Hovercraft to re-blaze the Lewis & Clark
The media and the public are invited to discover
Hovercraft rides and giveaways on the Lewis & Clark
May 12, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On May 14, 2004, for the first time in history,
three teams of explorers will follow in the footsteps
of Lewis & Clark … by hovercraft.
Led by Bill Zang and Bob Windt of Illinois and Don
Bender of Michigan the hovercrafters will launch
from the same departure site as the pioneer explorers
- Hartford, Illinois - and blaze the same trail up
the Missouri River to Yankton, South Dakota in three
hovercraft named Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea.
These modern day explorers have a greater goal than
just commemorating the Lewis & Clark bicentennial:
to raise awareness of the importance of hovercraft
as a vehicle that can operate on almost any terrain,
and to introduce DiscoverHover, a new international
school hovercraft program.
The hovercraft expedition will depart on May 14
from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi
Rivers near Hartford during the National Lewis & Clark
Bicentennial Signature Event. The bicentennial celebration
will also feature historical exhibits and the launch
of replica Lewis & Clark boats.
As they journey upriver, the hovercrafters will
offer hovercraft rides, give away model hovercraft,
and invite the public to join them at their campsites.
DiscoverHover: the international school hovercraft
DiscoverHover is the World Hovercraft Organization's
international not-for-profit program whose mission
is to give students worldwide the educational opportunities
afforded by building a hovercraft and competing in
established hovercraft races.
The DiscoverHover web site, www.DiscoverHover.org,
provides free hovercraft blueprints and instructions
to schools, universities, youth organizations and
students age 7 to 21. The site also gives students
and instructors free access to an extensive hovercraft
information center, a free e-mail newsletter, an
advisory board of some of the world's top hovercraft
experts. The Lewis & Clark Hovercraft Expedition's
team leaders Bill Zang and Bob Windt both serve on
the DiscoverHover advisory board.
"We want to interest young people in DiscoverHover,
an important project that makes math, science, physics
and technology easy and fun for both students and
instructors," says Zang, who is President of
Universal Hovercraft of Harvard, Illinois, the supplier
of the hovercraft materials kits provided through
the DiscoverHover program.
Chris Fitzgerald, Chairman of DiscoverHover, explains
the program's importance: "DiscoverHover has
proven to be a remarkable learn-by-doing experience
that gets students excited about engineering and
technology and helps secure the future of an extremely
valuable emerging technology. Hovercraft save lives
in rescue operations; transport military troops;
ferry passengers; and provide a vast array of recreational
opportunities to people throughout the world."
Meet the trailblazers and ride in a hovercraft
The hovercraft expedition will proceed from Hartford,
Illinois upriver for more than 700 miles to Yankton,
South Dakota. At each stop along their journey, the
teams will offer hovercraft rides to the public in
return for a minimum $30 donation to the DiscoverHover
program, and will give local students the chance
to win hovercraft model kits.
The media and the public are invited to join the
hovercrafters at the following locations/dates. For
exact times and locations, check the expedition's
daily progress report on the Universal Hovercraft
web site www.hovercraft.com
Fri. May 14: Hartford, IL and Hermann, MO
- Hovercraft will be displayed in Hartford at the
Festival Grounds, National Trail Site #1, Booth
- Launch ceremony at 4:00 p.m.
- Expedition will camp overnight at Hermann, MO,
Sat. May 15: Booneville and Parkville, MO
- Refueling stop mid-morning at Booneville, MO, mile
- Next stop Parkville, MO, mile 377
- Continue on and camp overnight on river
Sun. May 16: Bellevue, Nebraska / Big Sioux River
- Refueling stop mid-morning at Bellevue, NE, mile
OR Big Sioux River, mile 734
Mon. May 17: Gavis Point Dam, Yankton, South Dakota
Tues. May 18: Return trip; details to be announced
Bob Windt of Cordova, Illinois, formerly an aeronautical
engineer at McDonnell Douglass, is the founder of
Universal Hovercraft. The Learning Channel's Junkyard
Wars considers Windt to be "the godfather of
personal hovercraft." Windt designed the DiscoverHover
entry-level hovercraft. He also designed the world's
fastest hovercraft and holds the Guinness Hovercraft
World Speed Record of 85.376 mph (137.40 km/h) established
in Portugal in 1995.
Bill Zang of Harvard, Illinois is President of Universal
Hovercraft, provider of DiscoverHover's free hovercraft
plans. Involved with hovercraft since childhood,
he achieved his first racing win in the fifth grade,
placing 3rd in the 1989 World Hovercraft Championship.
Now an accomplished international hovercraft racer;
his most recent win was 2003 Formula 1 National Champion.
Don Bender of Middleville, Michigan is an expert
machinist, auto body refinisher and hovercraft designer/builder.
A former snowmobile racer, and member of the pit
crew for Wally Dallenbach on the Indy racecar circuit,
he now works full time designing and constructing
Mike Kiester of Duncan, Oklahoma is a commercial
aircraft pilot and a hovercrafter since 1975. He
was the founding Secretary/Editor of the Hoverclub
of America, Inc. in 1976, Hovercrafter of the Year
in 1984, and currently serves as the organization's
national cruise director. In 1979 he served on the
crew of the longest unsupported hovercraft trip to
date, a round trip from St. Louis to New Orleans.
He is also co-holder with Bob Windt of the New Orleans
to St. Louis hovercraft speed record set in 1986.
To arrange en route interviews, contact:
BILL ZANG, expedition leader
DON SMALL, Universal Hovercraft
MARQUIS SONGER, Universal Hovercraft
For more information about DiscoverHover, email