Airshow Presents Helicopters, Recruitment Information and New Citizens

Youngsters check out the sheriff’s helicopter at the 2021 event.
File photo


Public can meet on the ground those who they may only see flying overhead.

The American Heroes Air Show is coming back to Hansen Dam on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s really to bring the public together with the people in the helicopter communities,” said Steve Goldsworthy, event director. He added people see these pilots and crew flying overhead while fighting fires, transporting people to medical centers and working as aerial law enforcement support. This event gives people an opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with those crewmembers and to see their helicopters up close.

“For a long time it was a way for the [public] to show their gratitude and to meet the pilots,” said founder Jim Paules.

But over the years it has become so much more.

“For about the last four or five years [the event] has pivoted to be a far stronger [opportunity] for recruiting teams,” Paules said.

The event still focuses on all things helicopters but the recruitment aspect has grown as law enforcement and fire agencies struggle to fill positions.

Paules added he feels movies have shown a distorted version of emergency responders noting the extensive skills responders have, including people with linguistic, science and engineering backgrounds.

“This year we have over 55 recruiting organizations [at the airshow],” he said. “We provide free space for them.”

This is an increase in the number of participating organizations and an increase in the number of recruiters from other states, including those from Oregon and Arizona.

There will also be a special event that has become a tradition at the American Heroes Air Show event – a naturalization ceremony.

The Supreme Court has stated that a “natural-born citizen” is anybody who was born in the United States or derives citizenship at birth from U.S. citizen parents. For those desiring U.S. citizenship but born outside the U.S., they must undertake a long process called naturalization. Criteria includes the applicant is at least 18 years old, has been in the U.S. lawfully for the past three to five years, has a continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S., is able to read, write and speak basic English, demonstrates good moral character, has a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government, is loyal to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and is willing to take the Oath of Allegiance, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to complete this process for most people. Some of those who have completed the process will be taking the Oath of Allegiance at the American Heroes Airshow.

“The naturalization ceremony will be at 10 a.m.,” Paules said. “Five or six of those [taking the Oath] have served in the military.”

Despite the addition of more recruiting opportunities and a naturalization ceremony the foundation of the event continues to be helicopters.

“I think your average family has no idea what kind of capability helicopters have and how vital they are,” Goldsworthy said. He added this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, events of its kind taking into account the number of helicopters that have RSVP’d to be at the airshow.

It is also a way to educate the public on the various responsibilities of each agency and how they work together. As Goldsworthy, a member of the Montrose Search and Rescue team, pointed out Los Angeles County has a number of agencies with helicopter support including LA County Sheriff’s Dept., LA County Fire Dept. and multiple local police departments. Other counties must depend on military helicopters for support.

Both Paules and Goldsworthy spoke of their hope that the American Heroes Airshow will inspire young helicopter pilots. Who knows what will happen as kids, and even some adults, get a chance to crawl into a helicopter and dream of flying?

Admission to the American Heroes Airshow and parking are free. Hansen Dam is located at 11770 Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace.