Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hovercraft Search and Rescue Damage Assessment How to use a hovercraft 6

It was August and in Illinois that typically means hot and dry, this year was no exception until one particular morning. The morning started out like any other with the exception of the 5 inches of rain in about a two-hour period. My son was watching the news and they were telling of flooding in Rockford IL and that people with boats were showing up to volunteer to rescue of stranded home owners so he thought it would be a great opportunity to show off our hovers. We decided to take the Hovertour 700 over I quickly took the side panels off it and headed to Rockford. We got to the affected area and were allowed to pass through the barricades and proceed to the command post. By the time we got there everything had settled down and we were put on standby.  I watched as these brave firemen were walking along beside and behind boats basically pushing the boats into position to load people off their front porches into the boats. They had to push the boats because they were not sure what might be under the water and were concerned about damaging props, running aground, and boat bottoms on hidden debris. As I watched this scene unfold I thought about how dangerous it was to walk and secondly how foolish it was to use boats in such a situation as this. One step by a fireman and he could be sucked into a hidden hole or drain, or he might step on something in this filthy water and be injured, at any rate the entire situation was so uncalled for if they were to just use my hover. Off to the side of the command post unloading area was a high power relay station that was getting dangerously close to being submerged and they were working to shut the power off to it. I couldn’t believe the willingness of the firefighters to enter this situation with this going on, but there they were right in the mix helping people who were in trouble. It was amazing to watch. After about 30 minutes I was asked to unload the hover. I was directed to an area that they had been launching the boats into it had a rather deep drop into the water. They decided this was the best place to launch boats to protect the bottoms and the props while entering the flood zone. I was told to back my hover trailer down into the unknown ramp to launch. As I have said before I hate backing down into the water with my Hovertrailer. So I looked at him and said, “Do you mind if I launch over there?” pointing to the road where I had the hover parked. The Chief looked at me rather puzzled and said “sure?” You could tell he had no idea what a hovercraft is capable of. Unloading on the grass not in the water he was baffled.  

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