20 September, 2010

Students from Seoul National University of Technology, South Korea, tour Neoteric Hovercraft

In 1983, Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald was named the very first Entrepreneur in Residence at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the leading undergraduate engineering college in the United States. A solid relationship has flourished between the company and the school since then, with many Rose-Hulman students finding employment, internships and involvement in special engineering projects at Neoteric.

This summer, 15 engineering students from Seoul National University of Technology, South Korea, were hosted by Neoteric for an introduction to hovercraft and a tour of our manufacturing facilities. The students were attending a month-long educational experience in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) at Rose-Hulman.

In this video, Fitzgerald discusses the concept of 'ground effect' and explains to the students why helicopters are 33 times more expensive than hovercraft ...

Here, Fitzgerald treats Seoul student Somi Shin to a  ride on a hovering chair ...

Dr. Michael McInerney, professor of physics at Rose-Hulman, explains that he arranged the tour because, "I wanted the students to see an American factory. I also wanted them to see Neoteric's hovercraft, which are a unique vehicle." The students were particularly intrigued by Neoteric's unique reverse thrust buckets that give the Hovertrek the ability to brake and back up ...

Coincidentally, on the day the Seoul students toured Neoteric, we were shipping a newly-manufactured 4-passenger rescue hovercraft by air freight to a fire department in South Korea ...

18 September, 2010

Hovercraft Pilot Training: Central Fraser Valley Search & Rescue Society

First responders Gerry Haak (left) and Scot Sinclaire (center) from the Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society, Abbotsford, BC, Canada, have completed basic and advanced hovercraft pilot training courses at Neoteric Hovercraft with instructor Chris Fitzgerald (right).

Haak completed the basic Class III Hovercraft Pilot Training course; Sinclaire completed Advanced Hovercraft Pilot Training with an emphasis on night rescue operations. Steve Stafford of Project H.E.R.O. participated in the training, providing a standby rescue hovercraft as well as night vision binoculars and infrared cameras. Project H.E.R.O. is a non-profit group of first responders who own Neoteric Hovercraft and donate their search and rescue services in times of disaster.

Below, Scot Sinclaire attends to the drowning victim during night training exercises. Project H.E.R.O. member Nick Pridemore, a U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran from Bloomington, Indiana, played the role of the victim. Pridemore was repeatedly rescued from swift water and transported back to land in the hovercraft. Portraying a drowning victim who is close to exhaustion and unable to provide any assistance, Pridemore was lifted into the hovercraft each time by Haak while Sinclaire piloted the craft. Night vision binoculars were used to take photos in total darkness.

Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society is an all-volunteer organization who has owned a Neoteric Rescue Hovertrek™ for two years. Sinclaire explains the decision to purchase a Neoteric craft: "I'd researched hovercraft for 10 years. A lot of manufacturers are fly-by-nights, they come and go, but you need a company who will be there for you. A big seller was Neoteric's reversing capabilities - that's what Chris' hovercraft are known for. And it's great; with brakes you're able to control that hovercraft in an uncontrollable environment."

Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue Society works with other rescue teams in their area, providing assistance on mutual aid calls. The Fraser Valley is prone to inland flooding into farmlands and residential areas, primarily from the Fraser River. The river systems in the area are subject to rapid change due to glacial runoff and snow melts from the mountains.

The team owns a jet boat, but Sinclaire says, "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 ... Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft and I think Chris Fitzgerald perfected it. The Hovertrek™ is a great little machine!"

Scot Sinclaire (left) and Gerry Haak in the Neoteric Hovercraft factory.

16 September, 2010

Hovercraft Pilot Training: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, Hammond, Louisiana

Chief Deputy Dennis Pevey along with Captains Stuart Murphy and Robert Bel, emergency responders from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office in Hammond, Louisiana, spent two days at Neoteric Hovercraft to complete Neoteric's Class III Hovercraft Pilot Training Course. The Parish purchased a Neoteric partially-assembled rescue hovercraft kit with a Homeland Security grant and the Sheriff's Office has nearly completed final assembly of the craft.

Upon arrival at the Wabash River training site, instructor Chris Fitzgerald (third from left) assists Captain Murphy (second from left) in rolling the hovercraft from its trailer, while Captain Bel (left) and Chief Pevey (right) observe:

Fitzgerald and Bel fuel the hovercraft in preparation for launching on the Wabash River ... while a gaggle of unsuspecting Canada geese feed on the river bank:

Fitzgerald reviews the Hovertrek's operational systems before turning the controls over to Chief Pevey for his practice session on the river:

And now, with Pevey at the controls in this video, the hovercraft glides gracefully through practice maneuvers ... while the Canada geese peacefully observe, which testifies to the fact that the Neoteric craft is the quietest light hovercraft on the market!

There are numerous bodies of water in Tangipahoa Parish, including the heavy-current Tangipahoa and Tickfaw Rivers as well as Lakes Ponchartrain and Maurepas, requiring the Sheriff's Office to be well-equipped for rescue operations and towing stranded boaters and fishermen. The Office has at least 8 water rescue vehicles, among them flatboats and an airboat, but the unusual maneuverability of their Neoteric hovercraft will open areas to the first responders that other vehicles can't reach and will save valuable time in reaching victims.