Helicopter museum celebrating 20 years

Calling all helicopter enthusiasts: The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center (AHMEC) will mark its 20th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 5 until 8 p.m.

A diverse array of flying machines can be viewed at the

A diverse array of flying machines will be showcased at the American Helicopter Museum, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 27.

This event at one of the world’s only all-rotorcraft museums promises to enlighten and entertain, recognizing past industry accomplishments and introducing new museum additions, according to an AHMEC press release.

AHMEC’s history dates to 1993 when “spurred by the Philadelphia chapter of the American Helicopter Society, a number of rotary wing aviation pioneers and industry leaders discussed how to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American Helicopter Society and recognize the Delaware Valley as the cradle of rotary wing aviation in the United States,” Marc Sheffler, AHMEC board chairman, said in the release.

A new state-of-the-art theater will be on view during the 20th birthday celebration at the American Helicopter Museum.

A new state-of-the-art theater will be on view during the 20th birthday celebration at the American Helicopter Museum.

Peter Wright, president of Keystone Helicopters and a veteran of the famed Flying Tigers of World War II, was the driving force behind creating an all-helicopter museum. Two years of meetings followed to put all the logistics in place, locate a site, and raise funds. On Oct. 18, 1996, AHMEC’s doors opened to the public at what was formerly a manufacturing facility for MBB Helicopters adjacent to Brandywine Airport.

Two decades later, guests will enjoy light supper and libations by John Serock Catering during the 20th Anniversary Celebration. Major upgrades to the museum will be unveiled, including two new class/meeting rooms, an interactive exhibit in Pioneer Hall, comfortable Kids Helipad and fun Cobra Simulator. The versatile new state-of-the-art, 1250-square-foot theatre will be showcased with its flexible seating, drop-down multimedia screen, and computer capability with free WIFI access, the release said.

On view will be AHMEC’s latest acquisition: one of four rotors, hubs and trusses from the record-breaking human-powered helicopter, Atlas. The Atlas, designed and built by Canada’s AeroVelo, will be part of an upcoming interactive exhibit that will incorporate a stationary bicycle to reenact the dramatic flight that won the prestigious $250,000 American Helicopter Society Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Prize in 2013.

The cost is $50 per person, and tickets are available via PayPal on the website or by phone at 610-436-9600. Contact the museum or see the website at www.americanhelicopter.museum for more information. The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, is located at 1220 American Boulevard in West Chester.

 

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