As President I would like to take this leadership opportunity to speak directly to our members, as many of the callers have encouraged me to do so, about our Heli-Expo appearances. As many members know, we have the past Bell 47 gurus and leaders from Bell Helicopter/Textron Company to thank for our past Heli-Expo attendances, BHT supported, provided, and appreciated the appearances fully. “Why?”
- First, B47HA drew large crowds to BHT’s Dallas, Vegas, Anaheim, Houston, & Orlando displays. “Why?”
- As President, I for one, enjoyed meeting members and older pilots who related and appreciated how B47HA took an active leadership role to basically protect the legacy of the 47 from scam artists for the past 15 years. Many of those members recounted how much it meant to them to speak with someone on the phone during a sleepless night. Some stopped by and wanted to personally thanked us for the cash and parts we recovered for them by serving them in the role as a “Powerful Consumer Group.” This influence kept bad vendors from abusing our members and strengthened good reputable vendors and schools by the use of our mega website’s vendor review page and our consistent reputation for fairness.
- Special visits to our displays from our contingent of members who are federal, state, and county law enforcement officials still are appreciated by Danny and I who are also former police officers. Their stories of how the Bell 47 paved the way for future protection of our public have created a camradery that will not be forgotten.
- To many visitors, B47HA served as a linkage to their past and their memories of “The Helicopter that Saved so Many Lives – The Bell 47,” and for some – saved their own lives, on the battlefield or after an accident, because of the fact that “The Bell 47 was the original – Angel of Mercy.”
- As one of the stars of our spokesmen “The Whirlybirds,” I was humbled by fans, of the original popular 1950’s Bell 47 TV series, relating how the show inspired them to become – pilots & mechanics.
- A large number of visitors too who attended the shows remember the lengthy lines of people who waited just to be able to speak with our B47HA leaders about their relationship with “The Harley Davidson of Helicopters – The Bell 47.” I always got a kick out of competitive helicopter manufacturers cruising by and smiling in respect at the long lines.
- Many of those pilots who visited with us at the show have earned a place of honor – on our B47HA memorial wall and – will not been forgotten.
- As a parent and grandfather, I was thrilled to introduce a new generation of countless children, who attended the shows, to the “Bubble” helicopter that I too met in the 1950’s.
- Final thought: times change, leaders change, but legends live forever – so will the original Bell 47. Joey Rhodes