Helicopters were the Stars of this Air Show

This family-friendly event brought smiles to everyone’s face.
Photos by Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Louis KATZ and Mary O’KEEFE

By Sofia LOPARDO, intern

On Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Hansen Dam Recreation Center, the American Heroes Air Show, a free admission event, took place. Since 1993, the air show has displayed multiple rotary aircraft to educate the community about the role of helicopters in law enforcement, fire service and the military. There were also many booths on-site that focused on aviation-related careers including in the Secret Service, fire service, the military and public service. One booth at the show was manned by members of the Civil Air Patrol. Some of the cadets from local squadrons were volunteers at the American Heroes Air Show. In addition to manning the booth, they provided aircraft security and crowd direction.

People who arrived just after sunrise saw the helicopters as they landed. Once stationary, the helicopters could be viewed in-depth and people could chat with the pilots. Displays included Blackhawks from the U.S. Army and Air Force and Firehawks used by several fire departments.

The air show was opened by vintage emergency service vehicles that arrived with full lights and sirens followed by a naturalization ceremony (see page 3). Around midday, stunt pilot Aaron Fitzgerald with Red Bull performed some impressive (and terrifying) aerobatics including forward flips and upside down rolls – all types of things that helicopters do not normally do. Only a handful of pilots in the world can fly in that manner, said event director Steve Goldsworthy.

According to Goldsworthy more than two dozen helicopters were available to check out. Though it was difficult to know the number of attendees to the free event, Goldsworthy estimated that about 5,000 people came to the show. Folks were able to climb into the helicopters and see the instrument panels and rescue equipment.

He said that it takes about six months for him and producer Jim Paules to plan the annual event – but the time involved is well worth it.

“We had a great mix all the way from a Robinson two-seater to a Blackhawk,” Goldsworthy said of the helicopters that flew in. “It was an amazing turnout of helicopters and people.”