of hands-on flight training, Stafford and Fitzgerald show the second group of student pilots how to remove the hovercraft from its trailer and to conduct a pre-flight inspection.

A major challenge was that the channel, at 40 yards wide, offered insufficient width to perform many of the standard pilot training maneuvers. In addition, the 4-feet deep channel, with its 45-degree concrete walls and stairways every 200 yards with stainless steel chain railings, provided a forbidding number of opportunities for hovercraft impacts.
In the narrow channel, Fitzgerald instructs firefighter Lai Wa in slow speed maneuvering and backing up.
It rained continually for nearly half of the six days of training but the Fire Services craft, shown below in Indiana before shipment to Hong Kong, is equipped with a cabin that was removed for fair weather training days ...
The Neoteric hovercraft joins the sophisticated apparatus of a fire station with all the latest rescue equipment, such as new ladder trucks from Sweden, modern ambulances and BMW performance motorcycles equipped for paramedics.

Hong Kong is tremendously efficient and its government demands the highest standards for all purchases. Before their new hovercraft could be shipped, officials from the Government of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Fire Department, and China Pacific Marine, Ltd. (Neoteric's Hong Kong agent) visited Neoteric in Indiana USA to conduct stringent performance evaluations on the craft.  

Hong Kong is the ideal environment for the unique capabilities of the hovercraft. Rivers, canals, channels, drainage ditches, estuaries and fish farms proliferate and there is an enormous number of islands and beaches, as well as vast barge and ship traffic.

26 November, 2011

Neoteric Hovercraft Patrols Flood Waters in Washington USA

As KING 5 Television reports, the only sound in Silvana, Washington on Thanksgiving night was the sound of the fire department's Neoteric Hovercraft patrolling for those cut off by floodwaters ...

This is not the first time the Neoteric Hovertrek has been a lifesaver in Washington state flood rescue operations. In 2006, Neoteric hovercraft rescued hundreds of flood victims, plucking them from trees and homes surrounded by fast-moving water filled with flood debris. And again in 2010, their hovercraft were the calm in the storm during devastating flooding in Granite City.

Hovercraft are extremely effective in flood rescue operations because they can access areas that boats and other rescue vehicles can't reach. Unlike other vehicles, hovercraft fly on a cushion of air 9 inches above the surface, so they simply glide over swift flowing, debris-filled floodwaters. And, unlike other hovercraft, the Neoteric Hovertrek's patented reverse thrust system gives it the unique capability to brake, back up, hover in place - maneuvers that are critical in flood rescues.

29 October, 2011

Airplane pilot comments on Neoteric's Hovercraft Flight Training Course

Dirk Lohry, a private airplane pilot from McCook Lake, South Dakota USA, recently completed Neoteric's Recreational Hovercraft Pilot Training Course. Lohry lives on a lake, and the hovercraft he is building from a Neoteric partially-assembled kit will let him navigate the lake over thin and broken ice for the first time. Before his day of training, he had never even seen a hovercraft in person. After his day of training, Lohry offers the following advice to would-be hovercraft pilots …

“I was expecting that flying the hovercraft would be as easy as driving a car on ice. I had flown a private airplane for years and had watched many YouTube videos of the hovercraft in action so I thought I knew quite a bit. Now I know that it would not be a good idea to self teach yourself. You also need to know the theory on how it works, or else you will be scratching your head wondering what happened.
Dirk Lohry (right) and Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald prepare
 the training craft on the Wabash River for Lohry's maiden flight.
The training course showed me that flying a hovercraft is not as intuitive as I had expected. Some aspects of piloting the hovercraft were much more challenging while others were easier. For example, on water the hovercraft does not always hover. If the weight balance is off or if the skirt catches water the hovercraft would not rise. It takes power and speed to get over hump and get hovering. After it gets up, the craft slides like wet soap in a bathtub. Even with reduced power the speed can climb unexpectedly.

Slow speed handling was a pleasant surprise. In one maneuver we gently nudged a bridge on a moving river. Controlling the hovercraft was much easier than I expected and very smooth. There are many things to control all at the same time, such as RPM, rudder, reverse thrust and where you put your weight. And you need to be aware of the wind, current and lots of obstacles.

