A Flight to Remember

April 2, 2012
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Your hair begins to blow: you begin to hear the noise, louder, louder, until its right overhead. A helicopter swoops in and lands without a flaw. These amazing machines were invented by Igor Sikorsky, who received his first patent for his helicopter in 1932, and by 1940, Sikorsky’s successful VS-300 had become the model for all modern single-rotor helicopters. These powerful machines have saved millions of lives, one of which is particularly important to me, my friend Mackenzie.

June 24, 2007, my childhood friend, then 12, bid her low-spirited good-byes to me and a few other friends as she set off for an ordinary annual trip across country to her grandparent’s house in California. As Mackenzie and her family reached the intended speed for the interstate, the 18 wheeler directly in front of them blew a tire. As Mackenzie’s father reached for what would be his last sip of coffee, massive charcoal colored strips of rubber were hurled at the windshield of their car. He swerved right to miss the obstacle ahead of him, and sent the car into and uncontrollable roll off of the highway, careening top speed towards the waiting trees which caught them with tremendous force.

Killed instantly on the site was Mackenzie’s father, and critically injured stood the status of Mackenzie and her mother. The car looked abysmal: the scene, a clip from a horror movie, but the loud propeller of the “Life Flight” helicopter provided a beam of light on the otherwise horrendous accident. It provided hope that my best friend and her mother would be saved. In hearing of the news, we immediately rushed to the hospital, unsure whether my friend would still be alive the next day, or the next hour. Those few days I cried so hard my vision was blurred.

When we were finally allowed to visit, I saw my best friend in the worst condition she had ever been in. My heart sank, and my knees went weak. Why did this happen to her?

Almost five years after the crash, my friend and her mother are fully recovered physically due to the immense speed of the helicopter reporting to the crash. This incredible invention has saved millions of lives, millions of children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and best friends. In the condition that Mackenzie and her mother were in, there was no way they would have survived the duration of an ambulance ride. Not only does this World War II invention assist in saving lives in transportation to the hospital, but they also help to put out fired that are burning in areas too dense for the fire trucks to reach, and locating missing or wanted criminals that are on the run faster and more efficiently.

Helicopters save lives every day, and without them, loved family members, or best friends could be lost. With the many great innovations and inventions of the World War II era, the one with the greatest impact on me would have to be this great machine. No matter the purpose, helicopters assist in making life better, and solving problems from the air, that need to be fixed on the ground. These machines gave us a bird’s eye view into the future of transportation from a time of great turmoil. And what we saw was the impact of faster, stronger, and better ways to save lives.

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