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Heroes Air Show Returns to Hansen Dam PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 03:07

Event Features Unique Helicopter Displays

One of the most unique events held every year in the San Fernando Valley returns after a one-year hiatus. American Heroes Air Show is this Saturday, June 30, at the Hansen Dam Sports Complex in Lake View Terrace.

Last year, the show was cancelled because it was scheduled July 16, the same weekend authorities closed the San Diego (405) freeway for repairs, leading to the so-called "Carmageddon."

But the free event returns this year to put on a display of military, law enforcement and rescue helicopters that usually attracts thousands of people.


"It's a unique air show for several reasons. First, we don't have this event at an airport, and we feature exclusively helicopters," said Jim Paules, the show's organizer since 1993.

"It was difficult to convince people at first that an air show with only helicopters could be a successful event. My wife calls it the hobby that's gone out of control," said Paules, who begins organizing the show in January and presents it in communities around the country every year.

More than 28 helicopters will be featured in this year's event, including the "Pavehawk" Sikorsky helicopter from the U.S. Air Force Search and Rescue unit "that's uniquely configured to provide combat search and rescue operations behind enemy lines," Paules said. Also on display will be a classic Bell-47, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 "Dolphin" helicopter, and several other aircraft.

Something that separates this show from similar events is that spectators often get to be up close and personal with the helicopters and their crew.

"This is an opportunity to meet these crews and, many times, they let the kids inside unless they have special instruments," said Paules, who works in real estate but has had a "passion for flying" for many years.

"The purpose is to show people the unique value and capabilities of these aircrafts and crews, especially here in California where we have wildfires and other disasters, where these crews and aircrafts are vital," he noted.

The first year the event was put on in Santa Monica. But for the past several years it's been held at the Hansen Dam Sports Complex, which offers plenty of free parking and space for the attendees to enjoy the show.

As in the past, there will also be aerial demonstrations.

"We'll have a hoist rescue and a precision water drop demonstration," Paules said.

In addition, those who want to experience flying in a helicopter can do so as well. Adventure Helicopter Tours will offer seven-minute flights at $45 per seat.

There will be other displays of military and law enforcement vehicles, equipment and resources. And federal, state, regional and local organizations will set up booths to meet the community and offer career information and personal insights about their organization's mission in today's dynamic world of homeland security and safety, entrance testing schedules and hiring criteria, plus specialized training programs, salary and benefit levels.

Another interesting feature of the show is the presence of a Secret Service team, and a display of a presidential limousine. The Federal Bureau of Investigations will also showcase an evidence recovery team, and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will demonstrate a bomb robot.

Providing entertainment and information are only part of the show's purpose. The real mission is for people to meet the "real heroes you can look up to here in California," Paules said.

"You may see this aircraft for 30 seconds on TV during a fire, but at our event, you may get up close and shake the pilot's and the crews' hands and thank them for their service."

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 03:10