West Chester, Pennsylvania
October 14-15, 2006 Airshow report uploaded on November 12, 2006.
Airshow report uploaded on November 12, 2006.
One of the many airshows I attend year after year is Rotorfest, which highlights and specializes strictly in rotary winged aircraft, better known as helicopters. Rotorfest takes place every October at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour away from where I live (and two hours away from Rutgers). I have attended every Rotorfest since 2000, with the exception of 2005 because of high gas prices, and I enjoy the show year after year. The main advantage that Rotorfest offers is the fact that the crowd can be very close to the helicopters - not only when they start up but also when they are flying. There is no such thing as an aerobatic box at Brandywine Airport, only because the airspace surrounding the airport is very active and there is no way to conduct aerobatics from a safe distance away from the crowd (the 500 foot and 1,500 foot lines, if set up, would put airplanes flying over hangars and other airplanes). Helicopter rides are offered every year at Rotorfest - this year two Bell 206s provided rides for anyone who wanted to go for a short hop in a helicopter. I took advantage of it once again and flew in N404AD (which was the same helicopter that I went up in at the last show I attended, which was in 2004). There really isn't much to say other than the ride was a nice change of pace (it was my third helicopter flight this year and I really wanted to go flying that day).
Putting together the show this year was David Schultz Airshows, who have put on every single Rotorfest since at least 1999. David and his team were unable to use any grass areas or a chunk of concrete on the other side of Runway 9/27 because of liability issues with the companies who "own" the land. That helped draw away a lot of the military participants, notably an Apache and a Cobra, as well as civillians such as the police choppers (Delaware State Police and Pennsylvania State Police) and news choppers (CBS3, NBC10) who have been regular Rotorfest airshow participants. One of the highlights that returned in 2006 was the mass military departure, which consisted of a SH-60 Seahawk, the CH-47 Chinnok, the MH-53E Sea Dragon, and two Blackhawks from National Guard units in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The Chinnok even put on a miniature "demonstration", which involved keeping nose high on the runway for a minute or two, whipping up rotorwash and blowing everything at the crowd line back about 100 feet!
Weather-wise, Rotorfest had a much calmer wind
than the twenty knot wind at New Castle the previous day. It was still
somewhat chilly, with the temperatures being in the fifties all day, but the sun
helped warm things up in a chilly and somewhat breezy airshow day. The
Black Daggers were able to jump in the early afternoon and to close out the show
in style, and helped to usher in the military helicopters' departures. On
a side note, there was a decent crosswind across Runway 9/27, which made it
somewhat challenging for the fixed-wing aircraft and their pilots to land.
I do have plans on attending Rotorfest 2007!
Helicopters on Display at Rotorfest 2007 (not including the American Helicopter
Museum) Military Demonstration Teams Tentative Military Demonstrations Civillian Helicopters Participating Organizations Announcer: Gates Open: 10:00 AM Showtime: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Admission: $10 Adults, $5 Kids 5-12
Air Commander Autogyro
Not in immediate static display
Fort Indiantown, PA
MH-53E Sea Dragon
NAVSTA Norfolk, VA
NAS Whiting Field, FL
Fort Indiantown, PA
Fort Bragg, NC
Helicopters on Display at Rotorfest 2007 (not including the American Helicopter Museum)
Military Demonstration Teams
Tentative Military Demonstrations
Gates Open: 10:00 AM
Showtime: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Admission: $10 Adults, $5 Kids 5-12