>Wings Over Houston
Posted by PA3 Richard Brahm, Monday, November 1, 2010
Aerial acrobatics aren’t the only attraction that the airshow offers. Some people will debate what the highlight of the airshow really was:
- Was it the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, piloting F-16C Fighting Falcons who almost always blow the crowds away with low altitude fly overs?
- Or perhaps the demonstrations of the Heritage Flight, a C-17 Globemaster III, the A-10 Warthog demonstration team or the U.S. Navy F/A18-C Hornet?
- Maybe it was the new comers to the airshow this year? A cargo drop demonstration from a C-130 cargo plane or the Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car, which can hit a speed of 400 mph in eight seconds and not leave the ground.
- Or maybe it was the main attraction “ TORA! TORA! TORA! ” which is a re-enactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 and the subsequent entrance of the U.S. into World War II? The demo involved 12 vintage aircraft, including 8-10 Japanese Zeros, Vals and American fighter and bombers.
The Coast Guard rescue crew performed some routine procedures for a search and rescue operation.
- Fly-by and evaluation of the survivor, who was center field on the runway.
- The survivor would pop smoke.
- Establish a 100 foot hover.
- Call for direct deployment of the rescue swimmer.
- Deploy swimmer, quick strop of the survivor.
- Swimmer comes up into the cabin with survivor.
- Boom stowed, ready for forward flight.
- Transition out of a hover to forward flight, circle around for final fly-by followed by full stop landing to the Coast Guard ramp.
Lt. Cmdr. Todd Fisher, a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot at Air Station Houston, said “When I was a kid I was the one in the crowd trying to get all the autographs of the pilots at airshows, they were my childhood hero’s, so to have the opportunity to perform in one as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot it’s truly a dream come true!”
Not only did the Coast Guard rule the “air” they also dominated the ground. Coast Guard Station Freeport loaded up a 25-foot Response Boat – Small and drove down to Houston to setup a static display for the airshow.
“Prior to the flight I think the entire crew had a few butterflies but once we got in the aircraft it was business as usual,” said Fisher. “Nothing special, we performed a standard hoist scenario, something we train for constantly and strive to be the best at every day.”
Story by PA3 Richard Brahm. Photos by PA3 Richard Brahm, PA2 Renee Aiello and Chris Ebdon.