All related web-based links are identified in bold blue lettering! To follow a link simply double click on it, to return to the previous page simply hit the back button on your browser.

Bussmann Aviation has been serving the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years with helicopter platform services, here's a just few of the projects we have had the privilege of being involved with....


 NASA Data Collection Flight Over PEARL

 Back in 2012 NASA's Earth Science Technology Office based in Goddard MD contracted with Bussmann Aviation to begin a three year project to conduct low level data collection flight missions over the region utilizing the Chai V640 imaging spectrometer mounted to a custom chin-mount vibration isolation bracket system as developed by BA exclusively for this mission. Since then Bussmann Aviation has conducted proof of concept flights over Prince William county as well as data collect flights over PEARL (Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Lab) near Petersons Point in Calvert County.

 VA Department of Conservation and Recreation Corn Field Photo Flights

Tim Sexton is the VADCR's nutrient management program manager, and every year he conducts aerial photo flights over Tappahannock and the Shenandoah Valley area corn fields looking for signs of stress. This data is collected, analyzed and shared with local farmers in an effort to improve yields. Corn is the state of Virginia's 7th top agricultural commodity accounting for $212M each year. Farming is Virginia's biggest industry: employs 500,000 individuals, 46,000 farms, covers 32% of the area of the state encompassing 8M acres, which produces $70B in revenue each year. VADCR selected Bussmann Aviation this year as their aerial platform provider for this critical mission.

 Visit Loudoun Aerial Photo Mission

 Ben Taylor of the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association selected aerial photographer Aboud Dweck and a MD500 helicopter operated by Bussmann Aviation as the ideal team suited to capture low level, golden light images of multiple Loudoun visitor attractions for an upcoming marketing campaign designed to highlight county landmarks for potential visitors. Featured attractions included Stone Tower Winery, Franklin Park, Breaux Vineyards, Pev's Paintball Park, Claude Moore Recreational Center and Evergreen Sportsplex to name a few.


Total Asphalt - Piedmont Subdivision Surface Street Resealing

Founded in 1992, Total Asphalt is the largest commercial pavement preservation specialists in the Mid-Atlantic region and has become a consulting and rejuvenation application specialist who provides a way for clients to save precious capital by extending the life of their parking lots and surfaces and postponing expensive overlays or reconstruction. Endorsed by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, Total Asphalt follows the pavement preservation philosophy – a planned system of restoring pavements with high-performance treatments at the optimum time to maximize their useful life. Company President Mike Leaman selected Bussmann Aviation to position videographer Pete Roof over the Piedmont subdivision in Haymarket Virginia to capture the asphalt sealing process in real –time.

 Kennedy Center Honors - Night Video Shoot Over the Potomac

 Once again Michael Stevens of Kennedy Center Honors Productions came to DC based Bussmann Aviation to request our assistance with a tough assignment – namely to capture the establishing shot of the 2014 CBS Kennedy Center Honors TV show. The shot features a night time aerial view of the front of the Kennedy Center captured from 100 ft above the Potomac River just east of Roosevelt Island. This had to be a very steady shot as the production team planned to superimpose the rainbow colors scheme over the video image. The 2014 honorees included Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin, Al Green, Patricia McBride, and Sting.



Dominion Virginia Power Transmission Lines Photo Flight

Renown aerial photographer Cameron Davidson once again received another assignment from Dominion Virginia Power to capture iconic early morning images of power line infrastructure surrounding Orange, Harrisonburg, New Market, and Afton Mountain. After careful consideration Cameron choose helicopter pilot Steve Bussmann and his MD500 as the aerial platform of choice. "The MD500 has the maneuverability and power necessary to operate safely in this demanding environment" said Cameron; he continued "Steve and I have been working together for over twelve years, he knows the shots I am looking for and can place me in the right spot at the right time".



 MPT "Potomac By Air" Cineflex Video Shoot

Based on the resounding success of the "Chesapeake By Air" video program Mike English and Steve Schupak of Maryland Public Television have decided to duplicate the effort with a new aerial take on the Potomac entitled, "Potomac By Air: Our Nation's River". Shot from above with the Cineflex v14 HD camera system in amazing High Definition by DP Matt Trub the program explores incredible natural and man-made history along with our nation's remarkable collection of monuments and memorials, from the Washington Monument, to The U.S. Capitol, the White House, Jefferson Memorial, the National Cathedral, and more. Once again Director John Paulson has assembled a stunning perspective of a natural treasure.  



 Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull

 Each year in September there is a special event that is held at the cargo 6 ramp at Dulles Airport - "Dulles Day Plane Pull". The Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull is Special Olympics Virginia's "heaviest" fundraiser, pitting teams of 25 against one another to see who can pull a 164,000+ pound airliner 12 feet the fastest. Teams must raise a minimum of $1500 to participate - that is just $60 per person - and all proceeds help Special Olympics Virginia provide year-round training and athletic competition to more than 11,000 athletes of all ages.  Bussmann Aviation is always on hand for the entire day with our MD500 helicopter providing the media with an aerial overview of the proceedings. The day starts off with a 5k and 10K race on the east runway, and the gates open to the public on the cargo 6 ramp at 10:30 and close at 3:45p.

Living Flag At Fort McHenry

Founded in 1984 The Friends of Fort McHenry is the recognized friends group of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. The mission of the Friends of Fort McHenry, in partnership with the National Park Service, is to support the development and implementation of educational programming and living history activities, and the creation of interpretive exhibits and visitor facilities that best engender the widest possible understanding and appreciation of Fort McHenry and the enduring legacy and promise of "The Star-Spangled Banner", our National Anthem.  On Tuesday September 9, 2014 more than 6,600 Maryland students and their chaperones created the largest ever 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Banner Living Flag, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the writing of the "Star-Spangled Banner." In 1914, Fort McHenry saw the creation of a Living Flag by 6,500 participants in honor of the Centennial. Bussmann Aviation, along with aerial photographer Greg Pease were on hand over Baltimore's inner harbor to capture the moment on behalf of the National Park Service.

 Ramiiisol Vineyards - Another Successful Frost Prevention Mission

 There are times during the late spring in the mid-Atlantic region when an extremely harmful temperature inversion can occur - a very dry local air mass, with little or no wind, and a clear sky will move into an area - cold air will settle to ground level beneath a layer of warmer air above it. When this happens tender spring growth of certain crops are at risk to suffer from frost damage.  Weather patterns often shift in the early spring months creating rapid temperature changes in valley farms and predictions of a spring freeze are sometimes possible only a day or two in advance. Vines are susceptible to frost damage after bud-break until late spring. Weather records indicate a good chance of frost in late March, but generally by mid-April the risk of frost is much less. With a frost in the forecast the savvy folks at Ramiisol Vineyards in Free Union VA decided to take no chances and brought in the MD500 helicopter from Bussmann Aviation as a frost prevention tool. Helicopters have documented efficacy to reduce crop losses against inversion layer freezes and are considered part of legal Right-to-Farm protected standard operating practices in the US.  Air temperatures can be 3 F  to 10 F warmer at just 50 feet above the ground (the inversion air layer can vary from 30 to 200 feet above ground level). Pushing this warmer air downward with helicopter rotors is frequently sufficient to reduce freezing damage at the surface and help protect grapes and other fruit crops.  Bussmann Aviation operates the MD500 series of light turbine powered helicopters. These aircraft are ideally suited to protect tender budding growth from damaging frost due to temperature inversions. Utilizing a 30 foot diameter, four-bladed rotor system spinning at 480 rpm, and a jet engine generating 600 degree C heat, we can hover slowly over your fields in the critical hours before dawn and draw down upper level warmer air to prevent frost from damaging fruit, buds and other critical plantings at a rate of 960,772 CFM - that is a lot of air!

 With our crop strobe marker beacons, LZ lighting, nose mount flood light set, and remote service trailer with fuel service we can operate "on station", directly from your location, for up to 8 hours without having to depart the area for more fuel. Depending on conditions, a single helicopter can protect about 60-100 acres, we typically fly about 25' above ground level and can cover 4 rows per pass and cover the entire operational area every 20 minutes. The helicopter is equipped with a digital outside air temperature gauge for locating the upper level warmer air and we can provide VHF radios & matched walkie talkies for air-to-ground communications while in flight.

 A successful frost prevention mission requires as much lead time a possible, if you are anticipating  freezing conditions call us ASAP. We typically will arrive on location by no later than noon preceding the night of the forecasted inversion. The afternoon is spent surveying and marking the fields with strobe lights to delineate safe flight lines. As soon as the survey is completed the ground and air crew will hit the rack to get some sleep before the "scramble" call from farm personnel. We suggest placing multiple remote & self reporting temperature probes in all critical fields and begin regular monitoring at sunset. The aircrew is called out about 45 minutes before we are needed so we can prep the helicopter, turn on strobe markers and review the mission plan. A typical frost prevention flying session will begin around 2a and we'll stay airborne until shortly after dawn. Our remote field trailer comes equipped with 150 gals of jet fuel so we can remain flying on location for up to 8 hours before having to depart the site to get more fuel. The helicopter can hold a total of 2 hours of fuel, "hot" re-fueling takes about 15 minutes.