The Neoteric hovercraft is the only one I know that has reverse thrust. The craft can hover in place, spin like a top or even back up.  Try doing that in any other hovercraft!  Amazing technology really, and all with only one fan. The cool thing was flying over floating logs and vegetation - try doing that in a boat.

Landing on shore was just cool. No more dragging my boat up the shore, knee deep in mud. I am looking forward to maneuvering around the changing shores of the Missouri River. After the big flood this summer, there are new hidden reefs, trees and rocks. For a boat, that is a nightmare … for a hovercraft, it is a dream.”

18 October, 2011

Rescue Hovercraft Pilot Training: Perry-Clear Creek Fire Department

Firefighters from the Perry-Clear Creek Fire Department, Bloomington, Indiana USA have successfully completed Neoteric’s Rescue Hovercraft Pilot Training and Maintenance Course …

Above, first responders from the Perry-Clear Creek Fire Department receive their hovercraft pilot certifications. Left to right: Craig Patnode, Aaron Robertson, JJ McWhorter, Neoteric President/Flight Instructor Chris Fitzgerald, Joe McWhorter Jr., Shane Egan and, in front, Mark Mahurin.

An important portion of the Training Course is instruction in the function and maintenance of all systems of the hovercraft. Here, Chris Fitzgerald overviews with its firefighters and future hovercraft pilots the department’s newly-manufactured 6-passenger Rescue Hovertrek™.

Half the Training Course consists of hands-on flight training. On the Wabash River in Terre Haute, Indiana Instructor Chris Fitzgerald explains the concept of the imaginary "runway" to Mark Mahurin, an idea that is helpful for taking off on water and getting over the hump.

See a photo gallery of the Perry-Clear Creek Fire Dept.

17 October, 2011

Recreational Hovercraft Pilot Training: Sebastian & Ghislaine van Berkom

Sebastian and Ghislaine van Berkom of Montreal, Canada, traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana USA to complete Neoteric’s Hovercraft Pilot Training Course and take delivery of their new Recreational Hovertrek.
Above, Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald takes Ghislaine through a pre-flight check before their new hovercraft is launched on the Wabash River for its maiden training flight.

The van Berkoms own a private island in Canada, which they frequently visit using a barge or Skidoo, depending on the season. However, there are months when ice prevents the use of the barge but when it isn’t yet safe to use the Skidoo. But now, the van Berkom’s new Neoteric hovercraft gives them the ability to travel to their island any time of the year, regardless of weather or water conditions. For this reason, Sebastian and Ghislaine see their new Neoteric hovercraft as not just a recreational vehicle, but also a utility vehicle.
And off they go, transitioning smoothly from the paved boat launch to the water, thanks to the exceptional maneuverability offered by the revolutionary reverse thrust system on all Neoteric Hovercraft.

Unique vehicles and unusual sports are nothing new for Sebastian. His Ski-Doo provides only one of his winter adventures - he also loves the adrenaline rush of heli-skiing.
Back at Neoteric's headquarters, the van Berkoms receive their Hovercraft Pilot Certification from Chris Fitzgerald. After undergoing a day of flight training, Sebastian observed that “it takes awhile for a novice to get used to the relation between power, trim, rudder and reverse thrust buckets.” He strongly advises against operating a hovercraft without first undergoing thorough pilot training.

10 October, 2011

Coming soon: Neoteric on WealthTV's "Boys Toys"

The Neoteric Recreational Hovertrek is in excellent company ... right up there with Rolls Royce, Lazzara Yachts, Quicksilver Ultralight Aircraft, Magic Powerboats, Aqua Jet Jetbikes and Zero Motorcycles, to name a few.

What do these vehicles have in common? In a word, status. WealthTV, the exclusive cable television network, has bestowed top-of-the-line status on them all by selecting them to be featured on its popular program Boys Toys with TV host/actress/model Jenn Barlow.

WealthTV is a high definition American cable television network devoted to taking viewers on a journey of how wealth is achieved, used and enjoyed. The network is carried by cable and satellite service providers around the globe; it is also available via Verizon FiOS and 24/7 live streaming on Roku.

