Rotorfest 2006

West Chester, Pennsylvania

October 14-15, 2006

Airshow report uploaded on November 12, 2006.

One of the many airshows I attend year after year is Rotorfest, which highlights and specializes strictly in rotary winged aircraft, better known as helicopters.  Rotorfest takes place every October at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour away from where I live (and two hours away from Rutgers).  I have attended every Rotorfest since 2000, with the exception of 2005 because of high gas prices, and I enjoy the show year after year.  The main advantage that Rotorfest offers is the fact that the crowd can be very close to the helicopters - not only when they start up but also when they are flying.  There is no such thing as an aerobatic box at Brandywine Airport, only because the airspace surrounding the airport is very active and there is no way to conduct aerobatics from a safe distance away from the crowd (the 500 foot and 1,500 foot lines, if set up, would put airplanes flying over hangars and other airplanes).  Helicopter rides are offered every year at Rotorfest - this year two Bell 206s provided rides for anyone who wanted to go for a short hop in a helicopter.  I took advantage of it once again and flew in N404AD (which was the same helicopter that I went up in at the last show I attended, which was in 2004).  There really isn't much to say other than the ride was a nice change of pace (it was my third helicopter flight this year and I really wanted to go flying that day).

Putting together the show this year was David Schultz Airshows, who have put on every single Rotorfest since at least 1999.  David and his team were unable to use any grass areas or a chunk of concrete on the other side of Runway 9/27 because of liability issues with the companies who "own" the land.  That helped draw away a lot of the military participants, notably an Apache and a Cobra, as well as civillians such as the police choppers (Delaware State Police and Pennsylvania State Police) and news choppers (CBS3, NBC10) who have been regular Rotorfest airshow participants.  One of the highlights that returned in 2006 was the mass military departure, which consisted of a SH-60 Seahawk, the CH-47 Chinnok, the MH-53E Sea Dragon, and two Blackhawks from National Guard units in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.  The Chinnok even put on a miniature "demonstration", which involved keeping nose high on the runway for a minute or two, whipping up rotorwash and blowing everything at the crowd line back about 100 feet!

Weather-wise, Rotorfest had a much calmer wind than the twenty knot wind at New Castle the previous day.  It was still somewhat chilly, with the temperatures being in the fifties all day, but the sun helped warm things up in a chilly and somewhat breezy airshow day.  The Black Daggers were able to jump in the early afternoon and to close out the show in style, and helped to usher in the military helicopters' departures.  On a side note, there was a decent crosswind across Runway 9/27, which made it somewhat challenging for the fixed-wing aircraft and their pilots to land.  I do have plans on attending Rotorfest 2007!

Helicopters on Display at Rotorfest 2007 (not including the American Helicopter Museum)


Aircraft Squadron Home Base Registration Notes
Air Commander Autogyro        
Bell 47     N867Z  
Bell 47     N74004  
Bell 47     N100VB  
Bell 47     N4250A  
Bell 47     N202CH  
Bell 206     N206JR  
Bell 206     N404AD  
BK117 PennStar     Not in immediate static display
CH-47 Chinnok PA ArNG Fort Indiantown, PA 70116  
CH-146 Griffon     146423  
Enstrom F27     N66JV  
Enstrom F27     N280A  
Hughes 500        
MH-53E Sea Dragon HC-4 NAVSTA Norfolk, VA 162504  
MD-902 NOTAR SkyFlightCare      
Robinson R22     N2590W  
Robinson R44     N42VB  
SH-60F Seahawk     164070  
TH-57C SeaRanger TAW-5 NAS Whiting Field, FL 162043  
UH-60L Blackhawk PA ArNG Fort Indiantown, PA 0-23986  
UH-60L Blackhawk NC ArNG Fort Bragg, NC 0-??663  


Military Demonstration Teams

  • US Army SOC Black Daggers

Tentative Military Demonstrations

  • CH-146 Griffon Demonstration
  • HH-65 Dauphin SAR Demonstration
  • UH-60L Blackhawk Demonstration

Civillian Helicopters

  • Robinson R22 Demonstration
  • Bell 47G Demonstration
  • SkyCare MD-902 NOTAR Demo
  • Sky-Eye 3 News Chopper Demo (CBS-3 Philadelphia)
  • Helicopter Precision Flying Competition (Three Phases)

Participating Organizations

  • David Schultz Airshows
  • American Helicopter Museum & Education Center


Gates Open: 10:00 AM

Showtime: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Admission: $10 Adults, $5 Kids 5-12