things a helicopter shouldn’t, pilot Chuck Aaron puts the
Red Bull helicopter through its paces. Photo by DeKevin
boy, Chuck Aaron had a recurring dream.
would wake up, get on my magic carpet, fly out the window, and take
off," he said. "Then just before my mom would come in to
wake me up, I’d fly back in and jump into bed."
days, Aaron’s magic carpet is a little bit larger and colored red,
white, black, and yellow. He’s the sensation behind the Red Bull
Aerobatic Helicopter, the only aerobatic helicopter performing in
North America. When not performing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this
week, the BO-105 CBS helicopter, a stock Eurocopter/Messerschmitt
Boelkow Blohm, is displayed on AeroShell Square.
said he became interested in aviation from his father, who flew
fixed-wing aircraft in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
Although he said he has always liked airplanes, Aaron’s love has
always been helicopters. "It’s a 3-D type of flying, up and
down and like being on a magic carpet. Airplanes are beautiful, but
they aren’t as much fun."
is an interesting way to put it.
his show, Aaron takes the helicopter through a series of aerobatic
maneuvers previously achieved only in fixed-wing aircraft such as
loops and rolls, the split-S, Immelmann, and the half-Cuban-eight.
The one comment heard repeatedly as he performs is this: a
helicopter shouldn’t be able to do that.
said his favorite maneuver is the Chuckcevak, which is the lomcevak,
an end-over-end tumble, slightly modified for the helicopter.
approval from the FAA to fly the maneuvers took one and one-half
years, Aaron said. Engineers gathered and studied test data, and
finally agreed that the Red Bull helicopter could fly aerobatics
with the modifications made. "The modifications are what make
it safe," he said, noting the rigid rotor head is key.
is the only pilot certificated in the United States by the FAA to
perform aerobatics in a helicopter and its classification as an
said he takes his knowledge to the limits. While the helicopter can
carry a load of positive 3.1Gs and negative 1.0G, during the show
Aaron keeps it between 0G and 2.7G. Why the difference?
getting smoother at it," he said.
practices two to three times a week and generally flies about 25 air
shows a year. This is the first time Aaron and the Red Bull
helicopter have been to AirVenture. "It’s much larger than I
thought," he said.
is as energetic as the routine he flies. "I am high energy
because this is fun and a mental challenge. Every flight is a
has been flying helicopters for 35 years and has logged more than
18,000 hours. And while helicopters will always be his favorite, he
admits he has his eye on a few airplanes at Oshkosh. "I’d
love to take off in the F-22 or the U-2. They look really exciting
Aaron said he performs at Oshkosh and other air shows for one
reason—kids. "The reason I do this is so that young kids will
think outside the box and realize that if I can do it, they can
dream it. Today’s young children have computer brains that are 100
times faster…I just hope I inspire them."