Check back here on the Neoteric blog or on our website for the upcoming program's air date. In the meantime, enjoy a brief preview with photos taken during the recent filming here at Neoteric in Terre Haute ...
Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald readies for launch on the Wabash River two of the three craft used in the filming.
From left, Maintenance Supervisor Ryan Pfister, Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald, and Flight Instructor Steve Stafford strike a pose before launching three Neoteric craft on the river.
Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald hovers WealthTV cameraman Todd Metcalf across a sandbar in the Wabash River.
The crew sets up to film an illustration of how the hovercraft's environmental footprint is so gentle that it can hover over delicate eggs without damaging them.
It's a wrap! The cast and crew pose for a final shot at the end of a day of filming. From left: Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald; Boys Toys host Jenn Barlow; Neoteric Flight Instructor Steve Stafford; Neoteric VP Filip Przybysz; and WealthTV cameraman Todd Metcalf.

Learn more about Neoteric Recreational hovercraft ...

02 October, 2011

Commercial Hovercraft Pilot Training in the Dominican Republic

Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald traveled to the Dominican Republic this week to conduct specialized commercial hovercraft operations training with Neoteric client Jean Paul Delahaut.

Delahaut is launching a new venture offering hovercraft passenger tours along the shoreline of Punta Cana. The area is known for its beaches, which face both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and has been a popular tourist attraction since the 1970s.

Training was conducted in Delahaut’s 100 HP six-passenger Neoteric Hovertrek and took place on the Atlantic Ocean in order to prepare Delahaut for operating the hovercraft in varying water conditions. Sebastien Baratto (rear seat) is along for the ride as Delahaut's first passenger.

30 September, 2011

Hong Kong Fire Department puts a Neoteric rescue hovercraft through its paces

In late September, officials from the Government of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Fire Department, and China Pacific Marine, Ltd. visited Neoteric to conduct stringent performance evaluations on the Fire Department's newly manufactured 6-passenger Neoteric Rescue Hovertrek prior to its shipment to China.

China Pacific Marine, Ltd., Neoteric's agent in Hong Kong who organized the purchase, is a renowned firm with more than four decades’ experience providing marine products to both government and the private sector.

The special features of the Hong Kong Fire Department’s Neoteric Hovertrek 6-passenger Rescue Deluxe include a cabin, VHF marine radio, GPS system, 400,000 candle power searchlight, 8 pound anchor, two glove boxes, two paddle/boat hooks, a spare parts kit and a roll-on/roll-off trailer for easy transport ...
From left:  Mr. Don Chow, Director of China Pacific Marine, and Chris Fitzgerald, President of Neoteric Hovercraft, along with the ship inspector for the Marine Division of the Government of Hong Kong and an official from the Hong Kong Fire Department are geared up to launch the hovercraft on the Wabash River in Terre Haute ...
The day's strict performance evaluations included: forward and backward speed; weight and payload capacity; noise levels; and operation of all systems including fuel and electrical systems.Should any one of the tests not meet the criteria of the Hong Kong Government, the order would be cancelled ...
At the end of a successful day of testing, Neoteric met and surpassed all the specific governmental standards and the Hong Kong Fire Department's new rescue hovercraft was soon loaded into a shipping container to make its way to China ...

18 August, 2011

Recreational hovercraft pilot training

Aspiring pilots from throughout the world recognize that Neoteric’s exclusive Hovercraft Pilot Training Program is the most comprehensive course available. And in addition to first responders and military personnel, recreational hovercrafters also come to Neoteric for quality hovercraft flight training.

Steven McVeety from Perth, Ontario, Canada (left) and Ryan Dagey from Bloomington, Indiana USA (center) exemplify the leisure hovercraft pilots trained by Chris Fitzgerald (right) at Neoteric. Here, Fitzgerald shows Steve and Ryan how to conduct a pre-flight inspection before the Neoteric training craft was launched yesterday on the Wabash River ...
Steve is employed by 3M in Canada as a plant engineer in charge of quality control and safety. Ryan, as President of Dagey Technology Solutions LLC, directs Neoteric's information management needs. Steve is in the process of building his own hovercraft from a kit; Ryan participated in the training course to increase his first-hand familiarity with a client's product.

Below, Fitzgerald describes how Neoteric's patented reverse thrust system makes the Hovertrek the only light hovercraft in the world with effective brakes ... 
Steve has organized power boat events, has raced hydroplanes and go-carts and is a certified scuba diver. He has always had a passion for hovercraft, but his training yesterday is the first time he's ever been aboard a hovercraft in flight - evidenced by his anticipatory smile as Fitzgerald prepares to launch ... 

