Enstrom Among Select Few Helicopters in  Washington, D.C. Flyover

Enstrom Among Select Few Helicopters in  Washington, D.C. Flyover

Enstrom Among Select Few Helicopters in  Washington, D.C. Flyover

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation has the distinct honor of taking part in a general-aviation flyover of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The flyover was in commemoration of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)’s 85th anniversary.

The diverse group of aircraft included 15 chapters of planes, telling the story of GA in America, from aviation’s Golden Age and the postwar boom to modern business jets and wildfire-fighting airplanes. Of the sixty or so aircraft that participated, only three were helicopters, distinguishing Enstrom as part of a select company.

“AOPA sent us an invitation back in January,” says Enstrom chief commercial officer, Dennis Martin. “From there, I had to go through multiple briefings and background checks from the FAA and Secret Service. It was a fairly involved process.”

FAA personnel and AOPA staff timed the operation to the second, organizing the flight based on aircraft and pilot capabilities. Officials shut down Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for an hour to make way for the flyover.

Martin flew the Enstrom 480B from Menominee, MI, to Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland, where he then flew down the Potomac along the designated flyover route.

After reaching Roosevelt Island, Martin took a turn at the Lincoln Memorial, flew down Independence Avenue, and dipped south at the Hirshhorn Museum. Martin and his fellow aviators flew at an altitude of about 1000 feet, all just a half mile away from the White House, one of Washington, D.C.’s most restricted flight zones.

“It was surreal. Millions of people see these landmarks from the ground every year, but unless you’re the president, nobody gets to see them from the air,” says Martin. “And for the locals, they might typically only spot military aircraft or massive airliners in the airspace above D.C., so for 60 smaller airplanes and helicopters to fill the skies, it must have made for a unique and breathtaking experience.”

Following the flyover, Martin exited the restricted airspace and flew back up to Frederick. He recognized Enstrom’s participation in the flyover as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “But if AOPA ever hosts a celebration like this again, I’d accept an invitation in a heartbeat,” he adds. “My 11-year-old daughter had a blast flying alongside me.”

To watch a highlight reel from the event, visit https://youtu.be/kS-FBPPCjhU?feature=shared.