Encounter With a Eurocopter EC135

A lot of what’s happening with AeroKnow Museum these days is shared at Facebook first, and via this blog second. If you use Facebook, search for the AeroKnow Museum page and “Like” it if you like it. Also search for Job Conger, Springfield, Illinois and become a Facebook friend for access to many airplane pictures shared at my personal galleries therein.

My daily schedule delivers me to AeroKnow Museum most mornings by 7 to 7:30 am where I continue setting things up and tending to matters demanding prompt responses. About 8:30 or 9:30 or 12:30, depending on the day of the week, I leave the Museum to work with my part-time employer. Typically, I return to the Museum by 2:30 or 5:30 and stay until I am so tired, all I can think of is supper and sleep, 7:30 to 8:30 at the latest. Sundays I try to be there 9 to 5:30. We will be open longer hours when we recruit volunteers to help, and if you’d like to volunteer, the numbers to call are 544-6122 – home — and 717-6308 — AeroKnow cell. There’s no voice mail at AeroKnow cell, so call home and leave a message if you like.

I once told a reporter I would no more consider going to an airport without my camera than I would consider going to an airport without my pants. I consider both necessary for the maximum enjoyment of the encounter. Thursday morning dawned sunny, a bright improvement over recent weather, and I decided to wear my pants and my camera out to the Museum at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.

Mornings are an especially sociable time at the FBO where the Museum is located. Many pilots arrive in their Cessna Citations and Piper Meridians to meet charter passengers, to refuel, are staging through the airport on their way to destinations beyond because they like the fabulous service and fuel prices, and are delivering owners/passengers with business in the city. People are sociable at this time because even if they departed, say Milwaukee or Toledo a few hours earlier in the day, they are generally rested and well fed, primed for the day ahead and friendly.

That’s how it was April 21 when two pilots with their names embroidered onto their jackets visited AeroKnow Museum about  7:30. I was organizing pictures when they came in and I stopped to show them around. They were with the Life Flight air medical transport company and flying a Eurocopter EC135 out to Oregon. The company flies BK-117s based in Springfield, and the crews are among the tops in the industry. When I asked if I could photograph their bird, they generously consented and added I’d have to be quick because they were taking off in five minutes. I gave them my color AeroKnow Museum visitor booklet and with their nod of approval to the gate guard at the service counter who pressed a button that unlocked the exit door, walked out onto the ramp with them.

The 135 has a fenestron (a shielded tail rotor) that reduces parasitic drag on the flying machine and reduces the risk of harm from persons or objects accidentally coming into contact.
crew As they continued the preflight checks, I returned to my office and added my telephoto lens for the following pictures. Note the level hover and very straight and level initial air taxi followed by the slight bank in the turn for their initial heading away from the airport.

I’ve taken enough pictures at my favorite airport to sense when the Illinois State Capitol Building, just a few miles away, is coming into the view finder, and I was ready for it.

Twenty minutes after the pictures were taken the blue sky had surrendered to gray overcast, and 30 minutes later I was driving to my part-time job. This was a lucky morning for me, and, I hope, for you as well.

CAVU and happy landings!

About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
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