Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Winston-Salem Airshow - Our Helicopter Ride

Last weekend we went to the Winston-Salem Airshow at the Smith-Reynolds Airport. Andy, Karol, and I got to do something we'd never done before! Ride in a HELICOPTER! We had a top notch camera crew, so movies are available for your viewing pleasure, THANKS to PAPA JOHN! While we were waiting for our flight to be called, we watched a Harrier Jet take off. Now that's an amazing aircraft. We also watched a ton of stunt pilots in little planes doing absolutely crazy stuff. At one point we watched an F-18 scream by. Karol reported that it seemed to startle Holly, because she started kicking around after that big noise. The F-18 actually went by, and then the sound caught up with it -- man they are loud!

Here we are at the briefing station. Recieving instructions for pre-flight, flight, and post-flight behavior. Pre-flight instructions -- which side of the aircraft each of us were going to sit, how to duck and hold your hat. Flight instructions --DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! Post-flight instructions -- Wait for the flight crew to open the doors. Per the FAA, passengers are not allowed to open any door. Our briefing guy told us his son is 14 and has been flying helicopters for 2 years. So I guess they let 12 yr olds fly these things?

Takeoff -- This is the first time I have ever been in a helicopter. It's amazingly smooth, sort of like floating as you take off. We gained altitude quickly, and I could see my office and where it is in the surrounding neighborhood. The city of Winson-Salem was spread out right there in front of us. We headed for Winston Tower, the RJR Building, and the Wachovia Building, which we call the Chapstick Building, because it's rounded top makes it looks like a giant lip balm.

After skirting downtown, we circled and headed back for the airfield. I watched cars moving along Liberty Street. In a helicopter you have the opportunity to really watch what is going on down on the ground. Off in the distance we could see the runways on the airfield. We could see still more planes doing stunts. We landed around 4:00, and the airshow was over shortly after that.

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