22 July, 2019

SNEAK PEAK: Neoteric episode of “Aaron Needs a Job” with Aaron Kaufman

As we posted earlier, Neoteric Hovercraft will be featured in an upcoming episode of Discovery Channel’s Aaron Needs a Job, starring the famous TV personality Aaron Kaufman from Fast ‘N’ Loud. In his all-new docuseries, Aaron explores mechanical worlds he’s never before seen or experienced as he takes you across the country to explore motor-driven industries.

Now, let’s give you a sneak peak of the Neoteric episode with some behind-the-scenes photos of the filming that took place at Neoteric’s headquarters in Terre Haute, Indiana …

You can see Aaron’s excitement about being at Neoteric in this photo with Steve Stafford, Flight Instructor and founder of Project H.E.R.O. (Hovercraft Emergency Response Operations) …

Aaron says his interest in hovercraft began as a child. “When I was a little kid I was always into trouble. I had this old dog named Ugly and a wagon, and I found some helicopter plans in Popular Mechanics so me and Ugly went sniffing around the neighborhood digging up what I deemed to be future helicopter parts. But they didn’t materialize into helicopter parts - because they weren’t helicopter parts. So I set my sights on hovercraft, and went around the neighborhood collecting hovercraft parts. As you can imagine, I never hovered or crafted. So it’s really neat to be standing now in a hovercraft facility!”

His excitement continued as company President Chris Fitzgerald showed Aaron how the Neoteric hovercraft’s patented reverse thrust buckets work …

As he learned how to build a Neoteric hovercraft, Aaron observed, “This isn’t mass production – these hovercraft are made specifically for each customer. I’m such a big fan of this type of production, where you’ve got a small number of employees putting their heart into whatever they do. And it’s a thing I can relate to, in my world of manufacturing; we have a small team and we love what we do and we keep things manageable.” 

In addition to learning and participating in Neoteric’s manufacturing procedures, Aaron also had the chance to operate a “hovering billiard ball”, one of 15 created for the U.S. comedian Gallagher – although Gallagher’s were built with a billiard ball top, not attached on this model …

After his time in the factory, Aaron spent the rest of the day learning to pilot a hovercraft on the Wabash River with President Chris Fitzgerald. Here, he readies for his first-ever hovercraft flight …

You can see more photos at the gallery link below. And check in with us often here and on Facebook – we’ll have lots more photos and videos of the filming for you before and after the Discovery Channel 10:00 p.m. Monday, September 9 air date of the Aaron Needs a Job episode featuring Neoteric. 

In the meantime, you might want to watch the show’s premiere episode, “What’s Old is New”, where Aaron tests a restored Sherman tank and fires the cannon, braves the dangers of coal mining and works on a steam train that has run for 150 years.

And don’t miss tonight’s episode, “Salvaging Speed”, where he flies an F-18 fighter jet, shreds old vehicles and takes on the world of tires at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.

08 July, 2019

Neoteric featured in new Discovery Channel series

Wildly popular Fast ‘N’ Loud star Aaron Kaufman is stepping out of his comfort zone in a big way as he dives headfirst into mechanical worlds he's never experienced before … including the world of Neoteric Hovercraft! 

In a new Discovery Channel series, Aaron Needs a Job, Kaufman takes you on a wild ride around the country as he explores exciting motor-driven industries. He says, “I quit my job and walked away from Fast 'N’ Loud to pursue my passion for racing…and it nearly broke the bank…I am exploring the country in search of incredible places, industry and people that keep America running.”

Aaron and his film crew are at Neoteric this week to film an episode of the new series featuring Aaron building and flying a hovercraft with Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald.

The producer, Lionsgate’s Pilgrim Media Group, says, “We chose Neoteric because we liked Chris' history with hovercraft and that he is one of the pioneers in hovercraft manufacturing. We liked that Chris also trains people to operate hovercraft as we wanted Aaron to have that experience. And, we liked the innovations that Neoteric has made to hovercraft with the reverse thrust system, etc.”

