For those of you who feel the need to criticize the Civil Defence guy who was apparently overzealous about keeping people away from the helis, please bear in mind that he was ordered to do so. My experience, as a former Donner, was that people, at airshows/air displays/public events,even well-intentioned ones, tend to touch/pick/pull at the aircraft as if it was an unusual toy.It's quite common to find panels open, safety equipment disturbed,etc, if the public are given free rein. People, especially kids, are fascinated by aerials and pitot tubes(are they guns, mister?!) and feel the need to pull out of them. Parents do not like it when the apples of their eye are cautioned against swinging out of an aerial or hanging off a pylon. I've lost count of the times I've had an earful from the punters along the line of "..he's not doing any harm....I'm a taxpayer, it's my right to climb inside it....". At Salthill, I saw at least two adults trying to turn the tail rotor blades of the EC-135. They had absolutely no business touching the rotors and I would have had no restraint in giving them a bollocking if I was minding the helicopter. I also saw the sullen faces and heard the effing when the Civil Defence had to clear the park before take-off. It's a lot better for everybody's sake if the public are kept away from direct contact with the aircraft, except where they can be controlled. As for taking photographs, try asking nicely and having a little patience. I've seen too many photographers react as if their photo was absolutely the most critical thing in the universe. Sorry to be a bit shirty about this but the safety of the aircraft takes precedence over all.
We are asked by the Heli crews tp keep the people away from the machines as they had to operate in and out of the park quite a lot on the day. The Civil Defence are without a doubt the best organisation in the Country they will do anything for you and belive or not they came from all over the Country just to be part of the show, so they are the real unsung heros of Salthill 2006.
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