I like helicopters. There is something fascinating to me about how they operate and what they can do. I’m not a pilot, mechanic, or engineer, so while I understand some of the basic principles, it’s still kind of magical to me. A little scary, too, when I think about everything hanging from a whirling disk of rotor blades.
When I was growing up, my main exposure to helicopters was through television. Helicopters made occasional appearances on Magnum, P.I. and The A-Team, two shows I watched regularly. And there was Airwolf, about a super-advanced helicopter and its troubled pilot, and the short-lived Blue Thunder, about another hi-tech helicopter. To an aviation-enthusiast kid in his early teens, the Airwolf and Blue Thunder helicopters in particular were the coolest things flying.
Now, as an adult, I find real-life helicopters much more interesting and inspiring than any of the fanciful, fictional representations I enjoyed as a child. My enthusiasm and wonder about helicopters are still childlike at times though. Occasionally, Marine helicopters stationed at Robins Air Force Base will fly over my house. I love it. I might feel differently if they were flying over at all hours every day, but as it is, I wish they would fly over more often. When my two-year-old daughter hears the distant whop-whop-whop of the rotors, she’ll turn to me with wide, bright eyes and say, “Hehwicopa.” I’ll scoop her up in my arms and we’ll rush outside to see the gray helicopters—usually Super Cobras—pass overhead. On the rare best days we’ll run outside three or four times.
The Museum of Aviation currently has nine helicopters on display, including a Vietnam War combat veteran Huey, a CH-21B “Workhorse” used for VIP transport, and a huge MH-53 Pave Low. Over the next couple of months we’ll profile some of these aircraft on the blog. Come visit the museum and see our helicopters and more!
One of my favorite helicopters is the HH-60G Pave Hawk. Pave Hawks fly out of Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Georgia, just a couple of hours south of the museum. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center’s Aerospace Sustainment Directorate provides cradle-to-grave acquisition and sustainment for all USAF helicopters, including the HH-60G. We don’t have a Pave Hawk at the museum, but go to Air Force.com to play at being both a pararescuemanand a pilot. Click on “Videos and More”; at the bottom under “Interactive Features,” scroll over to “Go on a Combat Search and Rescue Mission.” I played twice and my best score was 1108. You can do better, right? Let me know!
Just this morning three helicopters from the Georgia State Patrol landed here at the Museum. The pilots and crew were here for a conference. Of course, I was there also, watching them land and taking pictures the whole time. Hopefully I will be able to be there this afternoon as well, watching them lift off into the beautiful fall sky. For now here are some pictures after they landed.
– Submitted by Mike Rowland, Curator