On the Rise
Neoteric Hovercraft featured on Travel Channel
31 July 2004
USA] businessman hopes some attention from a program on the Travel
Channel will help boost his new business.
A film crew for "Travel Gear" arrived Friday morning
in Crystal River to shoot an 8-minute segment that will include
footage of a hovercraft, which will be assembled in Homosassa. "Travel
Gear" is a weekly half-hour show devoted to new gadgets and
products for travel.
Gerry Gibb, president of Microfast Inc., is licensed to assemble
the Hovertrek vehicles manufactured by Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.,
a company based in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Gibb said he recently purchased 20 acres in Homosassa, where he
plans to assemble the hovercraft and develop an RV park. Depending
on the demand for hovercraft, Gibb said he hopes to hire about 20
employees within a year to assemble the vehicles.
Gibb said a two-stroke Hirth engine for an ultralight aircraft
powers the hovercraft. The hovercraft he brought to Fort Island
Trail Park for the film crew had a 65-horsepower engine, but he
said some Neoteric Hovertrek models have a 55-horsepower engine.
He said the Neoteric patent for the hovercraft is unique because
it has reverse thrusters, which work like air brakes on a jet, making
the hovercraft easier to operate.
Gibb said the Neoteric design is also unusual because the hovercraft
is powered by a single engine, which runs on a mixture of premium
gasoline and oil, the same mixture as a jet ski engine.
Gibb said the price of a Neoteric hovercraft is between $17,000
and $27,000, depending on the options.
The hovercraft works because one-third of the wind generated by
the engine goes into the hull of the vehicle, creating a cushion
of air held within the skirts at the bottom. Gibb said this cushion
of air lifts the vehicle about 10 to 12 inches off the ground.
Gibb said the remaining two-thirds of the wind generated by the
engine propels the hovercraft forward. Depending on the number of
occupants and whether or not it is windy, Gibb said the hovercraft
can reach a top speed of between 40 and 50 miles per hour.
The hovercraft can be used on water or land, often traveling on
surfaces other vehicles can't - such as ice.
Katrina Charmatz, a senior field producer with Dan Sexton Media,
the producer of "Travel Gear," said the film crew in Crystal
River also planned to film another hovercraft and a flying, inflatable
boat on Friday.
Charmatz said the eight-minute segment featuring the hovercraft
will be part of a 30-minute "Travel Gear" episode that
will also include golf and tennis gear and swamp and wood buggies,
all filmed in Florida. She said the episode featuring the hovercraft
should air on the Travel Channel in October or November. "Travel
Gear" airs between 5 and 6 p.m. Saturdays.