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Rotors Over Mentone 2022

Event Speaker WIOE's Flyin' Brian Walsh and his daughter Brianna in front of "Lucy", Brian's Bell 47J Ranger.

Brian Walsh, guest speaker and a helicopter pilot, reflected on how he was introduced to aviation, his broadcasting career, his family, and his interest in helicopters. He also talked about how he found out about the 1957 Bell 47J that he purchased and that it was actually used on the Whirlybirds television program that ran over the airwaves from 1957 through the early 1960s. This aircraft was used at that time by National Helicopters out of California and would occasionally transport Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz who owned Desilu Productions. In addition to producing Whirlybirds, Desilu produced other television shows such as I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, and later Star Trek. He named his helicopter "Lucy" in honor of TV comedian Lucille Ball. The Whirlybirds television series which used both the Bell 47G-2 Trooper and the Bell 47J Ranger inspired many to become helicopter pilots.

Other main program participates included Dave Meredith who gave the invocation, the American Legion Post 49 Color Guard from Warsaw, and select band members of the Tippecanoe Valley High School (TVHS) under the direction of Janell Riner who played our national anthem and an additional featured band number. Before Flyin' Brian spoke, Museum Board Vice-President Brian Iddles asked veterans in attendance to stand so they could be recognized for their service to our nation.

Later in the afternoon, Jeff Jankovics from North Carolina gave a special talk about his RC Bell 47 helicopter that he brought, more on the Whirlybirds television series (the actors, the real pilots and helicopters used), Bell 47s used in some of the Hollywood movies with excerpts, and some of the Bell 47 simulations he has created. Jeff is a Bell 47 Helicopter Association (B47HA) Trustee. The Lawrence D. Bell Aircraft Museum is one of the members of Bell 47 Helicopter Association.

Cleveland Helicopter Services returned this year giving rides in their Enstrom 280FX. John Walker and American Huey 369 also returned giving membership rides in their Bell UH-1H following the program. Lutheran Air and Parkview Samaritan hospital helicopters were able to fly in for the event, Crews from each helicopter were on hand to spend some time answering questions with interested "Rotors" attendees. Oldies 101.1 WOIE broadcasted Live for most of the event. Food and drink were offered by the Museum at their food tent. The Museum's gift shop was open for those wanting to purchase a T-shirt, an aircraft model, or a toy for the kids. Admission to the event was free. Pictures taken at this year’s "Rotors" event can be viewed in our Image Gallery.

Below is a brief news article that covered a portion of the event:

"Flyin’ Brian Tells History Of ‘Lucy’ At Rotors Over Mentone" by Jackie Gorki from Times-Union Online, Warsaw IN