And they're off ...

Steve wanted to undergo thorough pilot training and says he found, after considerable research, that “The only place to get proper training is here at Neoteric. I’ve really learned a lot ... and the maintenance instruction part of the Training Course has given me ideas that will expedite the building process on my own hovercraft."

At the end of an afternoon on the river, back at Neoteric the two new pilots accept their Class III Hovercraft Pilot Training Certification from Chris Fitzgerald ... 

15 August, 2011

Neoteric hovercraft rescues scores of canoeists

The U.S. Department of the Interior is crediting a Neoteric hovercraft for 17 different water rescue operations in one week on Wisconsin's St. Croix River that brought 98 people to safety. The hovercraft is owned and operated by the St. Croix Tribal Police ...

The National Park Service said the river had risen six feet from rainstorms and "The combination of high water and debris from last month's windstorm made for difficult navigation." Local media reported that it was "treacherous with many downed trees in the riverways, high water levels, and extremely fast and dangerous currents."

These conditions describe a perfect example of a rescue scenario in which a hovercraft may be the only vehicle capable of saving people's lives. St. Croix Tribal Police Chief Frank Taylor pointed out, "Having the hovercraft is a good resource for us to have and this rescue is a prime example of what can happen when agencies work together."
Rangers prepare for night search operations in the St. Croix Tribal Police
Neoteric hovercraft. National Park Service photo.

Sergeant Warren Tuttle and officer Henry Bearheart are the St. Croix Tribal Police hovercraft operators. On August 5 alone, Tuttle and Bearheart rescued 14 campers and two counselors from YMCA Camp St. Croix when the river's high water and fast current swamped their canoes.
 Warren Tuttle (left) and Henry Bearheart (third from left), St. Croix Tribal Police, receive their Hovercraft Pilot Certification from Neoteric president Chris Fitzgerald (second from left)and Neoteric Law Enforcement Liaison Steve Stafford (right).

Chief Taylor told news media, "I can't say enough about Tuttle and Bearheart, who did an outstanding job of recognizing the dangers of the river, and helped save those campers.”

To read full news coverage of the St. Croix Tribal Police hovercraft water rescues, see:


08 August, 2011

White River - Hazleton Fire Department Hovercraft Pilot Training

Firefighters from the White River-Hazleton Volunteer Fire Department, Hazleton, Indiana USA have completed their Class III Hovercraft Pilot Training at Neoteric's headquarters.

Shown here prior to their initial launch on the Wabash River in the department's six-passenger Neoteric Rescue Hovertrek are, clockwise from left: Mark Ellis, Secretary/Treasurer; Mike Ellis, Fire Chief; Capt. Stan Capobianco, Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security, Ret. Terre Haute Fire Department; and Chris Fitzgerald, President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc. ...

The department operates a dive boat, but needed the capabilities of a hovercraft to better serve the Hazleton area. Below, Chris Fitzgerald demonstrates the patented reverse thrust buckets that give Neoteric hovercraft their exceptional maneuverability - a critical asset in rescue operations ...

A day of flight training begins as Mark Ellis and Chris Fitzgerald launch the craft while Chief Ellis and Capt. Capobianco listen to the first session via headsets ...

The White River-Hazleton Volunteer Fire Department protects the main fork of the White River in southern Indiana, which drains approximately 70% of the state. The department also provides mutual aid into the state of Illinois. 

12 July, 2011

Neoteric trains Freeway Technologies Co. Ltd., China

Engineers, mechanics and marketing personnel from Freeway Technologies Co. Ltd., Xiamen, China, have completed a week of intensive flight training and maintenance instruction at Neoteric's USA headquarters.

Freeway Technologies specializes in the design, manufacture and international trade of aviation and rescue products, and is recognized as the developer of a distinctive microlight aircraft. As Neoteric's dealer in China, Freeway is now the distributor of the distinctive Neoteric Hovertrek™. 

The video below, from China's version of YouTube, reviews Freeway's week at Neoteric ...