Gondola Films Comes to DC to Make a Movie

Jose Borrell of Gondola Films was in town this week to shoot some wrap up scenes for the new feature film "What About Love" starring Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia and directed by Klaus Menzel. The story features an ambitious senator and his wife who travel to Europe when their daughter is hospitalized after an accident with her boyfriend. The experience forces them to re-evaluate their rocky marriage. This film is currently in post-production, release is planned for sometime in 2013. To ride along in the helicopter with the film crew right click here and select "Open Link in New Tab".  


World Golf Tour Covers Merion Golf Club in PA

The folks at World Golf Tour of San Francisco have developed the super realistic #1 golf game on the web with over 250 million rounds played by their members. To achieve the realism that game features WGT takes thousands of high resolution digital images of each golf course that is available to play. In addition to the ground team of photographers WGT will also get a photo crew in the air over the course to shoot each tee box, fairway and green at very low level and from every possible angle. "The MD500 as flown by Bussmann Aviation is the ideal helicopter platform for this mission" commented photographer Jon Hope. "It is small, agile and has enough power for us to get the tight shots we need without compromising safety. We find that when we fly with Heloflights we can get the entire course shot in just a day, twice as fast as with other operators". Merion Golf Club located in Ardmore PA will host the 2013 US Open on their famed east course.


A Dawn Flight Over the Shenandoah for the Cover

Aurora Flights Sciences of Manassas Virginia has developed an optionally piloted aircraft ("OPA") based on the Diamond DA42 they call the "Centaur". The folks at Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine were planning a feature story on the project for their August 6 2012 issue and Aurora's Director of Public Relations, Patricia Woodside, needed some air-to-air photos of the Centaur for a possible cover shot, and she needed them in a big hurry. After a few quick phone calls with Bussmann Aviation two photo missions were planned, one at dawn, the other at sunset on July 12th. Needless to say Aurora Program Manager (& photographer as it turns out!) Martin Gomez was able to get the shots he needed for Patricia and the rest is history! For some video backgrounders on the Centaur click here.

A Sunset Video Flight Over the Temple

Matthew Reier and Tyler Anderson of the Church of Latter Day Saints were in town today to shoot some sunset and night video and still shots of the LDS Temple located in Silver Spring, MD. "The gyro stabilized middle mount was the key tool that helped us get the shots we needed" said Tyler, "The reveals, jib shots, turns-around-a-point, crabs and orbits would have not been possible without it!". "The completed production will be featured by the church for its' own internal programming" commented Matthew. If you'd like to see what the flight was like, please click right click here and select the option "open link in a new tab" or do the same on the image below and join the pilot and the film crew in the cockpit!

MCM Historic Half Marathon - Frederick, MD

Once again the folks at Marine Corps Marathon selected Bussmann Aviation to grab aerial images of the Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA. Teaming with still photographer Susan Hedenberg of Flying H Photography and videographer Pete Roof of Alt Gobo Media Works pilot Steve Bussmann was bale to position the MD500 low and slow right over the action. The Historic Half takes runners on 13.1 mile journey from the retail hub of Central Park through the historic downtown streets, up the now famous hospital hill to awaiting Marines at the Historic Half finish line. Perfectly situated in the timeless city of Fredericksburg halfway between the capital of the Commonwealth in Richmond and the nation's capital, Historic Half Weekend features the Healthy Lifestyle Expo and the Semper Fred 5K.

Country Club of Fairfax Video Shoot

Carelton Holt of Granite Digital Imaging was in town today to shoot some HD video on the Red 4K camera of the Country Club of Fairfax for a new digital video brochure they are planning to feature on their web site.  Founded in 1947 the Country Club of Fairfax offers its members fine amenities including a 18 hole golf course, tennis, fitness center and swim club.

Nationals Stadium Plays Host to Osteen Ministries

The inspirational evangelical Christian pastor Joel Osteen of the Lakewood Church of Houston TX was in town today conducting a service at Nationals stadium. Videographer Micah Bickham coupled his Canon C-300 digital video camera to Heloflights gyro stabilized middle mount to capture real-time footage over the crowds during the service. Heloflights co-pilot Robert Bussmann was able to grab some digital still photos using a Nikon D-200 digital SLR.

Transmitter Locator Systems Treasure Hunt!

TLS of Herndon, VA received a desperate call from one of their clients - a rogue satellite signal originating somewhere in Hagerstown Maryland was interfering with critical communications. Teaming with business partner SES Engineering of Bristow VA and aerial support as provided by Bussmann Aviation the ground team was able to pin point the offending transmitter in a matter of hours as opposed to days without a helicopter to narrow down the search area. James McGuffin of SES commented "In times like these where time is of the essence a helicopter with accurate GPS on board is the key tool in solving the problem as efficiently as possible!"

Watts Media Video Shoot of 495 Hot Lanes Project

Watts Media of Seattle Washington decided that the three axis gyro stabilized middle mount offered by Heloflights was just the ticket to help them grab the HD video footage for their client Flour Corporation of Irving Texas. Said Producer David Mangone "Our first attempt to fly this job was stymied by hurricane Irene last August, we simply could not get our crew from the west coast into town in time for the job. Steve's flexibility in allowing us to reschedule the production was a real was a real lifesaver!"

Another Photo Assignment with EPI Colorspace

Maryland based EPI-Colorspace is the DC area one stop shop for all graphics support needs including exhibits, imaging, photography and marketing communications. When not working on studio or product photography Larry Olsen will take to the skies and grab images of construction cranes during “top out” day for construction client Miller & Long. Larry appreciates Bussmann Aviation’s ability secure the necessary airspace waivers in a timely fashion as the amount of lead time for these assignments can be a real challenge.

JBG Needs the Shots!

Florida based photographer Bill Yates of Cypix had just been handed a demanding photo assignment in the DC metro market from commercial real estate developer The JBG Companies to image some of their top shelf properties in the restricted airspace of Tysons Corner,  Bethesda, and Rockville. Bill checked in the photo community for a recommendation for a helicopter platform service provider in the DC area and heard that Steve Bussmann of Heloflights was the right choice for this demanding assignment. "I have always wanted to fly a job in the MD500 - I have heard this is the Cadillac of helicopters for aerial photography" said Bill, "I am glad to finally get a chance to try one out!" As his client was looking for marketing images Bill scheduled two flights, early morning and late afternoon, to grab the "glory light" for each property. The weather was terrific and Bill was not disappointed.

Serving the Growing Power Needs of the DC Metro Area

Dominion Power has been making significant investments in expanding their infrastructure in response to the ever inreasing demands for electrical power in the DC metro market. As part of this significant project they have been been replacing aging transmission lines with new towers and lines designed to meet this demand. Critical to this project is the photographic documentation of progress made, and once again Cameron Davidson got the assignment to capture aerial images of the improved Meadow Brook - Loudon and Mount Storm - Doubs lines.


"Chesapeake: The Aerial Photography of Cameron Davidson"

Noted local photographer Cameron Davidson has just released his new book Chesapeake, it is available for sale at Amazon and direct from Cameron.

Nearly 10,000 years ago, rising sea levels filled a meteor-impact crater to form the Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary, and the third largest in the world. The long tendrils of its watershed cover 64,000 square miles and span six states from Virginia to New York. Seventeen million people live within its boundaries. There are more than 100,000 streams, creeks, and rivers in the watershed, including 150 major rivers, with names that conjure ancient voices, such as the Susquehanna, Nanticoke, Mattaponi, and Rappahannock. These waters mix with the Atlantic Ocean in a brackish estuary that helped sustain Native Americans for centuries, but in recent years the bay has come under siege from the impacts of increasing population and industry, threatening this national treasure.

Cameron Davidson has been shooting aerial photography of the Chesapeake over a period of twenty years. The view from this privileged vantage point reveals man's impact on the land and the water. It yields an abstract beauty that is seldom seen, from the seven bends of the Shenandoah River to the important marshlands and islands of the watershed. Davidson's lens captures the changing seasons traced from the headwaters of the Susquehanna at Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York, to the mouth of the bay at Virginia Beach. Davidson's poetic pictures bear witness to the bay's vulnerability and the fragility of its future.

Hurricane Irene Batters the East Coast

As soon as the rain stopped falling and the winds settled down Tecta America was in the air with Bussmann Aviation over southern Virginia surveying commercial structures for roofing damage. A storm like Irene can generate pockets of very strong winds which can damage certain style of commercial roofs. The most efficient means for us to survey potential trouble spots is by air in a day we can cover what would take weeks on the ground commented Norm Crouse, Director of Business Development of Tecta America. Traveling with a digital camera and tracking GPSs we can conduct low-level surveys over suspected target zones where roofing damaged is forecasted, and direct our ground crews with precise geolocation data.