Neoteric is in good company! The series also includes visits to NASA, a Colorado coal mine, Nevada firefighters, the underbelly of the Las Vegas service industry, and much more.

Neoteric is honored to appear in this series and to be considered one of the "incredible places, industry and people that keep America running."

Stay tuned! In the next few days we’ll be posting photos and videos of the filming and more.

Aaron Needs A Job premieres JULY 15 at 10 PM on Discovery Channel.

The episode featuring Neoteric is tentatively scheduled to air SEPTEMBER 9.

27 June, 2019

Fire department’s new hovercraft used for water rescues

"Its versatility is what made the hovercraft a game-changer for water rescues, Chief McElfresh said. It can run over mud, dry land, the road, on water and swift water.

Seymour Tribune
June 26, 2019
by Jordan Richart

The latest floodwater rescue tool a fire department in central Jackson County has added to its arsenal of response vehicles has drawn plenty of curiosity from the public.

“You almost have to wait until late at night to go to the gas station,” Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Travis McElfresh joked. “Everywhere you go, people like to ask questions about it and see it up close.”

That mysterious, bizarre-looking craft is the department’s new Neoteric Hovercraft it purchased June 15.

During a recent discussion about the hovercraft outside the department, the vehicle drew a few passersby who wanted photos or more information about it.

A demonstration of the hovercraft on County Road 25E in Brownstown near floodwaters from the East Fork White River also drew a small audience who were eager to see it operate.
Brownstown Assistant Fire Chief Mitch Noelker demonstrates the use of the department's new hovercraft
in floodwaters off County Road 25E.
The oval-shaped craft is worth seeing, as the bottom is made up of 66 black fabric bags connected by heavy-duty zip ties and makes plenty of noise as it gears up. It is maneuvered by handlebars like a motorcycle and can reach a top speed of 70 miles per hour, but it is not recommended to go that fast. McElfresh said the craft can top out at 45 miles per hour on the water and 65 miles per hour on the ice.

The Neoteric Hovercraft is manufactured in Terre Haute and differs from boats and other hovercrafts in that it can go in reverse.

Hovercraft utilize one or more fans or propellers to create lift and thrust. Lift air is captured in a flexible fabric skirt, causing the craft to hover above the surface. Thrust air is directed backward to move the craft forward.

On June 15, McElfresh and Assistant Fire Chief Mitch Noelker received training on the Wabash River and returned late that night. Three hours later, the hovercraft was dispatched to its first rescue.

Since then, the department has used the four-seated craft to conduct 11 rescues involving 14 people, McElfresh said.
Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Travis McElfresh drives the department's new hovercraft during a rescue of a man June 19. Volunteer firefighter Clayton Keithley is pictured in the back of the craft.
Those numbers earned them recognition from Neoteric in a post on the company’s blog.
In Neoteric’s more than half a century in business, never has a fire department gone immediately from hovercraft flight training to performing a series of successful high-risk floodwater rescues,” the company wrote in its post.

The department had been considering purchasing a water rescue craft in the last year because of the number of water rescues in the area, McElfresh said. Between Jan. 1 and June 18, Jackson County had 55 calls for water rescues with nearly a third of them since June 1. There also was a high number reported during a recent span when the county received 8.24 inches of rain in seven days.

When a group from the department attended the fire convention show in April, they found the Neoteric, which was demonstrated for them on floodwaters afterward.

After discussions with the fire board, which controls the department’s budget, the department moved forward with the $40,000 purchase. McElfresh said the department kept in mind what other resources were available throughout the county, which is why they settled on a hovercraft.

The sheriff’s department has a johnboat, conservation has an airboat, so we decided to get a hovercraft,” he said. “All three of them can do different things. The johnboat can go places the airboat can’t. This can go where it can’t, vice versa. We didn’t want to double up on resources in the county.

Its versatility is what made the hovercraft a game-changer for water rescues, McElfresh said. It can run over mud, dry land, the road, on water and swift water,” he said.

When flying over land, there’s a 9-inch clearance. “If you come over a 9-inch log laying in a field, you just cruise over it like it wasn’t even there,” McElfresh said.

