Friday, March 11, 2016

Grant County, Washington: Local pilots land helicopter at Moses Lake Christian Academy



MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake Christian Academy students enjoyed a rare treat Wednesday afternoon when a team of pilots from the Inland Helicopters school landed a helicopter on the school’s playground.

The Inland Helicopters program has worked out of Big Bend Community College (BBCC) for four years, according to pilot and U.S. military veteran Stephen Henry. Henry piloted the helicopter that landed at Moses Lake Christian Academy (MLCA) Wednesday afternoon in front of students and staff.

Unfortunately, Henry said, the Inland Helicopters program is on its way out of Big Bend. He said the end of the current quarter will mark the end of the program in Moses Lake. Starting in the fall, Inland Helicopter will be based at its new home at North Idaho College.

“A lot of rules changed with the VA and there wasn’t enough private pay,” Henry explained, “because for every five veterans we have to have one private pay. So it didn’t work out with the school. It’s unfortunate because it was a great place to fly. You guys have a lot of good flying weather here.”

Henry completed his training through the program at Big Bend and recently completed the necessary certifications to teach others to fly. During his time in the military, he was the recipient of three Purple Hearts.

Henry was accompanied by a team of fellow Inland Helicopters pilots, all three of which are military veterans. He said the program has drawn pilots from far and wide, including himself — he relocated from California for the schooling.

Wednesday, the Inland Helicopters team landed the helicopter on MLCA’s playground and then gave students the opportunity to check out the aircraft. Many took pictures with the pilots and the helicopter, and some lucky ones got to crawl into the helicopter.

Henry and his wife, Alecks, have children who are students at Moses Lake Christian Academy. Henry said bringing the students a helicopter demonstration was all about piquing students’ interests and teaching them about a world few get to be involved in.

“I thought it would be a nice time to bring a helicopter in and talk about it and just show the kids a helicopter. A lot of kids don’t get to see a helicopter,” Henry said. “I’m a big aviation enthusiast and I think if someone were able to bring a helicopter to school when I was a kid, it would have made a huge impression on me and what I wanted to do with my life.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.columbiabasinherald.com

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