TectaAmerica is the nations premier commercial roofing contractor with operations located from coast to coast. Our unyielding commitment to quality, expertise and professionalism is what makes us the industry leader. Installation, repair, emergency damage response, sustainability options and morewe offer the responsiveness of a local roofing contractor backed by the resources and stability you need from a commercial roofing solution.

"Chesapeake By Air" Production Wins Emmy!

Back in May Maryland Public Television's "Chesapeake By Air" production was nominated for an Emmy award from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). The 53rd annual Emmy Awards took place on June 25  2011 at The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. During this prestigious event it was announced that MPT won the Emmy! Congratulations goes out to production team: Michael English, Executive Producer; John Paulson, Producer/Writer; Susan "Suki" Jacobson, Coordinating Producer; Steve Cassidy, Director of Photography and Steve Bussmann, Helicopter Pilot.

HD Cineflex Video Shoot of Alexandria, VA

Erik Altman, Creative Director for Neoscape of Boston received an challenging assignment from Washington DC based commercial real estate experts JM Zell Partners namely to create a image of what the  finished development will look like months from now while today the proposed site is little more then a open lot. In order to work the digital CGI (computer generated imagery) magic output Erik needed high definition aerial video of the entire area as input. The ultra-stabilized Cineflex V-14 gimbal HD camera system mated to a stable helicopter platform is just the ticket to generate the necessary input so Erik selected Steve Bussmann and the MD500 as the platform of choice in the DC area. Yet another mission accomplished!

Cineflex V-14

Water Treatment Plants Photo Mission

Professional photographer Dan Poyourow had a tough aerial assignment namely to efficiently photograph six water treatment plants spread throughout the great state of Maryland, including one site on the eastern shore near a correctional facility near Westover, MD. Knowing that his client was cost sensitive, Dan selected the nimble and speedy Heloflights MD500 to streamline this mission as much as possible. Mission accomplished!

Architectural Photo Mission Over Winchester, Va and Gambrills, MD

Architectural photographer Eric Taylor of Taylor Design & Photography once again tapped pilot Steve Bussmann to efficiently position him over five commercial properties including sites in far flung Winchester, VA and Gambrills, MD. The unique photo door of the Heloflights MD500 allows photographers to grab unfettered photographs without having to have the door completely removed during the cold winter months.

"Floodmageddon" Hits the DC Beltway!

Once again the Washington Post scrambled helicopter pilot Steve Bussmann and photographer Tracy Woodward to get in the air over Capitol Heights, Maryland to capture images of a massive water main break that sent water pouring from a 54-inch pipe, prompting the closure of the inner loop of the Capital Beltway in Maryland and snarling morning traffic. This water main break, near a mini-storage facility in the Hampton South Business Park in Prince George's County, damaged vehicles and closed off a portion of the southbound Beltway between Ritchie Marlboro Road and Central Avenue on Monday morning.

MD500 Qualitative Evaluation at Patuxent River NAS

Today Heloflights Chief Flight Instructor Steve Bussmann wrapped up an intensive six day MD500 Qualitative Evaluation session for the Navys Test Pilot School based at Patuxent NAS located near Lexington Park, MD. As part of the TPS curriculum students get a chance to subjectively evaluate various guest aircraft for suitability for varying mission profiles. Each student will place the aircraft thru a litany of maneuvers all the while gathering performance data that they will later use to compile detailed evaluation reports. The PAX NAS base is a terrific facility and is always welcoming and supportive of Heloflights flight crew during our TDY stay!

Aerial Video Mission Over Leesburg, Great Falls and Silver Spring

Director of Photography Christopher Pyle and Producer Paul Wagner of Leisure World of California traveled to the Washington DC area specifically to work with pilot Steve Bussmann to grab some stunning aerial video footage of their Leesburg and Silver Spring facilities. Using a gyro stabilized middle mount positioned in the rear cabin the trio grabbed passing, orbiting and point-of-view video shots of both facilities in addition to scenic footage of the Potomac River surrounding the Great Falls area.

The US Open Comes to Congressional CC!

Well, not really. The US Open is not actually scheduled to be hosted by the Congressional CC in Bethesda, MD until June 13-19 2011. As one might imagine preparations for this prestigious event begin well in advance.  These preparations include HD aerial air-to-ground shooting of the entire blue course, tee box to green for all eighteen holes. The USGA commissioned Rob Cowen of Cowen Media to direct and produce the video on behalf of the USGA so they will have the footage they need for broadcast purposes showing a "birds eye" view of the course from tree top level.  In order to achieve the desired finished product,  pilot Steve Bussmann worked with professional cinematographer Steve Cassidy and his Cineflex V-14 HD gimbal camera system. Sporting the Sony HDC-F950 Cinealta camera mated to the ultra wide angle Canon 11 x 4.7 HD lens mounted on the chin of the helicopter, Steve was able to capture the rock-steady low-level images Rob needed for his production. Applications for the random drawing of 2011 U.S. Open Championship Tickets will be accepted by the USGA through the mail or on the USGA website June 14-August 1, 2010.

History of the club - Congressman Oscar E. Bland and O.R. Lubring of Indiana, founders of the Club, set out to provide an informal common ground where politicians and businessmen could meet as peers, unconstrained by red tape. They took their idea to Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, who agreed to serve as Founders' Club President and, from 1922-1923, Honorary Founding President of a soon-to-be-built Congressional Country Club. Primarily because of the determination of these original two visionaries, the Club was incorporated in December 1921. Construction of the Club took two and one-half years from concept to completion. Its international recognition, intended for the world of politics, has been achieved instead in the world of golf..

Cineflex V-14

Photo Mission - Fairfax County Water Authority

"When tasked to provide aerial photography of all facilities owned by Fairfax County Water Authority, one of the largest public utilities in Northern Virginia, I knew that a project of this scope depended on the expertise offered by Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation to efficiently choreograph a flight that would bring me to each of approximately 12 sites in three security layers around Northern Virginia.  TSA waivers were gathered flawlessly and the actual flight was a pleasure to photograph as Mr. Bussmann piloted the Hughes 500 directly to each site and placed me at the optimal altitude and direction to gather images which will serve the utility well into the future.  I would recommend Bussmann Aviation as your aerial photography platform for projects of this magnitude and I will not hesitate to call on him again for future missions" - Patrick Hendrickson HighCamera.

The Kalmar Nyckel Sails Again for National Geographic "Expedition" Series

Producer/Director Bo "Keep Your Boots Muddy" Landin of Scandinature Films contacted Bussmann Aviation in early August to schedule a Cineflex HD aerial video shoot of the sailing vessel Kalmar Nyckel for the upcoming National Geographic Expedition "Ghost Ship" to air Spring of 2011. Bo had a very specific shot list in mind for this production, which involved capturing scenes of the crew in the rigging in the process of setting and furling of main sails, low level reveal approach shots, straight down passing shots as well as overhead turn-around-a-point view of the vessel with sails luffing. 

The original Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638 leaving its passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. She made a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlanticmore than any other ship of the era. Her first voyage to the New World left 24 settlers of Swedish, Finnish, German and Dutch descent in the Delaware Valley. Joining them was a black freedman who sailed from the Caribbean aboard her companion ship the Fogel Grip.  The present day Kalmar Nyckel serves as Delawares seagoing goodwill ambassador. She was built by a group of committed citizens to be a continuing witness to the courage and spirit of those individuals who undertook the mid-winter North Atlantic crossing in 1637-1638.

"The Real Housewives of DC" - Bravo TV

When tasked by Halfyard Productions to assist them in securing air-to-ground footage of iconic DC landmarks and overhead shots of each of the cast homesteads pilot Steve Bussmann immediately signed up experienced aerial cameraman Pete Roof for the project. using the Panasonic HDX900 HD video camera coupled on the gyro-stabilized middle mount Pete and Steve were able to capture each assigned image on the shot list - spanning Washington DC, McLean, VA Chevy Chase, MD and Hume, VA. 

Bravos The Real Housewives franchise presents a slice of life amongst affluent, educated  women, some raising kids, some driving careers, all interacting with friends and family as determined by the unwritten social rules of the Beltway. With the franchises expansion to our nations capital, The Real Housewives of D.C. introduces five intriguing women whose relationships with each other, and with the city in which they live, are a compelling combination to explore the nexus of politics, society, and even race, as well as how the proximity to political power dictates where one fits within Beltway society.

Video Mission - Ferguson, Front Royal, VA

Producer Lynda Meier of Butler Film was asked by her client Ferguson to produce a new sales video in which she planned to feature some air-to-ground video footage of Ferguson's facility in Front Royal, VA.  Pilot Steve Bussmann was able to position cameraman Rege Becker "low and slow" directly over the facility to grab some early morning beauty shots of the main building and surrounding support structures. Key to the success of the flight was the 3 axis gyro stabilized middle mount positioned on the right side of the rear cabin. In this configuration a skilled pilot can provide the video cameraman with orbiting, passing and point-of-view shots - all without having to land and re-rig the camera. 