The Freeway Technologies graduates, from left: 
Yu Xie, Chuan He, Zhiqiang Wang, Wenming Qiu,
Chris Fitzgerald (Neoteric President), Shixian Liu and Arno Mohr

See Indiana news coverage of the Freeway Technologies visit to the USA:

27 June, 2011

U.S. Air Force hovercraft pilot training

Personnel from the Utah Test and Training Range at Hill Air Force Base have completed a week of specialized military pilot training at Neoteric. Among them was Capt. Cory Lingelbach, the UTTR Hovercraft Unit's Chief Trainer, who used one of the base's two Neoteric hovercraft to rescue a downed F-16 pilot who crashed on the Great Salt Lake mudflats, where no other rescue vehicle could travel.

The impact of the $30 million jet, hitting the ground at approximately 300 mph, shattered it into small burning fragments scattered across a vast muddy terrain. The Base's Neoteric craft not only rescued the pilot, who ejected before impact, they also were used in the search and recovery operations.

Below, one of the two Neoteric rescue hovercraft employed by UTTR awaits launch on the Wabash River in Terre Haute, Indiana for training operations. Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald (in vest) briefs Capt. Lingelbach (left) ...
Prior to their hovercraft purchase, when the Range used ATVs and trucks, emergency response times could reach more than three hours. With their Neoteric hovercraft, they can reach victims in minutes. 

Capt. Cory Lingelbach explains, “The conditions under which we operate are very rough. Before we had the hovercraft, we had to recover a downed plane and got six of our ATVs stuck in mudflats, blew engines and lost all the equipment. That was the trigger point to look for alternatives, and after research we found the Neoteric craft to be the most suitable.”

The UTTR training included night water rescue operations. Below, as shown through night vision goggles during a water rescue simulation, the Neoteric hovercraft's unique maneuverability allows immediate access to victims in water rescue operations, as well as operations on difficult terrain such as mud, ice and swiftwater ...
At the end of their week of training, with their hovercraft loaded into their trailer, the military firefighters prepare to return to Hill Air Force Base. From left: Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald presents graduate certificates to Lt. Derek Martinez; Capt. Cory Lingelbach; and Lt. Jonathon Jimenez ...

26 June, 2011

Neoteric Hovercraft in the news

Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Indiana USA
25 June 2011
Hovercraft training brings Utah rescue unit to Fairbanks Park
Local company trains agencies worldwide

TERRE HAUTE - Neither boat nor helicopter, it was something in between that danced about the Wabash River this past week. “We always have questions,” Chris Fitzgerald chuckled near the Fairbanks Park boat ramp as a driver pulled up to inspect his hovercraft.

Fitzgerald and U.S. Air Force personnel from the Utah Test and Training Range at Hill Air Force Base spent the week training on a new 4-seat unit the military will use there.As base firefighters and emergency responders, the group uses hovercraft such as Fitzgerald’s in water rescues. Among those training this week was Capt. Cory Lingelbach who, in May of 2006, used one to rescue a downed F-16 pilot who had crashed off the Great Salt Lake.
 Turn here: Chris Fitzgerald and Cory Lingelbach head upriver
for a training exercise Friday evening. Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis 

Fitzgerald’s company, Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., designs and manufactures light hovercraft for clientele in 50 nations. The products range from emergency rescue models to recreational. Lingelbach said Fitzgerald has been working with their department since before 2005.

“I came to Terre Haute in ’76,” Fitzgerald said Friday afternoon as the military firefighters hooked the vehicles to the back of trucks. “That’s when I started the business here.” Today the company sells about 60 units a year to groups ranging from American to Russian, African and Swedish. “The most obscure places,” Fitzgerald remarked.

In addition to manufacturing the hovercraft, Fitzgerald also trains personnel on maintenance and operations. The model being used this week was a four-seat hovercraft designed to carry about 800 pounds in weight, he said. If the hovercraft is used on ice, the load can be increased to about 1,200 pounds.

The vehicle rides on “a bubble of air” and tops out between 55 and 60 miles per hour, he added. “They almost turn ice rescues into a recreational activity,” he said, adding the vehicles are extremely safe on ice as well as fast water. Boats, on the other hand, have trouble on both.

But energy efficiency was one of the earliest reasons for their usage, he said, explaining the four-seat hovercraft trained on this week is about 30 percent more efficient than an airboat. The German-made Hirth engine inside it runs on gasoline, and is comparable to the engine in an ultralight aircraft. “Diesel engines tend to be too heavy,” he explained.

