The American Heroes Air Show returned home to Hansen Dam, outside Los Angeles, California, on November 4th, with its 30th show. This annual show has grown to become the nation’s premier helicopter aviation experience, designed to educate the public, media, and community about rotary-wing aviation’s diverse capabilities.
This year’s show included a wide variety of public resources, including law enforcement, public safety, search and rescue, firefighting, homeland security, and private operators who brought helicopters to the event.
American Heroes’ mission for each show continues to be to educate, communicate, and demonstrate the dynamic capabilities of rotary-wing aviation to the public, media, and community officials. Over its many years of operation, this mission has widened.
The Heroes Air Show featured the Code3 Career Expo as an additional aspect of the show. This expo allowed diverse recruiting teams from law enforcement, fire/community safety, the military, and homeland security to showcase their agencies to prospective employees considering employment in the para-public sector.
Another unique aspect of the Heroes event is the involvement of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The agency hosts a special naturalization ceremony where members of our communities spend their first day as American citizens at the American Heroes Air Show.
Agencies from as far as San Diego County participated in the show, and agencies local to the Los Angeles County area, the Los Angeles County Alta Dena station, and Santa Clarita search and rescue teams were also in attendance this year. Helicopters began arriving at 7 am and continued for several hours until the show opened at 9 am.
Once the gates opened, attendees had the opportunity to speak with air crews, see the aircraft up close, and, in some cases, be able to sit in the rear passenger compartment to get a feel of what day-to-day life is like as a helicopter crew member, giving some their first up close and personal experience in a helicopter. Some agencies even provide equipment for attendees to try on aviation safety equipment such as helmets and everyday mission equipment of flight crews. Various agencies arrived with swag in hand that included shirts, patches, and other memorabilia for attendees to remember their visit to the show.
In addition to the static displays and career expo, two Robinson R44 aircraft were on hand to provide attendees with an aerial view of the show, which continues to be a highlight for many taking their first helicopter ride.
In addition to multiple Blackhawks, Bell 412s, Super Hueys, and other diverse aircraft in attendance at this year’s show, one particularly rare aircraft on display was the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society’s restored Bell 47G helicopter. This year, the aircraft was displayed for the first time at the American Heroes show. This aircraft is no longer airworthy, so it is transported to public relations events on a trailer and has not been flown in more than four years.
This aircraft is used as a piece of living history for the Los Angeles Fire Department and a great piece of aviation history for aviation enthusiasts to see up close after it was restored to near-new condition through an extensive effort by the historical society that wanted to showcase one of the agency’s first firefighting aviation assets to the community.
The American Heroes Air Show is only possible with the hard work and dedication of the volunteers behind the scenes who help bring the show to the public every year. Those volunteers include dedicated professionals like Air Boss Dave Andrews and his ground crew, who managed arrivals and departures safely throughout the show. Their coordination and efforts kept everyone safe, contributing to a successful show, from spectators to the crews. The show is further assisted in its execution every year by volunteer event director Steve Goldsworthy, who has directed the entire event for many years, and American Heroes founder and president Jim Paules, who founded the organization more than 30 years ago and has brought the show to states like California, Georgia, Texas, and Florida over the last three decades.
“It was a true privilege to be in Los Angeles where the American Heroes Air Show was born in order to celebrate our 30th event anniversary and carry forward our mission to educate the community, the media and elected officials about the critical role rotary-wing aviation plays in sustaining our communities,” said Paules.
The American Heroes Airshow continues to be a must-attend event year after year for those in the aerial firefighting or the public safety aviation sector for attendees and aviation operations alike.