Tile Films Is in Town to Film "Fag An Bealach/Clear The Way"

The Irish film production company Tile Films traveled to the DC area this spring to capture some crticial air-to-ground aerial images of select civil war era battlefields where Union troops of Irish descent actively participated in the engagements.

Fg an Bealach, Irish for Clear the Way, was the battle cry of the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.  This call was heard on the bloody battlefields of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania where the legend of the Fighting Irish was born. This is the story of the people behind the most famous unit in the Civil War, the Irish Brigade. The project is being supported by broadcasters in the USA and Ireland.

Using the Sony F900R HD video camera mounted to Bussmann Aviation's gyro stabilized middle mount platform pilot Steve Bussmann positioned cameraman Peter Robertson and director Keith Farrell over portions of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Manassas.

"Snowmageddon" Hits the DC Metro Area

The Washington DC area has been pummeled this year by several very unusual snow storms, one major storm in late December followed by a second major storm in early February. These two storms combined have dropped a whopping 50" of snow over the entire region - and the weight of this precipitation has had a very negative affect on roof structures not designed to support this kind of load. Cover-All, a Canadian company which manufactures pre-engineered fabric storage building solutions has quite of few of its products installed in the MD and VA countryside surrounding Washington DC.  Bussmann Aviation and photographer James Oesch were hired to conduct an aerial survey of installed locations to see how these structures faired under the area's momentous snowfall. In short, the structures did very well! The fabric membrane appears to shed snow extremely efficiently well while more traditional roofs on adjacent buildings were seen to still have significant snow loads still in place.


Oak Spring Farm - The Estate of Bunny Mellon

During December of 2009 Democratic candidate for President John Edwards flew by private jet to visit one of his benefactors - Rachel "Bunny" Mellon - at her estate in Upperville, VA.  ABC News asked Bussmann Aviation to fly over the property and shoot some HD footage of the area for a upcoming 20/20 special entitled "The Candidates Secret". This program is scheduled to air on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 10p ET.


Stonebridge "Bulldogs" vs. Madison "Warhawks"

On Friday November 20th Steve Bussmann flew his MD500 up to Stonebridge High School in Ashburn VA for the purpose of drying out the Bulldog football field in preparation for the District title play-off game between the #7 Madison Warhawks and the #4 Stonebridge Bulldogs.  The tremendous amount of rotor wash from the MD500 moves huge volumes of air in very short order. Acting as a giant hair dryer the 4-bladed turbine helicopter is  the ideal tool in the groundskeeper arsenal to counteract flooded and muddy fields for key playoff games. Unfortunately Madison did not win the contest.

Go Warhawks!


The 32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts

The 2009 Kennedy Center Honorees included Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen. The program aired on CBS on Tuesday, December 29, 2009, at 9:00 p.m ET, and marked the 32nd annual Kennedy Honors event. The Kennedy Center Honors is a prestigious annual awards ceremony that began in 1978. The honors are given to individuals who have impacted American culture through the performing arts. Caroline Kennedy served as the host for the 7th year in a row. Pilot Steve Bussmann and videographer Pete Roof were asked by Producer Michael Stevens to shoot some night-time low level air-to-ground footage of the Kennedy Center from the Potomac. This footage was used on the air as part of the show introduction as well as background for sponsor credits. For a quick preview clip place your mouse over the "CBS" logo and click. Enjoy!


"Chesapeake Bay By Air" Aerial Cineflex HD Project

Aerial DP Steve Cassidy, pilot Steve Bussmann and freelance producer John Paulson all teamed up for a two day aerial shoot over all of the world renown iconic landmarks surrounding the Chesapeake By watershed including Calvert Cliffs, Cove Point, Drum Point, St Mary's City, Piney Point, Point Lookout, Tangier Island, Crisfield, Deal, Holland, Hopper and Barren Islands, Cambridge, Blackwater NWR, Sparrow Point, Havre de Grace, Rock Hall, Tolchester Beach, Chestertown, Kent Island, Bay Bridge, Annapolis, and Shady Side to name a few! 

"It's the soaring glory of Chesapeake Bay as never seen by Captain John Smith and his traveling companions of 1608. MPT's Chesapeake Bay by Air forever captures the unparalleled wild beauty, history and natural serenity of the bay, all from above. Shot in the air from two to 2,000 feet using state-of-the-art high-definition recording gear, Chesapeake Bay by Air's unique perspective of the Chesapeake Bay marries gentle verse, prose and music with stunningly dramatic images of the Chesapeake in a way that, until now, only migrating Canada Geese could truly appreciate. Chesapeake Bay by Air's meandering aerial journey transports us to many of the bay's countless stunning locations and brings the bay into razor-sharp perspective, from well above the din. It's your Chesapeake Bay, and we thought you'd like to see it. Enjoy!" -- Mike English, Executive Producer

Click HERE for a YouTube preview. In case you missed it you can click HERE watch the entire program from the comfort of your desktop web browser & your high speed internet connection (or place your mouse over the "MPT" logo and click). Enjoy!


Temple Hall Farm Corn Maze From The Air

The weather was crisp and clear as Steve & Robert Bussmann assisted members of the local press, Northern VA Regional Park Authority Board Members, and other dignitaries get bird's eye views of the 50th Anniversary corn maze near Leesburg VA. This aerial tour event takes place each year, typically the weekend before the corn maze opens to the general public and gives the all of the crew involved a unique perspective of all of their hard work. Park Manager George Tabb remarked "Thanks Steve from making our media day such a success, you and Robert really came through for us and did a wonderful job!"


Night Flight Over Fort AP Hill

Using an Avenger IR image sensor mated to a 3 axis 4 gyro stabilized video camera middle mount Bussmann Aviation was able to assist technicians from General Dynamics obtain critical thermal imaging over some test equipment near Bowling Green, VA. Flying in counterclockwise orbits around the site pilot Steve Bussmann was able to position the sensor in the ideal 30 degree lookdown angle necessary for steady oblique imaging. "We were very pleased with the results of both the late afternoon and night flights" remarked Doug Ferencz, "We got exactly what we needed!"


HD Video Shoot in Maryland

Orlando FL based IDEAS was hired to prepare a virtual view of a planned construction site located just west of the Monocacy National Battlefield site near Frederick, MD. Naturally IDEAS Project Curator turn to Bussmann Aviation and videographer Pete Roof of AltGobo to make the project happen on-time and on-budget. Free-lance producer Jennifer Foster joined Pete and Steve on the flight as was able to see the HD footage has it was captured, real-time. After the flights Jennifer commented "Thank you very much Steve, I enjoyed working with you and I appreciate your diligence in making sure today's shoot was a success!". 


"What Can't Be Lost" - Special Report: Washington Post Magazine Section

For the past several years professional photographer  Cameron Davidson has been working on a book of images highlighting the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries.  The Washington Post featured a selection of the aerial images Cameron has captured of the watershed for the past 10 years, these images appeared in the weekly Washington Post Magazine, along with an essay written by David Fahrenthold. 

"The bay has been around for more than 10,000 years, formed when melting glaciers drowned a long stretch of the Susquehanna River Valley. The Chesapeake watershed stretches over 64,000 square miles -- its arms are big rivers such as the Susquehanna, the Potomac and the James, and its spider web fingers extend into sweaty tidal swamps, out to the hard-rock folds of Appalachia and up to the cold woods near Cooperstown, N.Y."

Naturally, Cameron turned to Steve Bussmann of Heloflights to provide the aerial helicopter platform to capture these images. "Steve is the best, a pilots' pilot" remarked Cameron in recent blog posting in response to some commentary on the article. To review the essay and see a slide show of some of these spectacular photos please click here or on the image below..


Look for Cameron's Chesapeake book to be released sometime in 2010.

HD aerial video shoot over Baltimore, MD

Martin Hamburger of Hamburger Company selected Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation and Pete Roof of Alt Gobo Media Works to capture stunning HD air-to-ground aerial images of P. Flanigan & Sons, Inc facilities and work project sites in the Baltimore metro area. Founded in 1885, P. Flanigan & Sons, Inc is one of the regions leaders in the construction of transportation infrastructure in the mid-Atlantic area.  Featuring an innovative process, P. Flanigan & Sons is able to recycle the removed concrete from the work site and create sustainable aggregate products vital to new construction.  The aerial imaging captured during this flight will be used by the creative folks at Hamburger Company to create a DVD production highlighting the capabilities and work product of P. Flanigan & Sons during their 125th anniversary celebrations during 2010.


USS Freedom Departs Alexandria, VA

Commissioned  on November 8th, 2008 in Milwaukee the USS Freedom is the US Navy's first LCS (littoral combat ship) "LCS 1". Operating with a crew of 50 seaman the USS Freedom is designed to patrol in the near-shore environment yet is capable of open-ocean cruising. It's primary mission is defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The vessel is 380 ft long, displaces 3100 tons fully loaded, and is powered by a pair of Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines which can drive the Freedom up to 45 kts.