The new model being taken back to Utah contains a 100-horsepower engine compared to its predecessor, which had 65 horsepower, but the craft itself is slightly smaller. Lingelbach said the difference in size and horsepower will allow the department to do at half-speed what it used to do at full throttle.

Thursday, the group stayed out until 11:30 p.m. simulating night water rescues and victim retrieval. They also cruised up the river to Clinton to let personnel get used to the feel. 

Lt. Jonathan Jimenez and Lt. Derek Martinez said this exercise in Terre Haute was their first chance to get the craft in the water. Both men returned from deployments to Iraq in 2009, and they knew the story of Lingelbach and the F-16 rescue.

“Good experience. Good training,” Martinez said. “I learned a lot.”

15 June, 2011

New superboat to speed up river rescue

The Roswell Fire Department's hovercraft attracted news coverage when it served in a river rescue operation within days of its purchase. Believed to be the first rescue hovercraft in the state of Georgia, a Homeland Security Grant covered 98% of the hovercraft's cost ...

03 June, 2011

Roswell, Georgia buys rescue hovercraft with Homeland Security Grant

Once first responders experience the extraordinary capabilities of a Neoteric hovercraft, no other water or ice rescue vehicle will do - just ask the Roswell, Georgia Fire Department.

In March, Neoteric Training Pilot Steve Stafford demonstrated a Neoteric rescue hovercraft to Roswell officials. Fire Chief Ricky Spencer says, “At first I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Then when I saw what the Neoteric craft can do, I said, how soon can I get one? And after we saw Neoteric's reverse thrust, all other hovercraft were out of the question.”

Jeremy Adams of Roswell Fire Department's Logistics Division first suggested a Neoteric craft to the department. "We considered various rescue boats as well as airboats. But airboats are just not as maneuverable as hovercraft."

According to Chief Spencer, "There are 13 miles of the Chattahoochee River in Roswell, with lots of shallow areas. Rescue boats just didn't meet our needs."

Roswell's hovercraft cost the city only $9,995.33, thanks to a Homeland Security Grant it received. "It's a purchase well worth it," says Chief Spencer, "since the department will now have no issues navigating the river during rescue operations."

On June 1, Spencer and Adams traveled to Neoteric's headquarters to undergo pilot training in their new 6-passenger rescue HoverTrek ...
Left to right: Neoteric Training Pilot Steve Stafford; Roswell Fire Chief Ricky Spencer;
 Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald; Roswell Logistics Officer Jeremy Adams.

In the video below, Neoteric Training Pilot Steve Stafford and Chief Spencer launch the Roswell craft on the swollen Wabash River in Terre Haute, Indiana for an afternoon of pilot training:

Read media coverage of the Roswell Fire Department hovercraft

20 May, 2011

Only seven Neova 4 hovercraft in the world ...

... Who will own this one?
This classic Neova 4, already registered and located in
Melbourne, Australia, is currently for sale.

Four decades ago, the founding of the world’s original light hovercraft manufacturer began in Australia, when Neoteric Engineering Affiliates Pty. Ltd., the parent company of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., built their first hovercraft. This prototype was intended not for manufacture, but for the sale of hovercraft blueprints to homebuilders.

The brainstorm of engineers Chris Fitzgerald and Rob Wilson, and designer David Atkins, the Neova 1 created staggering world interest when it was introduced at a press demonstration in July 1974 on the Yarra River in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. All were anticipating a promising future for this curious new flying machine.

The Neova immediately gained major world interest
and was soon featured in numerous publications.  

Next, the company lengthened the one-person Neova 1 by two feet to create the Neova 2, a 2-passenger side-by-side seater using the same 46hp air-cooled, flat 4 engine. To expand the sale of plans, the craft was again lengthened to create the 4-passenger Neova 4, with a flat 4 liquid-cooled Subaru engine.
With the hope of selling their hovercraft plans to the burgeoning recreational market in the United States, the engineering team made what was intended to be a temporary move to the USA in 1975. Neoteric used the Neova 4 to evaluate several engineering and design concepts, including the marriage of two separate skirt systems – a segmented skirt on the outside, a jupe skirt on the inside – and to determine if the craft had any market potential for manufacture.

