The Rotor & Wing Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rotorandwing) recently topped 10,000 fans. As a sign of appreciation to those who have made this milestone possible, I’d like to dedicate this column to sharing some of my favorite comments to two recent questions that garnered a high number of responses. Feel free to join us as well on Twitter (twitter.com/rotorandwing) and LinkedIn, with more than 2,300 group members: www.linkedin.com/groups/Rotor-Wing-3788071
Question 1: What is your favorite childhood memory involving a helicopter?
Lindy DeMunbrun: Flying below the rim at Grand Canyon delivering medical supplies, mail and groceries then picking up the other kids for school. And the early Flight for Life program out of Vegas always came out and gave the park service kids rides and fly-outs for birthdays.
Sirajuddin Kamaruddin: S-61 landed in front of my balcony when I was just five years old. What an experience!
Arthur C. Fisher: I recall watching the TV flutter roll in during the evening as the signal of our antenna being disturbed by Sikorsky aircraft returning from their Stratford home base. No cable back then.
Cathie Opland: Reading about the history of helicopters at the library and thinking how incredible the idea was. Best invention EVER! I’ve had dreams of flying ever since I can remember.
James McCaffrey: When you work with helicopters, you never need to grow up, so all memories are childhood memories.
Josh Michael: Getting up at 3:00 am on Saturday mornings for “Fed-Ex” patrol with my dad. He operated Sterling Helicopter in Philadelphia, and we’d take the LongRanger, fly to the airport, land next to the FedEx Boeing 747 and load priority packages into the 206-L. Then land at hotel heliports around N.J. and Philly to meet FedEx trucks.
Aaron Osgood: Riding in a Bell 47 being used for aerial pesticide and herbicide application on the family potato farm in northern Maine (late 70’s, early 80’s).
Rorique A Vernon II: As a military brat, I remember my parent’s medical squadron picnic in Germany. We had to clear the helipad for a UH-60 to drop off a patient part of the way through.
Mike Nolan: My father worked for the post office in the 50’s. One of his duties was to meet an LA Airways S-55 when it landed at the Victory-Vanowen Park heliport in north Hollywood. He would take the mail they brought from Terminal Annex. I loved going with him to watch them land. That spot is now the 170 Hollywood Freeway.
Mohd Arief: My dad is a helicopter pilot and I liked to follow him for a maintenance ground run for an S-61N during the night time. That’s a sweet memory for me until today.
Thomas Varg: I was 12. A police helicopter landed in the area that I lived in when I was young. I went crazy for helicopters after that. Ryan Potter: My first ride in an MD530!
Mark Sales: A number of flights to/from Kuparuk Oil Camp and Pingok Island, Alaska in 1985, to include a Grizzly bear up close, set the hook. Actually I was hooked from the first hover. I’ve always thought I’d meet up with that unknown pilot somewhere.
Question 2: How and why did you fall in love with helicopters?
John Lovell: Because they are the proverbial magic carpet.
Philippe Boulay: I was eight, and saw a H-21 of French ALAT landing in the pasture owned by my father behind our house, in a village in the center of France. It was an extraordinary experience: the wind, the noise. An engine problem had occurred and the crew had to phone to their base. They phoned at our home and after they showed the machine to us. Fabulous From that moment, I was an addict!
Juan Gutierrez: Always wanted to fly, helicopters are more interesting and challenging than fixed-wing aircraft, and the things that I have done in a helicopter you can never do in a plane. That is why I love them!
Troy Peterson: Not sure – only that my parents told me that even when I was toddler I was fascinated with them. I am 50 this month and even though I can pretty much name the model by only sound, I still run outside to look in the sky at them as they fly by anywhere I may be. I am a maintainer and not a pilot. Still have a lifelong dream of flying them though, just never the means to do so!
Bruce Couillard: I fell in love with the collective.