The craft also has the capability to go in reverse, which is not an option with an airboat. It also can turn 180 and 360 degrees. “When you’re pulling up to a vehicle, it makes it pretty easy,” McElfresh said.

During a recent rescue, a man was walking through floodwaters. McElfresh said the man was about 4 feet away from walking through swift-moving water. First responders told the man to stay put, and McElfresh was able to work the craft to the side until they could safely rescue him. We were able to get right up against him and pull him up,” he said.

The greatest benefit might be its role in assisting with rescues on ice. The craft will allow crews to make a rescue without putting weight on the ice. “You’re hovering on air and move on the ice without busting it up,” McElfresh said.
The Brownstown Fire Department’s new hovercraft is pictured outside the department.
So far, McElfresh and Noelker have received training to operate the hovercraft. McElfresh said once they get more hours behind the bars and get more comfortable, four others at the department will receive training.

The group also joined Project H.E.R.O., which stands for Hovercraft Emergency Response Operations, a nonprofit that serves during natural disasters. The department will receive additional training through that organization.

We’ll do joint training on the Wabash River,” McElfresh said.


18 June, 2019

Brownstown Fire Department performs record-setting hovercraft flood rescues

Have you ever questioned the importance of hovercraft flight training? If so, you need to read this amazing story of Indiana’s Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department’s recent flood rescues.

In Neoteric’s more than half a century in business, never has a fire department gone immediately from hovercraft flight training to performing a series of successful high-risk floodwater rescues. In fact, our training protocol strongly recommends that each pilot, after training, has a minimum of 5 hours of practice flying their hovercraft before carrying passengers. But when lives are at risk, dedicated first responders sometimes have to break protocol …

Brownstown Fire Department at first considered buying an airboat for their water rescue operations. Then they saw a Neoteric rescue hovercraft in action at FDIC International (Fire Department Instructors Conference) and immediately recognized the advantages of a hovercraft with reverse thrust over an airboat.

Last Saturday, Brownstown Fire Chief Travis McElfrish and three of his first responders came to Neoteric to pick up their new hovercraft and undergo flight training. Here, Chief McElfresh (4th from left) and his crew receive their pilot certifications from Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald (3rd from left) and Flight Instructor Steve Stafford (5th from left)    
Here’s what happened next, in Chief McElfresh’s own words …

“On June 15th our Fire Department traveled to Neoteric Hovercraft in Terre Haute to pick up our new hovercraft. We spent the day on the Wabash River training to operate our new hovercraft.

“We arrived back at the station around 11:45 that night. Little did we know that only 3 hours later we would be launching our hovercraft on its first rescue, where we were able to successfully rescue a young man stranded in floodwaters caused by the nearly 7 inches of rain we had received in 2 days … while we were still receiving heavy downpours.

“Another call came out at noon on the 16th. We were en route to check a vehicle that was totally submerged in floodwaters. But we were diverted from this call to rescue an elderly gentleman who had become stranded while trying to travel through a flooded rural road. After completing this call we checked the vehicle totally submerged and found it to be unoccupied.

“At 5:30 p.m. we were dispatched again to rescue a woman who attempted to drive through floodwaters and became stranded in her minivan, with water deep enough to reach the seats in the vehicle.

“We successfully made all rescues with no incident and no injuries - thanks to the top notch hovercraft from Neoteric and the outstanding training we received from Steven Stafford and Chris, the owner of Neoteric.”

Here are a couple of photos of Brownstown’s hovercraft in action during their rescues …

We at Neoteric congratulate Chief McElfresh and Brownstown Fire Department’s first responders for their courage, determination and their prompt response in dire circumstances … and for being such fast learners in their flight training course!


09 June, 2019

"Perilous rescue shows need for hovercraft, firefighters say"

The article below from the Bellevue Leader in Nebraska is worth attention from fire departments everywhere.

The city of Bellevue and surrounding areas have dealt with extreme flooding multiple times in the last decade. And those areas are not alone. The fastest growing and most costly natural disaster is devastating floods. The National Weather Service, which has kept records for 124 years, reports that there has never been a wetter 12 months than the period that recently ended. And every reporting agency predicts, “The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events are projected to continue to increase over the 21st century."

