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Utility makes helicopters unsung workhorses of aviation

By BlueSkyStaff

Published February 13, 2023

Read Time: 2 mins


When it comes to commercial aviation, jet planes tend to get the lion’s share of the attention, and understandably so.

It’s the big passenger planes from the likes of Boeing and Airbus, along with the smaller regional jets from manufacturers like Embraer and Bombardier, that carry millions of passengers around the U.S.—and the world—every day. They’re the lifeblood of the travel industry.

But plenty of other aircraft perform essential functions without getting nearly as much fanfare, and we love them just as much.

Take, for example, helicopters.

From emergency medical transport to news gathering to law enforcement to tourism, these rotorcraft demonstrate their utility in so many different ways.

Dan Sweazen knows how valuable they are. He’s been flying choppers for more than 40 years and operates Executive Helicopters in Pittsburgh. He flies a Bell 206, one of the most popular models in the world, used for both civilian and military purposes. (Quick trivia: the first helicopter to circumnavigate the globe, in 1982, was a Bell 206.)

Dan passed along this great shot of his helicopter at its heliport outside Pittsburgh.

In fact, you might be able to see it in this photo submitted by Eugenia Makricostas, taken as his Southwest flight was arriving at Pittsburgh International Airport from Phoenix.

Looking east, that’s Pittsburgh’s iconic “Golden Triangle” downtown neighborhood flanked by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. It’s a view that always gets our attention.

Thanks, Dan and Eugene!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming—you can click here for submission guidelines.

A Southwest 737 turns towards its final approach into PIT above the Golden Triangle in downtown Pittsburgh. (Photo submitted by Eugene Makricostas)

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