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Classic Aero-TV: 2010 PRA Convention-A Quick Look At Rotorcraft's Premier Event

From WAY Back in 2010 (YouTube Version): As The Rotor Turns... Over Mentone!

Every year, the most dedicated fans of sport rotorcraft journey to a sleepy little airport in a small town in Indiana, by the name of Mentone. The town hosts a pretty neat little airport that, among it many claims to fame, is the home of the Popular Rotorcraft Association and a dynamite yearly rotorcraft gathering that gets its buzz on right after Oshkosh.

The PRA was founded by the man who created the sport rotorcraft industry, Dr. Igor Bensen as, essentially, a type club for builder/pilots of his Bensen Gyrocopter. When Dr. Bensen found himself older and in declining health, legendary gyro and homebuilt-plane pioneer Ken Brock, a friend and admirer of Bensen, took over the helm of PRA.

Nowadays it is run from rural Mentone, Indiana by an elected board, with a very small staff. Like EAA, but on a smaller scale, PRA organizes a rotorcraft fly-in at Mentone every summer. Many rotorcraft manufacturers use it as a chance to hit a narrowly targeted audience and tune up their sales pitch on the way back from Oshkosh.

Experimental rotorcraft have come a long way since Dr. Bensen and BJ Schramm sold their pioneering gyros and helicopters, the Gyrocopter and Scorpion, respectively, from small ads in the back pages of magazines. Thousands of sport rotorcraft are registered in the US and hundreds more on the Canadian registry -- while more are operated as ultralights. Dozens of companies make kits and components, and more instructors are certified every year. 

Though, like the rest of aviation, sport rotorcraft are not exactly cheap, thousands of pilots find ways to keep their rotors turning year after year --and many show up to prove it at Mentone. Aero-TV is proud to present a somewhat musical look at the fun and excitement of PRA's annual rotor-fest at Mentone, IN.




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