FOUNTAIN, CO, UNITED STATES
FOUNTAIN, Colo. — Revving engines from race cars were muffled by a UH60 Black Hawk from Fort Carson as the aircraft landed in the middle of Pikes Peak International Raceway, Aug. 9, 2015.
A Black Hawk aircrew from Company A, 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, participated in a community event during the Optima Battery Street Car Challenge at the race track in Fountain, Colorado.
The Optima search for the ultimate street car is a family-friendly, social environment in which spectators have full access to the pits and the track. The race is a nationally televised eight-event series designed for performance street car owners to test their skills and cars, earning points toward the national championship.
“This event was my first opportunity as a Black Hawk pilot to attend a … community event,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Lewellyn, UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, Company A, 3rd AHB. “It was great that we got to set up this static display and get out into the community to show them our aircraft. We were very happy to support this event.”
Lewellyn said the event was a good experience because his crew not only got to show the community its aircraft but the Soldiers were able to see what it felt like to be in a race car.
“We got to drive with the race car drivers before the race,” said Lewellyn. “The driver I drove with was a former Black Hawk pilot. He explained to me the similarities in [racing] and flying. It’s great to see the difference in the adrenaline rush we get from flying and what the race car driver feels when they’re driving.”
Alfredo Santiago, street race car driver and former Black Hawk pilot, said he didn’t think twice about taking a fellow brother-in-arms for a ride before the race.
“It is absolutely amazing that an aircrew from Fort Carson was able to attend this race,” said Santiago. “I would have never thought that I would come to race in Colorado and see fellow Black Hawk pilots and aircrew members in attendance. It was a dream come true to show them what I do now.”
Santiago explained the camaraderie and nostalgia he felt with members of the Army aviation community around to watch him race.
“The Army aviation community is like a Family,” said Santiago. “I came in the Army in 1997. We had a lot of restrictions to cover community events and it’s great to see the Army make attempts to support this community event today. I’m very touched and it’s personal for me to know that they will be out here watching me and others race.”
Lewellyn said his aircrew was excited to participate in the event and it was a great chance for the community to put a face to the organization that flies around the Front Range community.
“People have a lot of questions and wonder why we fly so much in the surrounding areas,” said Lewellyn. “This gives us a chance to address those questions, show off the aircraft and show the community that we support them. This was a great one-on-one opportunity for us to meet with people in community.”
||FOUNTAIN, CO, US
This work, Helicopters, race cars entertain community, by SGT Jonathan Thibault, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.