I Like Helicopters

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.

A UH-1N Huey (left) and an AH-1W Super Cobra hover taxi on the Robins AFB flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp.)

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!

The Museum of Aviation’s CH-21B “Workhorse” is on display in the Scott Exhibit Hangar.

 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!

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 41st Rescue Squadron hovers overhead as pararescuemen rescue a simulated downed pilot at Moody Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman)

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.

Three Georgia State Patrol helicopters: a Bell 206 in the front and two Bell 407s lined up behind it.
A Georgia State Patrol Bell 407 rests in front of the Museum of Aviation.

 Whop-whop-whop…

 – Submitted by Mike Rowland, Curator

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6 thoughts on “I Like Helicopters

  1. I enjoyed my helicopter technician ( 5 different airframes) career of 38 years in the USAF. In the 50’s my father would take me and my younger brother to the airshows and was always amazed by the helicopters and did not understand what made them fly. He past on at a young year in the 60’s and i was not able to explain to him how. I had join the USAF in 1971. But yes, i see why it would not be understanding unless you went to school on subject. Started on HH-43’s,HH-53’s,UH-1N’s,HH-3E’s and HH-60G’s.

  2. Spent 8 years working on the MH-53J/M’s at DEPOT and enjoyed working on them, it was someone over 30 years old you could TRUST…

  3. Nice article! I would like to add that during the 1050s, there was a television program called WHIRLYBIRDS that starred Kenneth Tobey and Craig Hill as two commercial helicopter pilots for hire. They flew a Bell Jet Ranger, and the traditional Bell 47G3B1 (the helicopter with a glass bubble). It was a great program in its day.

    1. Yes i remember, my father started to watch it an d i got hook on it. LOL Did not want to miss the next episode. They sure don’t make good programs for todays tv. Even tho me and my brothers were outside all day being creative in what we could find ie, carving a gun/rifile out of wood, using old skates for a small wooden go cart. LOL You would not find kids doing that of today, mostly on ther IPOD’s or Laptops.

  4. For as long as I can remember I have been facinated by aircraft and the military. I have a collection of diecast helicopters – my prized possessions being the CH-47 and AH-64. When I lived in a garrison town in northern Queensland Australia, I would scramble outside at the sound of a Chinook or Blackhawk just to get a good look. When the copper chopper flies around I go out on my front lawn to watch it fly over (even in the dead of night). The last time we had a bushfire close by I followed the helitanker around the suburb in my car just to get a glimpse of it up close. I love helicopters. Don’t know why.
    All this probably wouldn’t sound so disturbing if it was coming from a young boy instead of a middle-aged woman!!!

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