The USS Freedom departed the Alexandria VA waterfront this morning and steamed under the open span of the brand new Woodrow Wilson bridge at 8:45a.  On scene to capture the moment was Patrick Hendrickson of Highcamera Aerial Photographic Service.  Patrick selected the MD 500 helicopter operated by Bussmann Aviation as the platform of choice for this demanding photo assignment. "The rock steady flying characteristics of this helicopter coupled with the pilot's ability to precisely position the aircraft just where I need it, exactly when I need it is the reason why I depend on Heloflights for the tough jobs that have to be done right" commented Patrick at the conclusion of the flight.


Frontline Investigation "Poisoned Waters"

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health. In Poisoned Waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem.

Aerial footage of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas for the program was gathered by Bussmann Aviation using their rock stable MD500 helicopter as the aerial platform of choice.

Through interviews with scientists, environmental activists, corporate executives and average citizens impacted by the burgeoning pollution problem, Smith reveals startling new evidence that today's growing environmental threat comes not from the giant industrial polluters of old, but from chemicals in consumers' face creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners that find their way into sewers, storm drains and eventually into America's waterways and drinking water.

"The environment has slipped off our radar screen because it's not a hot crisis like the financial meltdown, war or terrorism," Smith says. "But pollution is a ticking time bomb. It's a chronic cancer that is slowly eating away the natural resources that are vital to our very lives."

In Poisoned Waters, Smith speaks with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who report finding genetically mutated marine life in the Potomac River. In addition to finding frogs with six legs and other mutations, the researchers have found male amphibians with ovaries and female frogs with male genitalia. Scientists tell FRONTLINE that the mutations are likely caused by exposure to "endocrine disruptors," chemical compounds that mimic the body's natural here

The Washington Post reviewed the documentary, click here to see the commentary.

The USGS research on the Potomac River poses some troubling questions for the 2 million people who rely on the Washington Aqueduct for their drinking water.

"The endocrine system of fish is very similar to the endocrine system of humans," USGS fish pathologist Vicki Blazer says. "They pretty much have all the same hormone systems as humans, which is why we use them as sort of indicator species. ... We can't help but make that jump to ask the question, 'How are these things influencing people?'"


Living History - Civil War Landmarks From The Air

Blue Ridge PBS has been tasked to produce a series of 40 minute DVD based secondary school teacher vignettes highlighting major geographic landmarks of the civil war era.  When classroom study reaches a certain timeframe or geography the instructor can supplement classroom materials with this series of educational DVD's that includes view of the present day location from both the air and the ground.  The first set of aerials was shot early this summer and included Manassas, Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Fredericksburg, Guinea Station, Chatham Hall, Fort Monroe, City Point, Tredegar Iron Works and Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond VA. Producer Jim Hammerstrom is expecting the series will be completed within 1 year.


The Circus Is Coming To Town!

The History Channel is planning to air a new documentary series this fall entitled "Great Trains". Videographer Pete Roof and pilot Steve Bussmann were up in the air over Baltimore in the wee hours this Monday morning grabbing some crucial air-to-ground footage of the famed Barnum & Bailey Circus Train as it wended it's way from the Montclair rail yard in Baltimore down to Washington DC.  As this train is privately owned and contains a very precious cargo it typically makes its move around congested metropolitan areas very early in the morning as not not disrupt normal freight and passenger traffic in the crowded northeast rail corridor. "Shooting at night over a congested area presents its own unique set of challenges" said Associate Producer Josh Vinitz, "Pete and Steve work well together and were able to get the in tight and close point-of-view and passing shots we needed to make this story."


Car Strikes Crowd At Illegal Car Race

Once again the Washington Post has tapped Bussmann Aviation to get their breaking news team in position to grab the cover page photos - this time of a horrific illegal late night multi-vehicle car crash in Accokeek, MD.

The eight victims ranged in age from their 20s to 61, all men gathered in the dark of night for the thrill of watching cars race on a flat stretch of Indian Head Highway.Witnesses and police described a grisly scene, with people flying up to 15 feet in the air and body parts laying strewn about the road. Shoes and pieces of clothing were scattered along the road's grassy median for 200 yards. The Ford Crown Victoria that struck the spectators around 3 a.m. had not taken part in the race. The driver told police that he was blinded by a cloud of white smoke and debris kicked up by the spinning wheels of two vehicles that had just taken off to race.


Hopkins" Aerial Shoot Over Baltimore

Stunning nighttime aerial sequences of Baltimore are captured by pilot Steve Bussmann and cinematographer Richard Chisolm for the new ABC News 6 part documentary "Hopkins" set to broadcast in 2008.

"Nearly eight years after the critically acclaimed series, Hopkins 24/7, ABC News returns to Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital for a new six-part documentary entitled Hopkins, which delves even deeper into the world of caregivers at this hospital. Hopkins offers a rare look at the impact this high pressure profession can have on doctors' personal lives. For four months ABC News' high definition cameras had unparalleled access to this legendary hospital and to more than a hundred caregivers and patients who gave their consent to be filmed. Hopkins captures astounding scenes of medical crisis, with young doctors forced to make life and death decisions on the fly. The result is a stunningly intimate portrait of the men and women who call this hospital home. Hopkins premieres THURSDAY, JUNE 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), and will continue for five subsequent Thursdays through July on the ABC Television Network."


Captain John Smith Once Again Sails the Chesapeake

Maryland Public TV hired Bussmann Aviation to position MPT videographer Tim Pugh down low over a reproduction of a shallop as it was put through its paces by its crew south of Chestertown on the Southeast Creek. Shooting HD video, Tim was able to get both point-of-view as well as orbiting shots of the vessel utilizing the 3 axis, 4 gyro stabilized middle camera mount positioned by pilot Steve Bussmann in the rear cabin.  "By locating the camera mount on the starboard side of the aircraft we can both orbit the subject matter in a clockwise pattern and use the tail rotor of the helicopter to fly the aircraft sideways up to 40 kts for point of view shots, all without having to re-rig the mount in between takes" commented Steve.

When the first English explorers came to the New World in the late 1500s and early 1600s, they quickly
discovered a need for small, versatile, heavily constructed workboats that would enable them to safely
explore the coastline and conduct trade with the American Indian tribes of the region. The vessel they
designed specifically for this purpose was known as a shallop. Shallops played an essential role in the survival of the first settlements in the New World. They were used to explore and map the coast line, transport people from one location to another, and deliver trade goods that were exchanged with local Indian tribes for food and other critical supplies.

In the summer of 2007 a crew of modern-day explorers, historians, naturalists and educators will endeavor to retrace Captain John Smith's incredible 1608 expedition. Traveling in a 28-foot reproduction of Smith's shallop, and living much as Smith and his men did 400 years ago, the shallop and her crew will spend 121-days voyaging to the headwaters of almost every tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. At more than 20 points along the route, the shallop and her crew will stop for public exhibitions so that people from all around the region can learn about this important episode in the history of the Chesapeake. For more information, please go to the John Smith 400 website at or the Sultana website at


"Americans at War" Comes to Annapolis

CACI of Arlington VA selected Heloflights to provide some air-to-ground footage of the US Naval Academy located in scenic Annapolis, MD as part of the opening sequence of the PBS Documentary series Americans at War scheduled to air on this Veteran's Day. Through the eyes of those who were there, Americans at War looks back at the moments when ordinary people were called to extraordinary heroism. High-definition interviews offer intimate, one-on-one experiences. It's a priceless understanding of the effects of war through harrowing personal accounts. Featured on PBS, this award-winning series offers 50 compelling vignettes. This episode included personal stories of Ben Carson, James Holloway, Ruth Haddick, George Bush, John Ripley, Norman Hatch, Frank Buckles, James Webb, Harry Ferrier, Paul Yost, Bob Dole, John Yingling, Edwin Bearss, James Leavelle, Bob Kerrey, Donald Lopez, Joe Galloway, Richard Zimermann, Thomas Griffin, Jack Fellowes and Charles McGee.


Open Eye Pictures Documentary "Under Our Skin"

Andy Wilson of Open Eye Pictures came to northern Virginia to shoot some HD video of fall foliage for his upcoming documentary on Lyme disaese called "Under Our Skin" and selected Pete Roof of Creative Video and Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation to provide the aerial footage he was looking for.  Using our gyro stabilized middle mount, Pete and Steve worked together to capture the aerial scenery Andy was looking for to complete the production, due to be released by the end of 2007.

In the early 1970's, a mysterious new ailment was discovered among a group of children living around the town of Lyme, CT. What was first diagnosed as isolated cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, eventually became known as Lyme disease, a potentially serious illness triggered by spiral-shaped bacteria, similar to the organisms that cause syphilis. Today, cases of Lyme disease have been reported in all states. According to CDC estimates, over 200,000 people may acquire the disease per year--more than cases of AIDS, West Nile Virus, and Avian Flu combined. Many of those untreated will suffer chronic debilitating illness. Some unknowingly will pass the disease on to their unborn children. Many will lose their livelihoods, and still others will lose their lives.