The Bellevue article shows that 'where there's a will, there's a way' and may help your department prepare for faster, safer and more frequent flood, ice and water rescues. And, with a hovercraft, you'll never have to worry about damage to propellers or to traditional rescue boats. As our customers report ... 

 "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.Central Fraser Valley Search & Rescue Society, Canada

It’s awesome being able to operate in deep and shallow flood water without having to worry about destroying a motor or a boat.” Council Bluffs Fire Department, Iowa

“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. It can save people under the most difficult conditions that prevent the use of a helicopter.” WOPR, Poland 

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 the water. A hovercraft is the answer to a faster rescue – a safer rescue.” Mansfield Fire Department, Texas

Perilous rescue shows need for hovercraft, firefighters say

By Eugene Curtin Associate Editor
Mar 27, 2019

“The craft the Bellevue Fire Department hopes to buy is a six-passenger Hovertrek Rescue Deluxe offered by Neoteric Hovercraft of Terre Haute, Indiana.”

The sight of firefighters trying to rescue a flood-stranded resident in a paddle boat was just too much for members of the Bellevue Fire Department.

We were contacted,” said Bonnie Knutson, president of the nonprofit Bellevue Public Safety Foundation. “We sent it out to the board and the board said, ‘Yep, let’s do it.’” She said the board agreed to help raise the money to purchase and fully equip a hovercraft that can be used to rescue persons stranded in floods or icy rivers and streams.
The Bellevue Fire Department hopes to buy a six-person hovercraft similar to the one pictured above, which belongs to the Council Bluffs Fire Department and was on display March 20 at Bellevue’s District 1 fire station.
Photo by Eugene Curtin

The foundation was contacted after two firefighters paddled to the rescue of an 85-year-old man in the Sands Trailer Park south of LaPlatte.

Firefighter George Lee, one of the two firefighters, said they responded to a 911 call from a man who ignored orders to evacuate and decided to ride the flood out. When they arrived on the scene, Lee said, a civilian let them borrow a paddle boat and oars, and out they paddled. Lee said the rescue took about 25 minutes.

Bellevue Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Gibilisco, who is also a board member of the Bellevue Public Safety Foundation, said during a March 20 press conference at the District 1 fire station that firefighters should not have to risk their lives in such flimsy equipment.

The only thing they had was a private person’s paddle boat and a couple of oars,” Gibilisco said. He said the department’s flat-bottomed boats are suitable for river rescues where the water is deep and outboard engines can function without getting stuck in a river bed, but they cannot be deployed in the shallow waters of a typical flood.

Right now we don’t have a feasible means to do that,” he said. “With those hovercraft we believe that we will.” Gibilisco said the hovercraft will be made available for water rescue missions around the region and would not be restricted to Bellevue.

Justin James, Chief of the Council Bluffs Fire Department, traveled to Bellevue with his department’s hovercraft in tow. The hovercraft is very similar to the one Bellevue hopes to purchase.

James said Council Bluffs bought its hovercraft some years ago after losing a resident during an ice rescue where hovercraft response might have made a difference.

The craft the Bellevue Fire Department hopes to buy is a six-passenger Hovertrek Rescue Deluxe offered by Neoteric Hovercraft of Terre Haute, Indiana.

Knutson said the Bellevue Public Safety Foundation has kicked off the campaign with a $5,000 donation and will donate the proceeds of Friday’s Supper fundraiser to be held 5 to 8 p.m. at the Bellevue Firefighters Hall, 2108 Franklin St.


Read what your fellow first responders say about


30 May, 2019

#ThrowbackThursday: Neoteric has come a long way since the 1960s

For #TBT, these excerpts from a 1966 Australian newspaper article give you a glimpse of the origin of Neoteric Hovercraft …

Successful Hovercraft Trials on Lake Colac

Two days of hovercraft trials climaxed yesterday when a blue and yellow experimental hovercraft skimmed from a paddock at Cororooke across Lake Colac and up the shore near Ross’ Point.

