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 ...

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