Pursuit Boats S310 on the Eastern Shore

Ronnie Constantino of Atlantic Photo Tech was hired by Pursuit Boats to capture some aerial video and still digital images of this center console runabout over the Wye River on Maryland's eastern shore.  Flying low level in concert with a power boat underway is a demanding flying job, photographers specializing in this type of work are very particular about the pilots and machines they choose for this type of work.  Bussmann Aviation is proud to continue to be selected as the mid-Atlantic platform of choice for this type of challenging flying.

The Pursuit S310 is the perfect family boat as it combines the ease and accessibility of a center console with the luxury and amenities of a cruiser. It feature deep, comfortable seating, varnished teak tables and accents, dry and wet storage. Anglers will appreciate the richly varnished teak rod holders under the gunwale, along with storage port and starboard to ice down the catch of the day and additional rod and equipment storage under the forward cushions. Cruisers will love all the comforts of a cabin cruiser thoughtfully built into the boat, including a full standup electric head with sink, custom non-skid areas, an extended custom hardtop with storage, lighting and speakers built in, varnished teak accents, ice chest with sandwich tray, seating for everyone both fore and aft, including a custom teak dining table that can be removed to install the padded insert for sunbathing, fresh water supply and a stainless pull-out refrigerator!


Tiara Yachts 3500 Sovran at the Annapolis Boat Show

World renown boat photographer Forest Johnson was in Annapolis today to grab some early morning aerials of the 3500 Sovran by Tiara Yachts using a helicopter provided by Bussmann Aviation. Skimming low over the Chesapeake Bay shortly after dawn pilot Steve Bussmann maneuvered the aircraft to provide Forest the best possible angle.  Shots from this project will appear in the January 2008 issue of Motorboating Magazine.

This all-new Sovran continues the Tiara tradition of uncompromising quality and seaworthiness. Like the 3900 and 4300, the 3500 Sovran is engineered to take full advantage of the latest Volvo IPS technology for superior handling, noise and fume reduction, and fuel efficiency. The 3500 Sovran is ideal for a cruising couple that likes to entertain family and friends for the day, or may occasionally host overnight guests. Its intelligent floor plan, advanced drive train technology and characteristic Tiara attention to fit and finish will make the 3500 Sovran a source of cruising pleasure and lasting value.


"FETCH!" with Ruff Ruffman Lands in Clinton, MD

Produced by WGBH, the wildly successful PBS reality kids TV show "FETCH!" was in town today to film an episode of the program which is set to air this fall. Bussmann Aviation was tapped to provide aerial platform services for the air-to-ground sequences which were obtained via our in-house gyro stabilized middle mount camera stabilizing system. 

Part game show, part reality TV, and part spoof, FETCH! features real kids, real challenges, real science, and an unreal host named Ruff Ruffman. Featuring 20 half-hour episodes, FETCH! mixes live-action with animation and breaks the mold with its educational and comical take on America's newest television genre. Targeting six- to ten-year olds, it is spontaneous, unscripted, and full of twists.  FETCH! explores the untapped potential of the hugely popular reality television genre and proves that it can be a great venue for kids to have fun while learning problem-solving skills and teamwork. The series also offers viewers an important perspective on competition by letting them know that the value of an experience isn't just determined by winning or losing, but by what happens along the way. Funded in large part by the National Science Foundation, the series focuses on real world science, featuring kids as they pursue questions, conduct experiments, and actively investigate the world around them. In addition, the series also has an extensive outreach initiative, designed to extend the impact of FETCH!'s science themes and give viewers a chance to play along with the show, even after the TV is turned off.

Ruff Ruffman


New Wilson Bridge Opens for the First Time

Kent Larson of Aerial Photographers depended on Heloflights to get him in position "low and slow" over the Potomac River this Sunday to document the grand opening of the new Wilson Bridge draw bridge as the Columbian Navy sailing vessel "Gloria" arrived in Washington DC to moor off the town dock in old town Alexandria, VA.


Open Road Films Comes to Town

Bussmann Aviation was asked to provide an aerial platform for Producer Mary Pat Bentel and Director Danielle Lurie who are working on a documentary to record the journey of singer Sheryl Crow and environmentalist Laurie David as they travel across the country on a two-week Stop Global Warming College Tour which will terminate this Sunday, April 22 on the campus of George Washington University.  The tour kicked off from the campus of Southern Methodist University on April 9th. 


Early Spring Frosts Wreak Havoc

Bussmann Aviation was called out for four nights by Horton Vineyards of Orange VA to help prevent early morning frost damage to tender buds just starting to emerge.  Typically starting at 1am pilot Steve Bussmann and co-pilots Chris Billet and Robert Bussmann would fly slowly at tree top level covering thirty acres of this award winning local vineyard. Frost prevention flights work best during temperature inversions - helicopter rotor wash can push down warmer air and displace the cold air at the surface helping to minimize frost damage on tender spring growth.


We Go Green!

Bussmann Aviation / Heloflights is proud to announce that the company has joined the ranks of 1% For The Planet, an alliance of businesses committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier planet. Members recognize their responsibility to and dependence on a healthy environment and donate at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. The alliance aims to prove that taking environmental responsibility is good for business. Click on the image below for more details on this fine alliance.


Air-to-Air Video Over the Potomac

Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary this April and as part of the occasion have hired American Rogue Films to produce a video documentary highlighting the operations, personnel and equipment of this distinguished outfit.  Bussmann Aviation was selected by Director Austin Smithard to provide the necessary aerial platform and gyro stabilized camera mount to capture air-to-air footage of HMX-1 aircraft flying along the Potomac from Quantico all the way to the Tidal Basin and Key Bridge.

HMX-1 was established in December 1947 as an experimental unit to test and evaluate helicopters and tactics and currently provides all helicopter transportation for the President both overseas and within the continental United States. In addition, HMX-1 provides helicopter transportation for the Vice President, members of the President's Cabinet, and foreign dignitaries as directed by the White House Military Office. HMX-1 also provides helicopter emergency evacuation and other support as directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Marine One is the call sign used when the President is on board one of the HMX-1 Marine helicopters. The current primary presidential helicopter is the Sikorsky VH-3D (Sea King). HMX-1 is also tasked with the Operational Test and Evaluation of US Marine Corps assault helicopters and related equipment.

The initial screening of the video production will be held on April 13th at the National Museum of the Marine Corps located in Quantico, VA.


Second time is a charm!

Shortly after 8am the lead tug "Christine McAllister" from McAllister Towing was able to wrest the aircraft carrier Intrepid from its home for the past twenty four years at pier 86 on the Hudson river in New York.  For the past 4 weeks a dredging contractor working under supervision of the US Navy removed 39,000 cubic yards of sediment to create a trench to allow McAllister tugs to pull the carrier from its berth out into the middle of the Hudson river for the planned 5 mile tow to Bayonne, NJ where the historic vessel will undergo a two year overhaul and refurbishment.  Pilot Steve Bussmann was able to position photographer Jonathan Atkin of ShipShooter and videographer Ken Frazier of TVN Video "low and slow" to document the effort. The photo below shows our MD500 helicopter in position and on assignment over the vessel as it is beginning to leave the pier. For a brief YouTube video (shot by TVN Video) of the project, click on the photo below!


"Streets of Gold"

Washingtonian Magazine real estate expert Assistant Editor Mary Clare Fleury decided she needed aerial shots of some key homes in Washington's most exclusive neighborhoods and naturally selected photographer Cameron Davidson and Bussmann Aviation's MD 500 helicopter to get her and Cameron in optimum position for capturing the images she needed for her November 2006 issue. See pages 102 through 109 for the story and photos!


Sharks in Silver Spring, Maryland

To help launch the "Shark Week" TV series of programs the folks at Discovery Channel decorated their building in downtown Silver Spring in an unusual fashion.  Pilot Steve Bussmann was able to get photographer Cameron Davidson and videographer Bruce Liffiton in low and slow to grab the promo shots they needed to help kickoff the event. Click on the image below for details!


"Prince Among Slaves" Video Shoot for PBS

1788 - The slave ship Africa set sail from Gambia, West Africa, its berth laden with a profitable but highly perishable cargohundreds of men, women and children bound in chainsheaded to American shores.  Six months later, a handful of survivors would find themselves for sale in Natchez, Mississippi.  One of them, a 26-year-old man named Ibrahima Abdul Rahman would make a most remarkable claim to Thomas Foster, the tobacco farmer who purchased him at auction: As an African prince, highly educated and personable, his father would gladly pay gold for his return.

Ibrahima would not return to Africa for another 40 years.  In that time he would toil on the plantation to make his owner rich.  He would marry and father nine children.  He would also become the most famous African in America, attracting the support of such powerful men as President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay.  Later in life, he would travel widely throughout the northern states, speaking to huge audiences in an attempt to raise enough money to buy his children out of slavery.  And finally, at the age of 67, he would return to Africa, only to fall ill and die just as word of his return reached his former home.  Through it all, Ibrahima would maintain his dignity and hope for the freedom of his people.

