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Ride a Hovercraft at The Children's Science and Technology Museum
A chair that rides on air!

29 August 2002

A new exhibit at the Children's Science and Technology Museum of Terre Haute gives area children a chance to experience the hands-on thrill of piloting a hovercraft. The exhibit, titled "The Science of Hovercraft … It's Just a Matter of Inches" features a one-passenger HoverChair designed especially for museums.

According to the museum's Executive Director, Jerry Mansfield, "The exhibit, especially the HoverChair is a huge success, the most popular permanent exhibit in the museum. It has quickly become the focal point of almost every visitor's experience. Children are fascinated by sitting in a chair that rides on air, especially those in the 8-10 age range."

The Museum plans to feature the interactive hovercraft exhibit as a major component of its school curriculum web site.

The HoverChair was engineered and built by Chris Fitzgerald and James Wallace III. Fitzgerald is President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., Terre Haute, and Chairman of World Hovercraft Week. He is also the Chairman of DiscoverHover, and upcoming Build-a-Hovercraft school project for students, clubs and youth groups throughout the world. Wallace is Director of "Students, Science and Hovercraft … Oh My!" a hovercraft building project that will take place at the World Hovercraft Championship.

According to Fitzgerald, "The hovercraft concept is a likable technology – it makes people smile. But not only is the HoverChair intriguing and unique, it also opens a child's eyes to an interest in physics." Fitzgerald continues, "We've been manufacturing hovercraft in Terre Haute for thirty years and distributing them throughout the world. The Children's Museum exhibit is also an opportunity for young people to learn about an important manufacturing process happening right in their home town."

As a part of the development process, the Museum's HoverChair was exhibited at the recent Terre Haute Air Fair, where a group of children from the Indianapolis Children's Museum's Aerospace Adventures Camp were the first to try it out. After the spectacular reception of this trial flight, the success of the Museum exhibit is no surprise.

The Children's Science and Technology Museum of Terre Haute, located at 523 Wabash Avenue, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is $2.50 for adults, and $2.00 for children up to age 12.

In addition to the Children's Museum HoverChair exhibit, World Hovercraft Week, coming to Terre Haute September 15-22, will feature numerous activities for children and teens, including:

September 19-22 at the World Hovercraft Championship Race Site
(Wabash Valley Family Sports Center)
James Wallace III will direct groups of science students from all four Terre Haute high schools in how to build a hovercraft. On September 22, participating students will learn to pilot the finished hovercraft on land and water. The entire school hovercraft project will be broadcast live on the Internet via Web Cam.

Wallace has a background in physics, geography and astronomy education, as well as in fabricating hovercraft at Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

Hovercraft History Exhibit
Exhibits from The British Hovercraft Museum are traveling to America for display during the World Hovercraft Championship at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center race site.

Model Hovercraft Competition
Also of interest to children during World Hovercraft Week will be the ongoing radio-controlled model hovercraft activities at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center race site.

World Hovercraft Week offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both children and adults to experience a unique international event. The World Hovercraft Championship occurs every two years, and has not been held in the United States since 1989. The next major international hovercraft event will be HoverWorld Expo 2004, a commemoration of the World's First Hovercraft Race in Canberra, Australia. Through the DiscoverHover school program, Fitzgerald plans to give participating schools the opportunity to build a hovercraft and race it at HoverWorld Expo.

(Unfortunately, HoverWorld Expo has been cancelled)

Chris Fitzgerald, President
Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

Jerry Mansfield, Executive Director
Children's Science and Technology Museum of Terre Haute

All Material © 2003-2004 World Hovercraft Organization