Helicopter Day takes off in 2nd year
by Rachel Miller
June 01, 2013 11:56 PM | 3564 views | 3 3 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gwinnett County Police Officer and pilot Tim Beabout answers questions from Andrew Hammill, 4, and his father, Jeff, of Marietta, on Saturday during the Marietta Museum of History’s helicopter event.
Gwinnett County Police Officer and pilot Tim Beabout answers questions from Andrew Hammill, 4, and his father, Jeff, of Marietta, on Saturday during the Marietta Museum of History’s helicopter event.
MARIETTA — The sound of a swirling helicopter could be heard Saturday afternoon circling around the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History, a 15.5-acre park at the corner of Atlanta Road and South Cobb Drive.

The event showcased helicopters used in the metro Atlanta area by law enforcement, emergency medical services and the military.

Jan Galt Russell, director of operations for the museum, said storms at the beginning of May caused the event to be postponed.

She added the timing was better this weekend with fewer competing events and school out for summer.

“I think people are looking for things to do with kids to keep them busy,” Russell said.

Russell anticipated a much higher turnout than last year’s 600 participants, which was the event’s inaugural year.

“We didn’t want anything too huge on the first go-round,” Russell said.

Jennifer Schestopol, a Cobb County school teacher who lives in Smyrna, said it was her family’s first time attending Helicopter Day, but that they had previously come to the Aviation Wing for an airshow.

Schestopol’s family were some of the first people to strap in for the day’s biggest attraction.

Blue Ridge Helicopters sold 5-minute rides to Kennesaw Mountain for $40 per person.

Riders were unloaded and loaded in less than a minute out of a black Robinson helicopter that can carry three passengers, plus the pilot.

Maggie Schestopol, 7, shouted, “That was awesome!” after landing.

Organizers expected to have 90 to 100 riders Saturday, with 50 people signing up in the first hour.

Last year, Blue Ridge Helicopters donated $5 from each ticket to the Marietta Museum of History to help maintain the Aviation Wing.

Living history

Schestopol said she might bring her fifth-grade class back to the park, especially because many of them are from low-income families and have already expressed an interest in joining the armed services.

The Aviation Wing is open Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers group tours.

Planes are on permanent display from the U.S. Army and Airforce, and include a Mohawk from 1962 and a Lockheed JetStar that was once owned by Union Carbide Corp. and Kenny Rogers.

The JetStar was the first line of business planes, built in the 1960s and ’70s.

Cargo hatches and cockpit doors were open for participants to walk inside, and kids lined up to sit behind the controls.

Pilots and crew members were on hand to talk about the types of missions they complete and how the aircraft is controlled.

Oscar Johnson, 83, who lives in Kennesaw, asked Saturday morning if the organizers of the event would like him to share some expertise.

Johnson said he began his service history in 1948 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

He was a jump master for nine years.

During the Korean War, Johnson said he helped to drop CIA operatives behind enemy lines.

Johnson said he then went on to helicopter school and piloted 3,500 hours during the Vietnam War.

His military career ended after two years of flying Vice President Hubert Humphrey to his Minnesota home on weekends, Johnson said.
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June 08, 2013
Unfortunately this is the limited mindset of the teacher that referenced kids having fun on a helicopter ride to joining the armed forces because they are considered low income. I happened to have spoken with that teacher, and had i heard her state that, i would have addressed her. Especially in light of the fact that my child attends school in Cobb County. I come from low income and i own a Master's Degree. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Please Cobb County teachers...step it up (to those that are not), and please help these children to believe they can achieve anything they put their mind to doing. There is nothing wrong with joining the military. I have a son that joined the military, after he acquired his college degree, but for a teacher to refer to a person as joining the military by default, because they are low income...is sad. God bless!
North Cobb Resident
June 04, 2013
vary the route,

Have you flown in the helicopter from the Aviation Wing more than once and taken the exact same route? If not, then don't complain by trying to bust other people's bubble. If you have been to the Aviation Wing more than once to fly did you think about telling the pilot you have been up from that location previously and asked if he or she could take a different route like over toward the Big Chicken? When I went down there they told me the route they routinely fly covers about an eight to ten mile round trip that lasts about six to seven minutes, so I'm sure they wouldn't mind taking you a different way for the same amount of time as long as they remain north or west of Dobbins Air Reserve Base. One has to remember they are running a business and when they have fifteen to twenty or more people waiting in line to ride they have to keep their flight duration as close to the same as they can. By flying the same route it makes it much easier to do this.

vary the route
June 03, 2013
The helicopter tour needs to vary their route. Everybody already flew in a circle around the golf course. Yawn.
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