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The History of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

Introduction: The Second Decade

The 1970s were a decade of significant change for the emerging Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., including the move of its headquarters from Australia to the USA in 1975. Australian Air Cushion Vehicles Development evolved into Neoteric Engineering Affiliates Pty. Ltd, incorporated in Australia, with Rob Wilson serving as president of Neoteric’s Australia division.

The company’s first comprehensive business plan was developed and marketing efforts were begun in earnest. Neoteric’s first major magazine feature appeared in Popular Mechanics, followed by more than 120 articles in publications across the world. In addition, Chris Fitzgerald incorporated the Hovercraft Club of America, Inc. and expanded its membership to more than 700. Fitzgerald also created and served as editor of Hovernews, the Hovercraft Club of America newsletter. Both the Club and the newsletter continue to thrive today.

Laying a solid foundation for its future growth, Neoteric designed and patented new technology worldwide and, in addition, developed hovercraft kits for home builders and marketed the kits worldwide.

A Photo History of Neoteric Hovercraft, 1970-1979

1971 – present AACVD8, also known as the Neova 1, was designed, tested and developed, then shipped to the United States in 1976.  The craft was then used for development, promotion and for competition in American hoverclub events.  It was placed in storage in 1986; refurbishing began in 2001.
Slope stability Hovercraft history photo
History Neoteric Hovercraft testing
A special test rig was designed to study the hovercraft's ability to lift off when on slopes. The craft's center of gravity could be raised along with the slope gradient.
Neoteric's test facility in Hastings, Victoria, Australia, located by the sea. In this photo, the 60-ft diameter circular test tank is filled with seawater; 50% of the track is land and 50% is water. An exact 1/3 scale model of the Neova 1 hovercraft, powered by two 220 V, 7 Amp AC electric motors, was used to test max speed, hump performance, and performance in various sea conditions as scaled waves can be generated. The payload and center of gravity of the model were adjustable. The model was equipped with a full and independent electrically controlled reverse thrust system.
Early hovercraft testing
Fans Hovercraft history photo
In this photo, an 8-cylinder Cadillac engine drove multiple axial flow fans with twin bands of stator blades. The device at the end of the duct was a new form of thrust reverser.
This photo shows the VW-powered thrust and lift machinery module developed for the Neova 1 model.
History Hovercraft skirt testing
Neova 1 Hovercraft history photo
This upside-down test rig was used to evaluate the performance of various skirt systems. It was also used for stability testing under all load conditions.
1973 – 1977 Neova technology and patents were marketed.
Neoteric Hovercraft History
World's First Hovercraft Race
Left to right: Bernard Sutcher, Sam Ciliauro, Arthur Boyd, Rob Wilson, Laurie Fair
Left to Right: Arthur Boyd, Bernard Sutcher, Rob Wilson, Sam Ciliauro, Laurie Fair
1973 – 2001 Blueprints for building the Neova 1 and Neova 2 were developed and marketed worldwide.  Income from these sales supported the company during the early years.
1973 Australian Air Cushion Vehicles Development was discontinued and Neoteric Engineering Affiliates Pty. Ltd. was incorporated in Australia.
1973 – 2001 Publicity and promotions to improve the corporate image were implemented.  The company's first major Popular Mechanics magazine article appeared in 1977.  More than 120 articles followed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. 
1974 Patent applications were awarded to Neoteric in many countries. The corporate logo was designed and trademarked.
July, 1974 The first Neoteric publicity occurred in Melbourne newspapers and in other Australian media.
World's first Sports hovercraft photo
Neova hovercraft on Yarra River
The Herald, Melbourne, Australia 3 July 1974
Victoria, Australia Jan/Feb 1975
Hovercraft history Society of Automotive Engineers SAE
Neova Hovercraft rice farming
SAE Australasia, March/April 1975
The Weekly Times, Melbourne, 14 May 1975
Air cushion vehicle Australian Trading News
Home built hovercraft Australian Seacraft
Australian Trading News, July 1975
Australian Seacraft Power & Sail, July 1975
Air cushion vehicle photo Australian Trading News
History Hovercraft manufacturing industry
Australian Trading News, July 1975
The Age, 29 July 1975
Neova I hovercraft testing
Leisure Hovercraft history
Hastings Testing Facility, Melbourne, Australia 1971
Yarra River, Melbourne, Australia
Historic hovercraft Neova 1 picture
Hovercraft fishing boat Neova 1
Neova 1 Hovercraft for duck hunting boat
Fishing Hovercraft picture
1975 The company moved its home office and manufacturing facilities to Terre Haute, Indiana USA and incorporated Neoteric Inc., which also traded as Neoteric USA Inc. This later became Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
Neoteric Hovercraft moves to USA
Do-it-yourself hovercraft photo
The Sun, 9 April 1976
Ledger-Star, 27 May 1976
To view a comprehensive list of additional worldwide publicity about the Neova from 1974-1977, click here.
1975 – 1988 Neoteric USA began operations in the Fort Harrison Industrial Park warehouse in Terre Haute, Indiana USA, leased to them by the Eldred family, who played an important role in the early days of Neoteric's progress.
1976 – 1978 The John Talmage family from Long Island, New York, placed an order for the first Neova 2 hovercraft, giving Neoteric its real start in the USA. Neoteric then undertook the design, development, and manufacture of the first side-by-side seat Neova 2. Neoteric provided hovercraft pilot training to John Talmage when he took delivery of the craft in 1977. This first unit was used to develop the Neova 2 kit and to garner publicity.
Neova 2 Hovercraft history
Neova 2 Hovercraft picture
The Neova 2 in action
The original Neova 2 was constructed of wood and fiberglass.
Neova 2 fiberglass hovercraft
The all-fiberglass Neova 2 debuted in 1982.
1976 – 2001 Chris Fitzgerald incorporated the Hovercraft Club of America, Inc., produced its newsletter, Hovernews, and expanded the club's membership to 700. See History of the Hovercraft Club of America, Inc.
1977 Neoteric's first comprehensive business plan was developed.
1977 – 1986 Neoteric developed kits for home construction of the Neova 2 hovercraft and marketed them worldwide.
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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