By Victor Archer
The fifth annual Wings, Wheels and Rotors Expo was held on Sunday, October 29, at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield Joint Forces Training Base. This family-oriented event featured something for everyone: classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, helicopters, aircraft and military vehicles of all types.
The rotors’ portion of the event featured a great number of civilian, military and corporate helicopters in conjunction with “Helicopter Awareness Day,” sponsored in part by the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association. Some of the helicopters displayed were current military support and front line attack helicopters and news media helicopters that help provide the latest breaking news reports. Helicopters from the Orange County and Los Angeles County law enforcement and fire agencies were on display, as well as some from the Coast Guard.
The wings section of the event showcased a great collection of civilian and military aircraft, including two WWII North American P-5lD
Mustangs. A large number of vintage military training aircraft were present, including North American T-28 Trojans, T-34 Mentors and T-6 Texans; Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplanes; and even a 1941 Ryan PT-22 monoplane. Modern military aircraft included an Air Force F-16 Falcon and a Marine Corps F-18 Hornet. The Civil Air Patrol unit based at Los Alamitos had a couple of their aircraft on display; the most unique was a glider, which was also flown at the show.
An addition to the wings portion was a group of radio-controlled scale aircraft. These were beautifully detailed replicas, with wingspans of up to 10 feet. The most impressive was an A-10 Thunderbolt with real jet engines.
The wheels area of the show was one of the West Coast’s largest, with more than 650 custom and antique cars, muscle cars, hot rods, motorcycles and custom bicycles.
The expo had more than 125 vendors, featuring everything from die-cast cars to pins, hats, military gear, merchandise and great food from all over Southern California.
This year’s show had an estimated attendance of more than 21,000. The Young Eagles program flew 157 youngsters, and more than 200 people took helicopter rides. This annual event continues to grow and should be even bigger next year.