Chopper 13 on display for WTHR Health and Fitness Expo
The set-up for the WTHR Health and Fitness Expo is underway at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and by the time it opens at 10:00 am Saturday, all of the booths will be filled.
Thirty companies are offering free health screenings. Seven local hospital systems are participating. It's everything you or a family member would want to know about health and fitness in Indianapolis under one roof for two days - Saturday and Sunday (April 27 and 28) 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Admission is free if you print out your tickets in advance. Or download the WTHR News App for your android or apple mobile device. Click on the WTHR Health and Fitness logo to view a digital ticket that you can show at the door for free admission. Otherwise admission is $5 at the door.
The Expo even includes a rare glimpse of Chopper 13 -- not in the sky, but inside the building. Plus, if you attend the Expo, you can register to win a rare chance to ride in Chopper 13!
If life were a video game, we could just fly Chopper 13 right into the building. In the real world, it took planning and elbow grease to get the aircraft inside.
You may have seen pictures from chopper 13 in the morning covering the early commute. Our pilot Butch Bates was flying light today - keeping his fuel level low for what was to come.
The process started with a landing in a place where he's never landed before: the parking lot of Exposition Hall at the State Fairgrounds.
Once the chopper was on the ground, it as time to drain the rest of the fuel in the tank and to remove two of the four rotor blades. It's a careful, painstaking process.
"Those blades are quite expensive, about $80,000 apiece, so we definitely didn't want to damage those," said Butch.
Our crew lined up the blades still attached with the fuselage of the chopper, and put the skids up on wheels to get it through the door. So far so good, but then they had to position it in a relatively small space.
"Some tight, tight turns -- had to kind of stop, back and forth a little bit, get in jockeyed in place, but there she is and she's looking good. So, all's well," said Butch.
It's the first time Chopper 13 has even been in a building that's not an airport hangar - and an opportunity for thousands of people to see it up close.
"I think it's unique. You just don't walk into a building every day and see a helicopter standing there - especially once that just flew in this morning, so that's kinda cool," said Butch.