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ROTORCRAFT ROAD TRIP


ARTICLE, PHOTOS & VIDEO BY LYN BURKS


Going Backstage 2011 HELI-EXPO Fly-In


After landing on the big white H, we surface taxi the giant


Aircrane, also nicknamed Goliath, across the parking lot of the Orange County Convention Center. Just before the Erickson Aircrane ground marshalling guy puts his arms in the shape of a big X telling us to stop, the pilot not flying asks the pilot if he see’s the little tree on the right side to which he get’s an “affirmative” reply. As the parking brake and nose wheel locks are applied, Randy Erwin, Captain of the Goliath cracks the intercom and says, “not bad for a couple of old farts eh?” As for 42 other helicopters, the short hop from Orlando Executive


Airport to the landing area at the Orlando Convention Center is but one of many legs of this journey. It’s a journey that culminates in hel- icopters sitting pretty on the show floor of Heli Expo 2011. As an attendee and exhibitor of HELI-EXPO for many years, I


took all those shiny helicopters sitting on the show floor for granted. Naturally, it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out they were flown to the event and pushed into the hall. However, I found myself won- dering just how much effort, how many processes, and how many peo- ple had to be thrown into the front and back ends of the show to pull it off safely. With the obvious goal of the entire effort being SAFETY, the


biggest assets for the leaders of this parade are organization and com- munication skills.


SAFETY, SCHMAFETY IT ALL STARTS WITH ORGANIZATION!


If you were asked to sit down and organize a list of all items that


must be considered in order to pull off such an event, you would most likely start off with the obvious big ticket items; how many helicopters, space available to land, space available in show hall, insurance, local weather patterns, legal authorizations and so on. However, once you dive from the high level issues and down into the weeds, one quickly gets the gist of the cliché phrase, “the devil is in the details”.


Inside the Aircrane turning final into the Orange County Convention Center. Photo: Lyn Burks


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