Aeronautical research technician Chris Fitzgerald swings the propeller of the hovercraft for a trail run
in Mr. Ted Boylan’s paddock at Cororooke. In the cockpit is pilot Rob Wilson. 
More than 20 carloads of people went to the lake yesterday afternoon to watch the craft … it rose gently on a cushion of air and with the slipstream from its aircraft propeller fanning the onlookers, it skimmed smoothly across the grass – for about 100 yards.

Then it came to a sudden halt “aground” in a slight depression in the paddock. It took four men on the end of a rope to get it moving again. “Far too rough,” muttered the leader of the team, 22-year-old Chris Fitzgerald. We’ll keep getting stuck.”

But he and his assistants were not out to turn on a display. The purpose of their visit to Colac was to carry out final trials with the one-man, 16-foot hovercraft to iron out technical problems before going ahead with building a larger hovercraft capable of carrying four people and skimming two feet off the ground. Their present hovercraft has a clearance of little more than 4 inches.

Then the hovercraft struck a heap of rocks in the paddock, tearing the fiberglass curtains which retain the air under it and damaging the bow. This affected the performance of the craft but the team decided to go ahead with runs over the lake … finally the hovercraft glided in a wide arc across the smooth water and up onto the shore. Cameramen and photographers recorded the run.

The idea of building the hovercraft originated in the minds of a group of former ATC cadets who were studying at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Melbourne University four years ago. They joined forces under the name of “Australian Air Cushion Vehicles Development”, which they hope to register soon as a company.

The original group of about 20 University students has dwindled to three, but they are keen to push ahead and have already prepared plans for a larger 100 hp hovercraft. They are Chris Fitzgerald, a technical assistant at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories; Rob Wilson, 21, an automotive technician with the Gas and Fuel Corporation; and Ron Davies, a Melbourne fireman.

Check out today’s Neoteric Hovercraft …

22 May, 2019

Considering a hovercraft? Fly before you buy!

Whether you’re interested in a rescue, recreational, commercial or military hovercraft, Neoteric gives you the perfect way to find out if a hovercraft is right for you before you buy one: Take a Test Flight or Flight Training & Maintenance Course. Check out this gallery of photos & comments from people who’ve done just that …

Mark Sidell, Washington USA: Recreational hovercraft
Marc’s Training Course left him even more interested in owning a recreational hovercraft.  It was the best day, and very eye opening. And I loved the safety of being trained by someone so experienced and qualified. The Neoteric craft is versatile and you can go just about anyplace – like you can fly up a steep boat ramp. I think a hovercraft gives you a lot of independence and freedom to do things you wouldn’t dare do otherwise.”

Walt Sitz, Oregon USA: Rescue hovercraft
Walt belongs to Crisis Response International, a non-profit organization that provides rescue and relief support to humanitarian missions worldwide. Before he bought his craft, he took Neoteric’s Training Course. He said, “Hovercraft intrigued me because boats can’t get everywhereI've been watching hovercraft for quite awhile and Neoteric kept coming up as the best one. Your reverse thrust system – you need to have that kind of controlThat’s what brought us here – and we get to try it out before we buy … Training should be the first step in any vehicle. You don’t just jump in a plane and say, ‘I think I can figure it out.’”

David Olson, Minnesota USA: Commercial hovercraft
David's company, D & T Landscaping, Inc., wanted to see if a hovercraft could help his company manage environmental hazards such as blowing dust, at a major taconite mining region in Minnesota. After his Training Course, he bought two custom hovercraft designed to carry 100 gallons of dust suppression agent and a spraying system. He said, “Even if we can cover 80% of what’s not being covered today, that’s a significant improvement. It’s pretty exhilarating. It’s fun! I could see myself personally wanting one. And it’s much more stable than I anticipated.”