Camerman Dennis Boni shot the dramatic sunset scene of Ibrahima landing on the shores of Africa using the gyro stabilized camera mount provided by Bussmann Aviation near historic St. Mary's Maryland.  Click on the image below for a trailer and an update on the status of the production!



Aerial Property Survey - The Nature Conservancy

Early this year The Nature Conservancy was deeded some easement property along the shores of the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers between Fredericksburg and Lignum, VA.  Before sending in ground-based survey conservation teams to explore the shores, TNC selected Heloflights to conduct several aerial photo missions over the property with GIS and terrain experts on board.  Bussmann Aviation was also able to supply TNC with detailed GPS track log files of both flights with key areas for ground team detailed studies.


Volvo Ocean Race Competitors Reach New York

Bussmann Aviation was called upon by business partner Camera Copters of Miami to pilot their MD500 Cineflex HD camera ship over the waters of Chesapeake Bay this past Sunday as the seven boats departed Annapolis southward down the bay towards Virginia Beach, and then again as the racers entered New York harbor.  After clearing the bay, the boats turned northward and followed the coastline where they finished leg 6 in New York harbor early Tuesday morning.  On board the helicopter for the both the Annapolis start and New York finish segments was Steve Cassidy of handling the video camera and Oskar Kihlborg in the rear cabin snapping the aerial print shots of both events.  Images and video can be seen by clicking the logo below:


Scouting Shoot for "Breach"

Pilot Steve Bussmann and videographer Pete Roof were recently tapped by the production team for "Breach" to conduct a aerial video location scouting flight for the Universal film currently in production. Starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert, this film is the story of Robert Hanssen and how he was discovered and apprehended by the FBI.  This feature film is scheduled to be released February 16, 2007.

Using on-board moving map GPS technology with track logging synched with the time code of the vide tape, Bussmann Aviation was able to provide the production team with the exact coordinates of all of the locations shot over Fairfax County. "We couldn't have done it without you" remarked Patty Hess, "this was exactly what we needed.  Many thanks to you and Pete for being so responsive to our needs!"


Overturned Truck on I-270 Flyover Ramp Ties up Traffic for Hours

A tractor-trailer carrying wooden stockade fences flipped on the Capital Beltway during this morning's rush hour, raining debris onto Interstate 270 below and unfortunately killing a Marriott International executive on his way to work in Bethesda, MD.  The Washington Post called Bussmann Aviation to help them get a photographer over the accident to capture the scene for the front page in the next day's paper.


First Phase of Flight Instruction Completed for PAX NAS TPS

Bussmann Aviation recently completed delivery of 40 hours of ground and flight instruction for 5 naval aviators enrolled in the Test Pilot School at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland.  This instruction included both ground school covering aircraft systems, standard and emergency procedures and flight instruction highlighting normal and emergency maneuvers, including full touchdown autorotations.  The second phase of the program includes the same instruction for 9 additional aviators and this instruction will be delivered during January 2006.  The TPS at Patuxent NAS uses the TH-6 (military version of the MD500) as one of its rotary wing platforms for training test pilot candidates.


Webelos Den 11 Pack 1195 Visits Helofights

Some 10 scouts, their leaders, siblings and parents enjoyed a presentation on rotary wing flight and participated in a hangar and aircraft tour this past weekend.  After spending some time learning the intricacies of helicopters the den next toured the Nextflight FBO, also based at Manassas.

Commented Bill Goldfarb, leader of the den - "A short note of thanks for all the hospitability extended toward my group last Saturday. The presentation was superb - informative, enlightening and the perfect level of "classroom" and hands-on study. You opened our eyes to a world of helicopters most had no idea existed. You very well may have given a young man the inspiration to do great things. A further thanks for connecting is with Owen Williams and the NextFlight crew - they proceeded to further wow us with airplanes, flight operations and personnel functions. He later escorted us back for a full buffet, as well as allowing each scout to take a helicopter ride !!! The day could be described as nothing less than magical and will be remembered by all for a lifetime. You are a true asset in this world and for all the group, I extend our deepest appreciation. Thanks again and if there is anything we can do for you (60 young boys at the ready!!), don't hesitate ask."


"Moving Drawing"

Videographer Jeff Cook of Active Aerials and photographer Kent Larson of Aerial Photographers recently selected Heloflights to get them into position for grabbing some stunning aerial photos and footage of The Moving Drawing of Jheon Soocheon.  Sponsored by Hyundai, Samsung, RailCruise America, and Naver among others, artist Jheon Soocheon has created a "moving art" by covering a 15 car passenger train with flowing canvas and then using the vehicle to create a moving drawing from New York to Los Angeles.  For more details point your browser to:


Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland

"Gorgeous footage!" exclaimed Karen Mintz of Blue Plate Productions as she has spent the past several weeks reviewing and editing the video tape shot recently by Pete Roof of Creative Video in aircraft provided by Bussmann Aviation.  "There's no way we could have told the story without the terrific aerial footage you were able to deliver for us, thanks!" 

The Telly Awards Bronze Winner video, entitled "The New American Farmer"  is for the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and it's purpose is to educate people in the area about the region's rich agricultural history so they will (in the face of lots of development) continue to support their local farmers and keep farms in business.

For more details on the TCC, please point your browser to:


Fox Sports Network

Not since Jacques Cousteau have fish seen this many cameras. Never before have angling fans seen a bass tournament with this much FOX Attitude. Now, that all changes. On Sun., Feb. 6, FSN begins its new weekly show FLW OUTDOORS, with coverage of the FLW national tournament circuit. As the tournament made its way to the east coast, Heloflights was selected to get Fox videographers in tight and close to film all of the action as the pros went to work on the banks of the Potomac.

The one-hour show airs Sundays at 11:00 AM EST, 10:00 AM CST/MTN. Check local listings for PST airings.


Booze Allen Classic on USA and ABC Networks

Viewers tuning in to the broadcast of the Booze Allen Classic to be aired the week of June 6th will be treated at the beginning of the telecast to a birds eye view tour of the Blue Course at Congressional Country Club.  From tee box to green Heloflights was able to get videographer Chris Chanda into position for each hole. All the greats will be in town and playing, be sure to tune in!

Outdoor Life Network "Ultimate Playground" Series Film Shoot

Recently the folks at OLN asked Heloflights to assist them with the filming of a new episode of the popular Ultimate Playground series called "Secret Training", to be broadcast during the month of June.  Flying cinematographer Scott Darharp at treetop level over the Chesapeake Bay pilot Steve Bussmann was able to position the film crew directly above the speeding Zodiac as it raced across the bay towards Execution Island. 

"Former Navy Seals take host Laird Macintosh on a weekend training adventure on the Chesapeake Bay. It's a sometime serious, sometimes funny and completely unexpected Ultimate Playground."

For specific dates and airtimes point your browser to the logo below:

Congratulations - Ben Hewlett!

After many weeks of studying and flight preparation Ben Hewlett successfully passed both his commercial and CFI checkrides with flying colors!

In memoriam: Steve Kotzmoyer

In observance of the memorial service for our friend Steven Lee Kotzmoyer and his daughter Jessica Kotzmoyer,  Bussmann Aviation will be closed for business this day.

Steve was born in 1956 in Bangor Maine and graduated from Hayfield High School in 1974.  He received an Associate Degree in Computer Science at Northern Virginia Community College.  He was employed by Allen Systems Group in Reston Virginia as Principal Architect & Lead Developer for TMON for TCP/IP.

Carolina says "Yes!"

Marc Garner decided to stack the deck in his favor by adopting a overwhelming offense in his proposal planning for sweetheart Carolina Espinal.  Key to his strategy was organizing a champagne helicopter flight over the Blue Ridge foothills during which he delivered his proposal for marriage - which Carolina enthusiastically accepted!

A date has not yet been set, but the ring was very impressive.

In memoriam: John Deardourff

In observance of the memorial service for our friend John Deardourff,  Bussmann Aviation will be closed for business this day.

Mr. Deardourff was a board member of the Children's Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Environmental Trust, Public Voice and the Women's Campaign Research Fund. In 1986, the National Women's Political Caucus gave him its "Good Guy Award," which honors men who support women in politics.

Mr. Deardourff was a volunteer at the Phillips Collection, where he served as an adviser to the board of trustees in the 1980s. His other passions were tennis and travel.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Elisabeth Griffith, headmistress of the Madeira School, of McLean; two daughters from his first marriage, Anne Sinsheimer of Charlotte and Katherine Wordsman of Bedford, N.Y.; two children from his second marriage, Megan Deardourff of Washington and John David Deardourff, a student at Davidson College in North Carolina; two brothers; and four grandchildren.

