This free – yes, free – show brings together all types of helicopters for the public to learn about – and appreciate.
By Brandon HENSLEY
lthough they took different career paths, Jim Paules and Chuck Street grew up loving aviation, especially helicopters, and all those aircraft and their crews do for people. It’s why both men are excited to be a part of the American Heroes Air Show on Saturday at the Hanson Dam Recreation Area in Lake View Terrace.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public can view – for free – the many helicopters on display from various L.A. County area police, fire and sheriff’s departments, as well as visit with the crews who fly and take care of them.
“It’s a great opportunity to remind people the role that helicopters and their crews play in the Los Angeles basin,” said Street, who will work the event as public address announcer.
Previously this year, the Air Show was held in Austin, Texas in April and in Seattle in May. The show was first presented in 1993 at the Santa Monica Airport and, according to its website, has since become the nation’s premier helicopter-only event.
“It’s the only exclusive helicopter-only aviation experience anywhere in the state because we focus only on rotary wing aviation helicopters,” said Paules, event volunteer director. “By doing so, our mission is to educate the community, the media and public officials about the dynamic and diverse role of helicopters in public service.”
Besides viewing helicopters, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be there to swear in 50 people during a naturalization ceremony.
Paules said the event has been in Lakeview Terrace since 1996. He’s seen larger crowds come out year after year, as well as the show being more family-oriented. To Paules, the message is about getting across how important helicopters are in people’s lives. This year, there will be about 25 helicopters on display. People will be able to talk to air crews about the role the flying machines have in putting out fires, in law enforcement and everything else they do in Southern California.
Paules is not a pilot, but he’s been around helicopters his whole life and has always had a passion and appreciation for their diverse capabilities.
“The aircraft and the crews, I’m just so fascinated by how much they do for us,” he said.
From a young age, Street was fascinated with the capabilities of the helicopters, so he became a pilot.
“You could hover in one position like a hummingbird next to a flower,” he said. “You could fly backward, fly sideways … it was that interest that developed into a passion and propelled me into a career.”
That career included longtime gigs at KTLA and KIIS FM as a traffic reporter in the sky. Street said some of the younger crowds who come to these events may take an interest, like he did, and think about flying as a career.
“Some of the kids might be contemplating a career in aviation,” he said. “I’m always asked, what can a young person do to prepare themselves for a career as a helicopter pilot, or in the military or something like that?”
Parking for the show may be limited. There will be remote parking by the aquatic center and it is suggested people go there and use the free shuttle over to the main field.
For more information about the show and for contact information, visit www.heroes-Air Show.com.