Alberto Torruella, Puerto Rico: Recreational & Commercial hovercraft
Alberto, in his 80s, lives on a beach, and also owns a hotel and golf course. He wanted a hovercraft to fly him over the beach and sea, but he wanted it to be a Neoteric hovercraft golf cart so he could attract business to his hotel. Before he bought his HoverGolf Cart, he took a Training Course “to see how it works out, whether I can handle it … “It was very enjoyable – and different. I used to drive motorcycles so I’m used to speed and crazy things – but not this crazy! I mean, you’re going 30 mph and all of a sudden you can spin and go backwards! Being able to fly backwards, etc. – it adds to the fun!

Council Bluffs Fire Department, Iowa USA: Rescue hovercraft
When Council Bluffs Fire Department decided to purchase a Neoteric rescue hovercraft, their first responders immediately completed a Training Course, which included flood rescue techniques. After their training, Fire Chief Justin James reported, “It was awesome being able to operate in deep and shallow flood water without having to worry about destroying a motor or a boatWe also got to train rescuing victims that may be stranded in trees or roofs of homes due to rising waters. We simply used the craft to hover into and hold position near these real obstacles.”

Cory Lingelbach, Utah USA: Military hovercraft
Cory is a U.S. Air Force Firefighter at Hill Air Force Base. Soon after his Training Course and the purchase of two hovercraft, an Air Force F-16 jet crashed on nearby mudflats at 300 mph. The pilot, who safely ejected before the impact, was rescued via hovercraft. Cory reported, "We launched from land then hit the water then land, water, and land again. This just goes to show you the hovercraft are very versatile. We use our hovercraft on and off our base. Without the level of training sophistication that Neoteric’s Training Course provided, we would never be able to perform our missions the way we do.”

David Kallman, Chief of Fire and Emergency Services, added, "This is the first time our hovercraft were used in a real-world situation. We wouldn't have been able to get out to the crash site and rescue the pilot without them. They are state of the art. The Salt Flats are full of crevices and holes filled with water … but the hovercraft glide right over the uneven terrain and go where no other vehicles could go."

Paul Thrift, Indiana USA: Recreational hovercraft
When Paul thought about a hovercraft as a family recreational vehicle, he didn’t just call and place an order, even though he lives in the city where Neoteric is located. Instead, he signed up for a Test Flight and Training Course.  “I wouldn’t even consider getting one without this training; it’s an absolute must. And Chris was impressive beyond words, given his history and passion for it, which shines through … The day here was well worth it. Even if I didn’t go on to purchase a hovercraft, I would count the day a success and worth the money and time, just for the experience. I’d do it again just for the enjoyment!It gives you the freedom to go wherever you want and experience the elements and spin around and not have the limitations of a wheeled or grounded vehicle. It looks like my family and I will be able to enjoy it recreationally, to access rivers and lakes, cruising, pleasure riding. My 16-year old son is especially excited about it – he thinks it’s pretty cool!

Cory Wendt, Alaska USA: Commercial hovercraft
Cory Wendt owns a trout fishing lodge in Alaska. He and his father came to Neoteric for Test Flights to determine whether to buy a 4-passenger or 6-passenger hovercraft. After their flights, he said, “It was smoother than I expected. I didn’t expect it to be able to go through all the mud and sticks. I figured all those sticks would break up the air flow, but they didn’t … I didn’t fully have an appreciation until I drove it; it started to feel more like an aircraft. I could understand why training is important – I’d read it and heard it but didn’t really appreciate it until I was at the controls.”

Is a hovercraft right for you?
Find out with a Test Flight or Training Course ...

19 May, 2019

How do airboats compare to hovercraft?

Unlike airboats, hovercraft are flying machines that travel above the surface on a bubble of air so they don’t create a wake on water. Airboats are flat-bottomed boats with a large propeller and their entire weight rests on the surface, creating a wake.  Airboats usually require a boat dock for launching; hovercraft do not.

Airboats are limited to relatively smooth water because their hulls have low gunwales which can be easily swamped. Airboats have minimum positive flotation, where hovercraft have quite a lot - up to 1 1/2 times their weight. This enables hovercraft to operate safely on swiftwater. Here, first responders from the U.S. Air Force practice swift water rescue techniques in a Neoteric hovercraft …

Both are amphibious vehicles but hovercraft, since they ride on a cushion of air, are better on dry terrain. Airboats travel over mud, grass, sand, pavement, gravel, or other dry surfaces by sliding on their plastic-covered hulls.

