Over 8,300 people attended the 8th annual Rotor Fest on October 11th and 12th, 2008. RotorFest is an All Helicopter family oriented Air Show that takes place at the Brandywine Airport (KOQN) in Chester County, Pa. The airport is home to the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center. The museum currently displays over 35 civilian and military helicopters, autogiros and convertiplanes. Showcasing the development and origins of rotary aircraft, it features hands-on-displays, exhibits, a restoration area and research library. Their mission is “to preserve for public enjoyment and education, the origins and developmental history of helicopters in the United States”. Just outside the main entrance is a Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, the third of only six prototypes built.
I have attended several previous RotorFests and the weather has always been spectacular! October in rural Brandywine presents fall foliage over rolling hills under a perfect blue sky. The air show featured ground displays and aerial demonstrations of civilian and military rotorcraft, along with two jumps by the US Army Black Daggers Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team. The price of the air show also included admission to the museum (normally $7.00) and an opportunity to view the first regional showing of the Helicopter Association International's production of: "Helicopters, A Day in the Life". Meanwhile outside, 763 enjoyed 15 minute helicopter rides that were available for hire during breaks in the show.
While most of the civilian owned aircraft appeared as scheduled, many of the military helicopters listed on the air show web site did not! I suppose that is indicative of reduced military budgets. The flying portion of the show was still a good mix of both. Civilian performers included demonstrations by a Bell 47 and 206, a Hughes 500, a Robinson R22, and a NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) MD-902. Along with the fore-mentioned civilian performers, the static display included two autogiros, a BK117 Pennstar and Skycare Medical helicopters, a F27 Enstrom, a Robinson R44 and a Schweizer S300C. Conspicuously absent this year were State Police and Coast Guard helicopters that have usually shown in the past.
The Military ground displays were comprised of two UH-1Ns from Andrews AFB,an SH-60B from NS Mayport, a CH-46E from NS Norfolk, a UH-60L from Salisbury, NC, and an AH-64, UH-60L and CH-47D, all from Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. Military flight demos were provided by National Guard CH-47s and UH-60s. In past years, Sunday’s show closer featured a mass fly-by and departure of the military helicopters. Unfortunately, with the reduced number of military birds on display this year, the mass fly-by never occurred! Rotor Fest 2009 is scheduled for October 10th and 11th. You can find out about that and more at: http://www.helicoptermuseum.org or www.Schultzairshows.com.
By Daniel O. Myers