CFF’s Participation at Greenwood County Aviation Expo 2013 Described as “Big Hit”
Greenwood, S.C. (June 22, 2013) — The Greenwood County Air Expo 2013, held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the Greenwood County Airport, exhibited static airplanes, aerobotics, a car show and plenty of “Do Not Touch” signs.
But members of the CFF team — Larry Russell, Bob Decker, Jim Filiatreault and Jim Bresnay — took CFF’s AH-1F Cobra Gunship Helicopter, Annie, to the show, and apparently left their “Do Not Touch” Signs at home. The combat veterans invited everyone — children and adults — to jump into the helicopter’s cockpit to experience the complexity of a military combat helicopter, and hundreds of children did so. And several children climbed into the helicopter’s cockpit more than once!
“Our goal is to introduce aviation to the younger crowd to possibly ‘light a fire’ in their bellies and inspire them to fly or pursue another career in aviation, including aircraft maintenance,” said Larry Russell, a CFF Board Member and Cobra Helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.
All CFF members who participated in Greenwood County’s Aviation Expo are Vietnam veterans. In fact, all of them served in aviation units during the war.
“We all recognize our nation’s need for pilots as well as technicians to maintain them,” Russell said. “This trip to the Greenwood County Aviation Expo — like trips we make to other festivals, parades and schools — are part of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s ‘SOaR’ Program, which emphasizes the importance of staying in school and graduating, and the importance of studying STEM subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”
Stan Stockman, who chaired the event, said CFF’s participation was “a big hit.”
“I believe that the Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s partipation had to help stimulate children to become more interested in STEM subjects,” Stockman added. “I saw quite a few children and adults getting into the helicopter’s cockpit and sitting in the cockpit, and people standing in front of the helicopter getting their photos taken. And I thought that was amazing. It had to help inspire and motivate the children to pursue careers in aviation. Every child loves airplanes, and you can show them that their dreams are reachable with just a little hard work if you just spend a little time with them.”
For more information about CFF’s SOaR™ Program, please click here.