The airboat’s tall propeller also limits its use in areas with overhead obstructions, which are often found in flood rescue operations. An airboat’s propeller usually runs close to the speed of sound and generates far more noise than a hovercraft. Airboats can consume up to three times more energy than hovercraft, so they use more fuel.

Hovercraft are safer than airboats in ice rescue operations. As stated in a news article about a dive team preparing for ice rescues, “Emergency personnel practiced rescuing victims who have fallen through ice by getting as close as they can with airboats - too close and the boat will push the ice and crush the victim - and then, with insulated, waterproof suits on and an attached rope, swimming out and bringing the victim back." 

Hovercraft can fly on top of thin or broken ice while airboats cannot, and hovercraft often break the ice into small pieces that are of no danger to the victim. Hovercraft can also approach the victim directly, keeping rescuers out of the water. And the airboat's high center of gravity makes them prone to flipping over. 

An example of an airboat's tall propeller and high center of gravity.
Hovercraft are much more maneuverable than airboats, particularly Neoteric craft whose patented reverse thrust system allows them to brake and otherwise outmaneuver every other hovercraft on the market. Reverse thrust is essential for hovering on ice and swiftwater. Airboat control comes from propeller thrust and airflow across its rudders, so it takes full power to achieve real control. In contrast, a hovercraft with reverse thrust is more easily controlled, no matter how much power is applied.Operating an airboat at full power is a bit like running a bucking bronco! But flying a hovercraft with reverse thrust, even at full power, is nothing like fighting a monster - it's more like dancing with a ballerina.

Finally, as one first responder said after a Neoteric hovercraft water rescue, "You've got an airboat, you've got a hovercraft, and you've got a traditional boat ... I just couldn't come up with any other vehicle that could match what a hovercraft can do. Well, not "a" hovercraft - THIS hovercraft. Caterpillar makes the best equipment. Peterbilt makes the best truck. Neoteric makes the best hovercraft."

04 May, 2019

The Lighter Side of Hovercraft Flight Training

If you think learning to fly a hovercraft – especially a rescue hovercraft – is all work and no play, check out these videos … and see what happens when a Neoteric hovercraft runs right over someone!

Neoteric flight instructor Steve Stafford is also the founder of Project H.E.R.O., Inc. (Hovercraft Emergency Response Operations), a non-profit group of rescue professionals who deploy hovercraft in disasters and assist police and rescue agencies. Steve often organizes informal rescue practice sessions with first responders to keep their skills honed.

During such a practice session with Indiana’s Washington Township Fire Department and White River Hazelton Fire Department, yes, they worked hard. But when the session ended, playtime began! Watch as they take campers on joyrides in their Neoteric rescue hovercraft … and run over each other with Stafford’s hovercraft ...

Yes, he really did get run over by the hovercraft – here’s the proof ... 

Just goes to show you how safe a hovercraft really is. Want to find out for yourself?

Sign up today for a Test Flight or a Pilot Training Course

(NOTE: Getting run over is not required!)

25 April, 2019

#TBT: Neoteric Hovercraft’s First Customer

Rarely can a company credit its origin to a single individual or family. Neoteric Hovercraft is proud to be one of those rare companies, with great thanks to the Talmage family of Long Island, New York, who helped launch Neoteric in the USA.

In the mid-1960s, John Talmage, a farmer and a pilot, and his 5- and 9-year old sons Henry and Bill, built a hovercraft from photos he’d seen in Popular Mechanics. Today, the original Talmage hovercraft hangs from the rafters of an aircraft hangar on their farm …

What followed is a true example of “six degrees of separation”. When 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 provided by his 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. Popular Mechanics soon published a feature story about the Neova 2, which immediately kicked off sales of Neova 2 kits for Neoteric. And, as they say, the rest is history.