A person doesn’t just wake up one morning and decides they want to be a Hovercraft Rescue Pilot, or maybe they do...
Whatever drives one to tame a beast that propels itself on a cushion of air is based on intrigue and curiosity. Over the years I have spent piloting air cushion vehicles I have learned that every hour spent on developing techniques and learning the complexities of ACV’s (Air Cushion Vehicles) has been time well spent. Combining this, with a goal to use these acquired skills in helping others has truly made all of these years “a ride to remember”.
In 2009, a decision to take my hours of flying hovercraft was transposed into a new dimension, and my first team was established in Budapest Hungary, bearing the name Armadillo Hovercraft Rescue and Response Support Unit (ARRSU). This team that was made up of highly skilled professionals would put to the test many times between 2009 and 2013. Perhaps most notably, when we were deployed in the Great Danube Floods (May toJune 2013). It was during these floods that we worked together as the single Air Cushion Vehicle unit together with over 8000 First Responders to prevent loss of life and to minimise the effects of a surge of water never witnessed before. Whilst 25 persons perished in total, our First Responders in Hungary managed to prevent the loss of a single life. I owe much of what I have learned to the great men and women I served with, and who made up our unit. I thank them for all they gave of them self.
“There is no greater achievement then to put others before one’s self “.
In 2015, after much research was put into hovercraft operations in Canada, the Canadian Rescue Hovercraft Pilots Association was formed. The goal would be to professionally represent those who utilize their skills to help others in distress, the same people that l am a part of.
This decision would also lead to the founding of Amphibious Response Support Unit ONE – a volunteer organization that would “Assist First Responders in Saving Lives”. This unit was built on a model that I had worked on for many years, and would somewhat mirror the unit that was formed in Budapest, Hungary. The goal was to test this model for Canadian operations based out of Regina, Saskatchewan and invite others to follow this model across North America, by forming ARSU’s.
To date we have incorporated many other disciplines including other amphibious operations, the addition of our Rescue Dive Team and more components to follow.
Community and support from businesses
Perhaps one of the most labor intense part of any volunteer team is raising awareness and funds to purchase equipment and to fund the operating expenses. Without the support of businesses and individuals this would not be possible. While the quest to raise funds remains to be a challenge, every penny earned is worth the effort. Thank you for all of you that have contributed to the success of our organization.
My father once said that “the success of your future is reflected on what you have learned from your past”. I have many times reflected on the years that have gone by, and if I wanted to elevate a single part of this it would be that if I was able to change one person’s life for the better, I have achieved my goal as a person.
I wish my team: those who I have, continue and will serve with in the future the wisdom, strength, and ambition to carry out every mission. Never let go!
Fair winds and following seas
John Maczko ACV Pilot
Director of Operations - Chief ACV Pilot the founder of ARSU1
Over the years we have made many friends and formed many great alliances. thank you to the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association for partnering with the CRHPA ARSU1.
Most recently a special thanks goes out to the Canadian Trucking Magazine
Our greatest respect goes out to the people who chose this profession and way of life. Without you everything would come to a standstill. Every day you risk everything behind the wheel day in and night out 24/7 365. For this we thank you!
A special thank you to Kyle Born and his team at Koocanusa Publications Inc. for the article in SNORIDER magazine. Check out the article at: https://snoriderswest.com/article/safety/are_you_up_for_the_250_crusade_challenge
What you do, can not be expressed in words. There is no greater comradery that exists then that between those who chose to put their life before others. Always remember, Your actions will never be forgotten!
When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I must answer death's call,
bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.