By By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large | November 11, 2014
|Attendees at Rotorfest 2014. Photo by Ernie Stephens|
The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center (AHMEC) in West Chester, Penn. attracted a crowd of rotorcraft enthusiasts to its annual RotorFest event October 11 and 12. Young and old, industry professionals and the curious alike, endured Saturday’s drizzle and reveled in Sunday’s clear skies to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere around AHMEC’s hangar and ramp area located on the north side of Brandywine Airport (KOQN).
The guest thrilled to a dramatic re-enactment of a helicopter “dust off” by the Sky Soldiers, complete with a Huey Cobra providing simulated suppression fire for its sister ship, a UH-1 Huey, landing amid U.S. and Vietnamese troops on the airport’s runway.
Comic book heroes Batman and Robin brought their Batmobile and Batcopter, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team performed several precision jumps.
Visitors could inspect the 30+ full-size, history-making helicopters and autogyos on display at the museum, including a CH-46 Sea Knight, Piasecki PV-14/HUP-2, Boeing 360 and Gyrodyne QH-50C UAV. A Hughes 269 and 369, specially modified for children to climb aboard, gave youngsters a chance to feel what it’s like to be a chopper pilot without ever leaving the ground.
The museum’s staff, however, is particularly proud of its Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor, which graces the apron behind the facility. It is the third of six of the original prototypes, and is believed to be the only one on display at any museum in the world.
“We are very excited about the success of the event. And it was an exhilarating air show,” said Robyn Morgan, the museum’s marketing director. “We appreciate the sponsors and community for all of their support.”
Helicopter professionals and researchers are encouraged to visit AHMEC’s archives and library throughout the year. It contains a variety of original aircraft manuals, engineering data and textbooks on the subject of rotorcraft. The late helicopter aerodynamicist Ray Prouty was so impressed by AHMEC’s work, he left the contents of his personal library to the museum for others to use.The American Helicopter Museum operates totally on contributions. To learn more about its collection, plan a visit, or make a donation, go to their web site at www.americanhelicopter.museum.