They discovered that there was a virgin market for the manufacture of hovercraft, but the Neova was better suited to home building than to manufacturing in a factory, so Neoteric refocused its efforts onto other models, such as today’s HoverTrek. Chris Fitzgerald remained in the USA as President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc. and Rob Wilson returned to Australia to serve as President of the company’s Australian division, Neoteric Engineering Affiliates, Ptd. Ltd.

And the rest is history … well, except for this rare piece of hovercraft history whose owner is yet to be determined. This original Neova 4 hovercraft, personally built by Rob Wilson using top quality materials, is for sale. Already registered and located in Melbourne, this is one of only six or seven Neova 4 hovercraft in the world, and it is equipped with Neoteric’s patented reverse thrust system. With seating for four, it is powered by an 1800cc EA82 Subaru overhead cam engine, which produces 84hp at 5.500 rpm, and is ready for salt water operation. The craft has 39 hours “on cushion” hovering and needs only a new battery, a sump pan and some minor skirt repair. 

This handyman’s and hovercraft historian’s dream is only $10,000, and that includes a heavy duty, purpose built hover on/hover off trailer. For more information, email Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

02 April, 2011

The Neoteric Military LCAC Training Hovercraft

The Neoteric Military HoverTrek™ LCAC Trainer was recently demonstrated in both the United States and in South Korea. This specialty military hovercraft is engineered as a training apparatus for LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion) pilots and navigators.

Here, the Trainer was launched in Terre Haute, Indiana for a demonstration. A pilot instructor in the starboard front seat and a hovercraft radar navigation instructor in the rear seat instruct and evaluate their respective students in the port seats ...

And here, in South Korea, the Trainer was introduced to U.S. and South Korean Generals during a joint military exercise. The Neoteric craft was also used to demonstrate the concept and feasibility for dragging plastic fuel pipeline over tidal mudflats …

In the U.S., Navy and Marine LCAC pilots and navigators are currently trained using simulators, followed by final training in actual LCACs. In contrast, military aircraft pilots are first trained in light aircraft and simulators, then in heavy aircraft. Applying this standard protocol for aircraft pilot training to LCAC training would significantly reduce training costs and improve training quality. Light hovercraft such as the Neoteric Military HoverTrek™ LCAC Trainer have an extremely low hourly operating cost as compared to that of heavy Hovercraft like the LCAC. The basic operational principles, however, are identical for both.

In addition to offering a vastly superior cost/benefit ratio for the U.S. Department of Defense than the training programs currently in use, the Neoteric Military HoverTrek™ LCAC Trainer can serve as an inexpensive means of vetting or qualifying future LCAC pilots and navigators. And, since Neoteric craft capture public attention, such a program will serve as a public relations and marketing tool to boost the success of military recruiting efforts.

See more photos at:

27 March, 2011

Hovercraft Pilot Training: Fire District 19, Silvana, Washington USA

Emergency responders from Fire District 19 in Silvana, Washington, spent a cold March weekend at Neoteric Hovercraft to complete the Neoteric Hovercraft Pilot Training Program.

Upon their arrival at the Wabash River training site on Saturday, instructor Chris Fitzgerald illustrates to Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Swearengin (left) and firefighter/EMT Trent Nunemaker (right), the ease of unloading the Neoteric training HoverTrek from its trailer ...
After a thorough review of the HoverTrek's operational systems and a quick skirt repair, Fitzgerald and Swearengin launch the hovercraft in below-freezing air temperature on the swift flowing river ... 
After Swearengin (left) and Nunemaker (right) received classroom instruction and extensive flight training on both land and water, they receive their Class III Hovercraft Pilot Certificates from Fitzgerald ...
Swearengin and Nunemaker both serve on the Stillagaumish Water Rescue Team, an interagency cooperative effort that includes their Fire District 19 in Silvana along with Districts 21 in Arlington Heights, 24 in Darrington and 25 in Oso. The Stillaguamish Water Rescue Team has a number of nationally certified water rescue technicians, two hovercraft, two inflatable craft, and thousands of dollars in water rescue equipment to respond to calls for help on the regional river systems and lakes.

Neoteric Hovercraft has trained and certified rescue, recreational, commercial and military hovercraft pilots from across the world for more than 30 years. Neoteric’s Hovercraft Pilot Training Program is the most comprehensive light hovercraft pilot training course available.

