Sunday, June 19, 2011

HeliFest for the Father's Day Weekend

Ronan hanging out of the window of a monstrous CH47-D Chinook

Mom, Ronan and Nieve treated me to a fun Father's Day weekend filled with a little bit of everything I love - adventure, rest, and celebration. In addition to a couple of delicious dinners (masterfully prepared by friends) we took Saturday morning to check out an event happening at one of the kids favorite places to explore - The Hiller Air Museum.

Nieve was a little annoyed by the bright sunlight but she loved the helicopters.

This weekend was HeliFest where dozens of helicopters are on display for visitors to enjoy. In addition to the rotorcraft there were kids rides, a bouncy house, some food stands, and apparently a microbrew and wine festival (we left before they started to serve alcohol).

Classic Ronan. Always checking out the wheels... even at Helifest

The main attraction for Ronan and Nieve were the military helicopters that the servicemen made explorable for children. Several families (all at once) could pack into the enormous Chinook and Ronan was particularly fond of hanging out the window and running up and down the ramps. The National Guardsmen that brought the helicopter thought Ronan was a hoot and recommended he consider a career in the military, if only because he could play with such awesome machines.

Yep, this bird was big - really big

The rotors on the Chinook were so wide people took refuge from the sun underneath them (Mom and Nieve included)

There was also a not-quite-as-large medivac helicopter (a Seahawk) on display that was great for the kids to climb in. Ronan noted the ample space for "sick people" but was more interested in pulling levers and tugging at cables.

Ronan was excited by the MH-60S Seahawk medivac... it was impressive both inside and out

Ronan feeling a bit sad for the, 'sick people' who ride in the back

Nieve and Ronan spent the most time in a Huey, especially the one that was set up with jump seats facing outside of the side doors. We learned from the Marines that flew this bird that the Huey's are designed to accommodate a variety of configurations - Ronan and Nieve liked the 'slick' configuration where there were two large machine gun mounts on either side (sans guns) , most likely because the large mounts made for fun climbing.

Nieve and Ronan strapping into the jump seats in the UH 1Y Huey

The muchkins ready to man the machine guns... except there were no guns

My favorite was the HH-65 Dolphin (sadly Airwolf did not make it to the show)- it might be the sweet orange paint job or the fact that it excels at missions in bad weather, but it made me think that being a search and rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard might be the best 'adrenaline job" out there.

"This baby's sweet!"

A very pretty bird

It was a great start to a wonderful weekend - next time we need to have Uncle Danny with us to give us a more thorough tour of the rotorcraft. And a very happy father's day to all of you Dads!

Happy Father's Day Grandpa!


CalBadger said...

Thanks Erik--it was indeed a very happy Fathers Day! What a kick for all of you (especially Ronan) to get up close and personal with all those helos; Uncle Danny could really give Ronan an inspection of a Blackhawk or Apache--he might even let Ronan help break one down, part by part! The Coast Guard "Dolphin" is truly a sweet machine--we used to watch them take off and land at the USCG Rescue Station on San Diego Harbor, right across from Lindberg Field when you were young. We watched the "Perfect Storm" with Todd and Melissa Saturday night--those National Guard rescue guys sure could have used a HH-65 Dolphin instead of their Blackhawk!

Holly Teetzel said...

Nice trip for the kids. I love Nieve daintily sitting in the heli - so cute. And I can see that Ronan thoroughly enjoyed being in & on the big birds. Danny sent a foto of one one those huge machine guns that go on the mount - over 6 feet long too heavy for one person to carry. Just as well the guns were missing on Sat.!