“I already knew a hovercraft could do what we needed, so I went out and bought my own. I got professionally certified to fly it properly and started using it at work.”
Steve Stafford knows versatility. When he's not patrolling the streets of Lawrence County, Indiana, as a veteran police officer of 23 years, he's lending a hand to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), investigating homicides, and saving lives with the rescue team. You could say Stafford's the kind of guy who likes to get into everything. So it's no surprise he's into hovercraft.
"I read an article in Popular Mechanics magazine about hovercraft when I was a kid that totally fascinated me," says Stafford, "And when our town was hit by serious flooding in 1993, and our rescue team struggled to navigate the water, the hovercraft in that article was the first thing I thought of."
Stafford convinced his department to look into a hovercraft for rescue, and while they liked what it had to offer, they weren't quite ready to take one on. But Steve was.
"I already knew a hovercraft could do what we needed, so I went out and bought my own," he says. "I got professionally certified to fly it properly and started using it at work."
The maneuverability advantages of Stafford's hovercraft in treacherous water and hard to reach places took his rescue team's capabilities to new levels. And his department was quick to recognize it. Years later, when Stafford decided to sell his hovercraft to make room for his growing family, the department was eager to buy it.
Today, Stafford's kids are a little older, and he's not getting any younger. So when his rescue team decided to upgrade to a newer model hovercraft, he bought back his old baby.
"I love hovercraft too much not to have my own," he says. "I'm always looking for new ways to challenge myself as a pilot and get better at what I love to do."