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Sailing over the ice in a hovercraft
Frozen lake a playground for low-flying machine

Herald-Times, Bloomington, Indiana
24 January 2009
by Sarah Morin

The dead of winter is when Steve Stafford packs up and heads out on Lake Monroe.

His prized hovercraft makes it possible to enjoy the frozen body of water when most people stay away until summer.

“I’m just enjoying the ice. Around here, it’s a rare occasion to go out on the ice,” Stafford said Friday afternoon by Blackberry, through a patchy connection. Stafford and his pricey toy that can tackle water, land or ice were near the causeway by the Cutright marina.

Stafford pulled out the hovercraft a few times this week and was really enjoying the burst of sunshine on the reservoir. “It’s so smooth, it’s a really neat view,” he said. A view he pretty much has to himself.

And while he wouldn’t trust the ice to walk across the frozen lake in this warmer weather, the hovercraft brings no such fear. “This is what it’s built for,” Stafford said of the vehicle that is registered as a boat. “You don’t care if the ice breaks.”

A hovercraft travels faster on ice than on the water, with speeds up to 60 mph compared to 35-40 mph over liquid.

Stafford works part-time for the Terre Haute company, Neoteric, that manufactures his four-seater model that is exposed to the elements. Some hovercrafts have a fully enclosed cabin. On the Neoteric Hovercraft Inc. Web site, a four-seater starts out at $15,238 and goes up to $31,756 for the Hovertrek Rescue Deluxe, fully assembled with all options and inline seating.

Stafford said his last hovercraft is now used by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

Photo Neoteric Hovercraft on ice Lake Monroe
Steve Stafford, left, and Mike Branham cruise towards the Ind. 446 causeway bridge Friday on ice-covered Lake Monroe, riding Stafford’s hovercraft. “I’m just enjoying the ice. Around here, it’s a rare occasion to go out on the ice,” Stafford said. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Neoteric Hovercraft picture on ice covered Lake Monroe
Steve Stafford, nearest, and Mike Branham travel across ice-covered Lake Monroe Friday afternoon on Stafford’s hovercraft. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times
Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
1649 Tippecanoe Street Terre Haute, Indiana USA 47807-2394
Telephone: 1-812-234-1120 / 1-800-285-3761 Fax: 877-640-8507

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