24 February, 2011

Hovercraft critical in mud & ice rescue operations

Last weekend, on two separate continents, on two vastly different types of terrain, two rescue agencies exhibited how Neoteric hovercraft can be critical equipment for first responders.

First, in Sweden, at least 10 people fell through the ice last weekend on V├Ąttern, Sweden’s second-largest lake, but no serious injuries were incurred, thanks to the Swedish Sea Rescue Society’s two Neoteric HoverTrek Rescue hovercraft … 

Where other rescue vehicles can only be launched on solid ice 5+ inches thick, hovercraft operate safely on thin or broken ice, making them a vital asset in ice rescue operations.

At the same time, nearly 4,000 miles away, another Neoteric hovercraft was used to rescue six people from a pontoon boat stranded in mud on a New Jersey USA waterway. The boat's owners were taking it out for the first time when it got stuck on a mudflat. Strong winds had blown the tide out to 2 feet below normal low tide and the boat got caught in about 30 feet of mud.

Winds prevented the use of a helicopter in this situation and boats, of course, will not work in mud rescue operations. The Neoteric HoverTrek operated by the Scullville Volunteer Fire Company was the only vehicle able to reach the New Jersey victims …

The HoverTrek is easily launched in minutes on any ice, mud or water conditions, and operates 9 inches above the surface. Not only does this improve response time, it keeps rescuers safely above the danger and allows access to areas that can’t be reached by boat, snowmobile, or even helicopter. Also, hovercraft are less expensive and less dangerous to operate than are helicopters.

With its unique ability to brake, back up and hover in place - crucial in rescue operations - it’s reassuring to know the Neoteric HoverTrek is increasingly employed by rescue agencies across the globe.

Read the news coverage: 

18 January, 2011

The John Talmage Family: Neoteric's First Customers

Only rarely is a corporation that has existed for decades able to credit its origin to a specific individual or, in this case, a family. We would like to share the story of how the Talmage potato-farming family of Long Island, New York, helped launch Neoteric Hovercraft in the USA.

In the mid-1960s John Talmage, a farmer and a licensed pilot, along with his sons Henry and Bill, ages 5 and 9, built their own version of a hovercraft from photographs he had seen in Popular Mechanics magazine. Today, the original Talmage craft hangs from the rafters of the aircraft hangar on their Riverhead Farm on Long Island …
What followed is a true example of “six degrees of separation”. At the time he built his hovercraft, John’s sister Mary Ellen lived in Melbourne, Australia. Her landlord was Derrick Ravenscroft, a British draftsman at The Aeronautical Research Laboratories, where Neoteric’s now-President Chris Fitzgerald was employed. Mary Ellen showed Ravenscroft photos of “the crazy thing my brother and his sons built.” Ravenscroft then showed the photos to Fitzgerald.

In 1970, while on a world hovercraft research tour sponsored by a Rotary International Foundation award, Chris Fitzgerald visited the Talmages on Long Island and a lifelong friendship was begun.

When Fitzgerald moved to the USA in 1975 and founded Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., John Talmage financed the first hovercraft manufactured by the company: the original Neova 2, constructed of wood and fiberglass. Here, the Neova 2 is parked outside the Talmage hangar at their Riverhead Farm just after its arrival from Neoteric in Terre Haute, Indiana ...
This first hovercraft was used to develop the Neova 2 hovercraft kit and to garner publicity. John Talmage did not come to Indiana to collect his hovercraft until 1978. Back on Long Island, Popular Mechanics published a feature story of several pages about the Neova 2, which immediately kicked off sales of Neova 2 kits for Neoteric. And, as they say, the rest is history.

The Talmages visit Neoteric

Neoteric was honored in 2010 by a visit from John Talmage and his wife Carol. Here, Chris Fitzgerald looks on while John and Carol describe their history with Neoteric to factory employees …

At the end of the day touring the Neoteric factory, the Talmages were treated to a cruise on the Wabash River, with Fitzgerald piloting the company's training hovercraft …
It was a pleasure for everyone at Neoteric to meet the legendary Talmages. We would like to express our gratitude for their vision and confidence during our early days that has played such a significant role in moving Neoteric forward through the years.