Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prague OK Gateway servcies new hover

The road from Belvidere IL to Prague OK is a long one about 13 hours however the drive is awesome with clear skies and low wind. I've been listening to the weather reports and Hurricane Sandy is about to reach clear back into Chicago so being in Oklahoma is not a bad thing right now. My new customer Gateway Services Group is waiting for their new Hoverstar LC, I'm looking forward to delivering it to them and training some new hover pilots. We put a new type of coating on the upper hull of the hovercraft that should protect it against any obstacles they may run into (as new pilots often due) but this coating will also prevent the gel coat cracking that we've experienced in the past so I'm really excited about placing this new hover with them. Gateway is a survey company that has several other businesses and I am very happy to be working with them. My contacts at Gateway have been very nice people and I am looking forward to meeting them in person. I have about 2 hours left before the delivery and training session so I'm trying to put together all the last minute things I need to go over so I am prepared. New hovers to non-hover people is always a fun time, the look on their faces the first sight of the hover and the comments after they fly it for the first time are a huge reward. The hover travels over the surface like nothing you've ever experienced. I will be posting more about the delivery later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hovercraft Rescue Safely

It has always been a wonder to me that more fire and rescue departments don't use hovercraft as a rescue vehicle, with the ability to travel over land, water, snow, and ice it would seem to be a no brainer that the hovercraft is the most economical unit to purchase. To accomplish all the task a hover can do a department would need to purchase a boat, a snowmobile, and an ATV to be able to cover the same surface areas. Even if they purchased these vehicles it would fall short of the hovercraft. For instance, if you were traveling over ice on a snowmobile and it broke through it would be tough trying to go back and get the boat. Or consider this, if you are traveling along on water in your boat and you suddenly run into shallows with rocks, now wat do you do? In a hovercraft you simply continue on your way and complete the task at hand. The hover will travel over snow of any depth so if you need to rescue a person from the middle of a snow covered area you simply fly your hover to them. Due to the low footprint of the hover it is the perfect vehichle to perform mud rescue. The great thing about using a hovercraft for rescue is you can do it from the safety of the hover. No more climbing out to a victim on ladders or in inflatable suits, you simply fly up to the victim and pull them into the hovercraft and fly away. I was speaking with a Fire Chief recently and he was telling of a rescue they performed on ice, he said it took them nearly 45 minutes to get to the victim, he then asked me how long it would take if they used a hover and since the person was only 200 yards off shore I told him probably about 2-3 minutes from the time you launch the hover from the shore line to the point of returning. Huge difference when it comes to situations where time is of the essence. In addition to the reduction of time you would also eliminate or at least greatly reduce the danger factor for the rescue workers because they would not have to exit the hovercraft in most cases and if you did your rescue platform would be right there with you.  If you have any questions about using a hovercraft in your area for rescue purposes please contact me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Asian Carp Hovercraft use

I first heard about Asian Carp a couple of years ago, I know you’re thinking "was this guy asleep or what?” to be honest with you I hadn't been to interested or concerned about them. Once I heard about them I started to research their presence and the impact on the environment and wondered if they actually do fly like I was reading. As a follow up to my research I decided to take a little trip down to Bath Illinois and check out the "Redneck Fishing Tournament" that was quite an experience, however it did not provide me with the answer to the question I had about how the hover would affect the fish. The only way to discover the answer was to fly with the fish so one day in late August I packed up my Hoverjet GT and headed toward Starved Rock State Park. After showing the park Ranger how the hover takes off on land (he was impressed) I headed off into the river for my Asian Carp adventure. Let me start this off by telling you everybody I spoke with told me not to travel the shore line in the shallows because they like to hang out there, so where do you suppose I headed, that's right the shore line. I flew the shore line for about two miles and saw nothing. I have to admit I was a bit confused by what I wasn't finding, with all I had read on these pest I truly thought I would face a barrage of flying fish. My experience now was disappointing to say the least, nothing not one carp, wait I take that back there was one it was floating belly up on the surface due to a boat strike. I decided to leave the main channel of the Illinois River and venture down the Vermillion. I turned down the Vermillion and as I traveled the river narrowed then it entered an area of rock, not rocks but boulders, so I had to slow down to maneuver around them, that's when it happened, a fish about 15 inches long leaped over the front of the hover. I have to tell you it scared the jeepers out of me but then the adrenalin kicked in and I was now in the hunt. What I noticed was that when I went fast and was flying over the surface I had no effect on the carp at all, that is probably due to the low environmental impact of a hover on the surface, when I slowed however it sets up a vibration in the water that will typically cause bass and other fish to leap. Now I was onto something if I wanted to avoid the fish fly fast if I wanted to stir the things fly slowly. Then I realized I probably didn’t want the stupid things jumping up and hitting me in the head so I decided to wait on hunting them until another day when I was more protected so I headed back home and started to design a protection cage for my next Asian Carp hunt. By the spring of 2013 my partner and I will be back on the Illinois and this time we’ll be ready for the Flying Fish, and this time we will be able to take pictures and video of the things. I can’t wait to go hunting on the Illinois next season. But wait a minute someone told me they are less active but still around in the winter. Hmm I wonder if I should try winter Flying Fish hunting?