“I’m left in awe at the caliber of people that we have and have
encountered,” said Empire Hobby’s Jack Burnside. “This heli community
contributes to the passion of youth regardless of age.” (L-R) JC Zankl,
Michael Robinson, and Brandon Still lift (L-R) Shayan Sakkaria and Zaid
Still up in the air after Shayan flew his first-ever flight at the IRCHA
Jamboree’s Show Center. See the text for the story.
Rebecca and Nathan Essex, of Bowling Green
OH, renewed their wedding vows IRCHA-style.
Rebecca promised to learn to love all of Nathan’s
helicopters and not criticize his flying or crashing;
Nathan promised to keep his helis and tools
in their right place, not brag that his flights
were epic, and always keep his thoughts about
Rebecca, even at the flying field. Andy Panoncillo
officiated, while the Gaui flight team served as
best men and women.
parts for future use.” Shayan was not only invited to sit with
the Gaui team during their demonstration, he was also given
the chance to fly, putting up a very smooth 5-minute flight.
“The crowd cheered him so much, it was so memorable,”
Kader said. “The Gaui team picked Shayan and Zaid [Still] up
for a picture. We all will remember the picture forever.”
Shayan also received a field representative position from OXY
Heli, and was invited to watch the company’s demonstrations as
Kader praised both helicopter teams and the event. “IRCHA
2016 gave Shayan such an experience and showed him how to
be helpful and humble. It gave him a larger family that he can
count on for anything. [It] helps us get through tough times
and [teaches] us [that] nothing is permanent in this life.”
IRCHA is not only about “second” families, but also real
families and bringing them together. Many pilots attend
IRCHA as a way of bonding with their families. Steve
O’Connor, and his wife, Sharon, decided to make a last-minute
flight from San Francisco, California, to visit and surprise
friends they’ve made throughout the helicopter community.
Steve didn’t bring anything to
fly—he and Sharon just wanted
to be there among friends.
This was Emily Stark’s third
IRCHA Jamboree that she has
attended with her husband, Jim. “It’s my heli family, my
friends, a gathering of minds alike,” she said. “I come every year
for the fun, the fellowship, and the general insanity. [It] means
vacation—an escape from the everyday.”
Bob Heister has attended IRCHA every year since 2012 and
sees it as a chance to hang out with friends and make new ones.
But it’s also a great bonding experience and “good, quality time
with family since I get to do it every year with my two sons.”
IRCHA can also mean wedding time! Rebecca and Nathan
Essex renewed their wedding vows Saturday evening on the
flightline. No dressing up in white and black for this couple; they
wore their red Gaui shirts in support of their favorite brand and
sponsored team and sported Gaui Velcro straps as rings.
Many IRCHA participants appreciated the lower attendance
this year and felt that the event was more laid back and
relaxed. Steve O’Connor thought it was the perfect size, citing
there was a great combination of demonstrations and time to
fly with friends. Other pilots thought the lower attendance
and fewer vendors produced a different vibe, but Joe Reyes
believes that, “like all things, there is an ebb and flow; we just
happen to be in the ebb at the moment. Everything goes in
cycles, and as long as we stay passionate and innovative, we’ll
weather the storm.”
Andy Panoncillo overheard some pilots say that they
would rather go back to a traditional fun-fly atmosphere.
“I thought about that as well,” he said, “but then again,
IRCHA became famous and known for its ability to adapt
and evolve into a more fun environment for everybody
to enjoy. There’s plenty of time and space for everybody
to just go to a flight station and fly, or to show center
and enjoy the company demos and giveaways … I
think the true answer would be [that] it’s not what
I want to change, but rather what I would possibly
31 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2016 www.ModelAviation.com