"Battlefield Detectives" Antietam and Gettysburg Segments Airs on the History Channel

As mentioned previously in a July release, Bussmann Aviation was selected back in the summer of this year to assist Granada Television with the production of two part "Battlefield Detectives" series featuring in-depth historical analysis of both the Antietam and Gettysburg Civil War epic battles.  Both productions are available on DVD via

Arson Strikes Charles County

Once again the Washington Post tapped Heloflights to get their photographer in place for some front page images of the recent residential arson fires that damaged 12 homes in Indian Head, Maryland. Despite the rainy conditions over 30 homes were damaged in Maryland's worst case of arson in the states history.

See Think Productions Hi-Definition Video Shoot

Ethan Palmer and Tom Davis spent the day slogging through the mud at the Page farm in Port Deposit Maryland filming castle assaults and open field combat staged by creative anachronists "Darkon".  Portions of this production was shot from the air using hi-def video camera gear mounted to Bussmann Aviation's AE GSM mounted in front of the co-pilots seat in the helicopter for outstanding point-of-view perspective of the action below.

Skunk Films Chesapeake Bay Documentary

Jeff Pohorski of Skunk Films recently spent an entire day along with videographer Pete Roof and pilot Steve Bussmann in a MD 500 helicopter shooting video footage of Baltimore harbor, Annapolis, Tangier & Smith Islands, Patuxent river basin and the lower Chesapeake Bay for a video documentary project entitled "Between Heaven and Earth - The Plight of the Chesapeake Watermen" (Bronze Telly Award Winner).  "The ability to quickly re-rig the AE GSM gyro stabilized camera mount from point-of-view to out-the-side configuration while in the field is a real benefit to to assist the client in getting the shots they need" commented Pete Roof.

Guru Nanak Foundation of America "Petals" Mission

The GNFA recently celebrated their 100th anniversary by releasing thousands of rose petals over their congregation and church from a helicopter provided by Bussmann Aviation.  Despite the blustery conditions, the petals were dropped right on target thanks to precision placement by Marc Woolverton. "Thank you very much for making our anniversary celebration such a success"  remarked Maninder Singh at the conclusion of the event.

History Channel "Battlefield Detectives" Shoot

Granada Television recently selected Heloflights to help them shoot aerial video footage of Gettysburg and Antietam National Battlefields for the popular "Battlefield Detectives" series aired on the History Channel.  In addition to aerial footage, the documentary will feature terrain analysis by geomorphologist Judy Ehlen Ph.D who surveyed Antietam from the helicopter - providing a unique perspective on the outcome of the battle based upon the geography on which the conflict took place.

A brief capsule of both upcoming programs:

"General Robert E. Lee's first invasion into the North ended in the Battle of Antietam--the bloodiest single day in the Civil War--and in all U.S. history. Just 12 hours of fighting resulted in nearly 23,000 casualties. On September 17, 1862, two determined armies gathered near Sharpsburg, a quiet backwater near Antietam Creek in western Maryland. Union forces were desperate to repel the South's invasion of their territory. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, its back to the Potomac River, was fighting for its very existence. Much was at stake. But just why was Antietam such a terrible killing field? Now the latest forensic techniques are shedding new light on the question. Experts from the fields of archaeology, geology, weapons technology, and pathology investigate this uniquely horrific moment in American history."

"Over three hot days in July 1863 , Union and Confederate forces clashed in and around a small Pennsylvania town. When the Battle of Gettysburg ended, the two exhausted sides had inflicted more than 50,000 casualties upon one another--the largest battle ever fought on American soil. The third day is considered the Confederacy's "high-water mark"--when General Robert E. Lee lost the decisive battle of the Civil War. But scientific battlefield evidence now suggests that by the time the artillery began firing that day, the Confederate fight was already doomed. And when Pickett's Charge--the famous full frontal attack against Union lines--got underway, the battle effectively was over. Experts in physics, geology, crowd control, and cartography join forces with military historians to better understand this epic battle."

The events will be telecast on the History Channel on December 20, 2004.

Gloria Estefan "Tributo A Nuestros Heroes" Concert Shoot

The coverage of Gloria Estefan performance in late June was enhanced with aerial video shot by pilot Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation and camera operator Peter Roof of Creative Video. Bussmann flew his MD-500C helicopter with Roof running a DigiBeta camera on a new AE Gyro middle mount. The new mount allows nearly any type of camera to be used in the helicopter and get substantial stabilization using three gyroscopes. Prior to getting dynamic aerials over and around the concert during the evening hours the crew shot a dramatic arrival of an F-14 Tomcat which will be used in the opening sequence.  The outdoor concert, held in a hangar at the Norfolk Naval Station, was a free event to thank the Hispanic members of the military and their families. The event will be telecast on Telemundo in October.

AE GSM Camera Mount in Action - 60 Minutes

CBS aired a segment on "60 Minutes" entitled "Alhurrah" this evening featuring footage shot using the 3-axis gyro stabilized AE GSM middle mount. A clip of this segment is posted on the gallery page.  This was the first time that videographer Phil Geyelin, has ever used this mount and he commented after reviewing the tape "the stuff looks great and is exactly what the producer was looking for! It was great flying with you and I hope we do it again in the future."

AE GSM Camera Mount Acquired

Heloflights is pleased to announce that we have added a gyro stabilized AE GSM video/film camera middle mount to our in-house inventory of capabilities. This means that on your next aerial video or film mission you can opt for a new mounting system that can get you in the air that same day without the expense, freight charges, delay, intensive rigging required for rental mounts.

Until now professional aerial camera stabilization from a moving platform has only been achieved through the use of very expensive stabilized mounts that are usually rented.  The AE Gyro Stabilized Mount & Platform (GSM) is the most affordable stabilized video or film platform that produces professional quality, rock-steady stabilized imagery for both film and video productions.  We believe the AE GSM is a breakthrough product in the areas of performance and price.  This product will enable those of you without Hollywood-sized budgets to obtain stable, high quality video. The Tyler middle mount is an excellent camera stabilization system, however it is expensive and involves long lead times, costly freight charges, and timely rigging preparation. The AE GSM is a portable system that is quick to set up and will work for many different video applications, we can typically rig a camera system ready-for-flight is less than 30 minutes.  Since the mount and gyro stabilization package is in-house, there are no freight charges and lead time issues to consider.  In addition, the AE GSM can handle cameras from 3 lbs to 70 lbs! The AE GSP stabilization is based on the use of Kenyon Laboratories Gyro Stabilizers.  The system uses three high powered gyro KS-8 stabilizers, stabilization is provided in all three axes.  KS-8 gyros with tungsten wheels are utilized with each gyro providing stabilization for up to 12 lbs of equipment, for a total of 36 lbs of stabilization.

Click to view larger image.

TSA drops the national threat level back to "yellow", but....

The Homeland Security Department (DHS) this afternoon lowered the national threat level from a "high" to "elevated" (or "code yellow") risk of terrorist attack- but unfortunately "code orange" restrictions remain in place for airports and airspace. The alert status remains "high" for airports, airlines and some cities. DHS is currently evaluating each individual TFR imposed during code orange. There may be decisions late this afternoon or over the weekend on the Chicago and Valdez (Alaska) TFRs, and Washington ADIZ procedures.

Please don't hesitate to contact us for updated & current information for flight restriction inside the DC airspace for any mission you might have.

TSA raises the national threat level back to "orange"

As a result of increased security concerns, the FAA has issued several notams restricting flight in the Washington metropolitan area. Earlier today the Department of Homeland Security raised the terrorist threat level from "elevated" to "high" (orange level); Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge cited intelligence information from credible sources of imminent terrorist attempts to attack at levels "rivaling or exceeding" the September 11, 2001, attacks. Ridge noted that al Qaeda continues to contemplate using aircraft as weapons. The NTL is expected to remain at "orange" through the end of January. 

Please don't hesitate to contact us for updated & current information for flight restriction inside the DC airspace for any mission you might have.

Georgetown University Campus Photo Shoot

GU selected Bussmann Aviation to get their video & photo staffers in "low and slow" to update their records of campus buildings and facilities reflecting all of the changes made to school property over the past few years. "We had difficulty finding a helicopter service with clearances to operate in restricted airspace surrounding Washington DC, we are certainly glad that you were available and able to assist us in getting the shots we needed. Thanks a lot!

Dominion High School Gets Ready for the Big Game - Field Drying Operations

Joe Flemming, the athletic director of Dominion High School was under severe pressure to ensure his brand new football field would be ready and dry for the season opener on Saturday night.  The Washington DC area has suffered through one of the wettest summers on record, athletic fields all over town have been turned into soggy mudholes.  "The thirty foot, four bladed rotor system of the MD500 spinning at 480 rpm was just the fan we need to help us dry out our field in time for the game tomorrow. What a life saver!" commented Joe after Bussmann Aviation had been on scene for 2 hours hovering 1 foot above the flooded turf. 

The SCV taps Bussmann Aviation to Assist Historical Research Project

Recently Red Barber of the Sons of Confederate Veterans selected N9233F to assist his forensic team in searching for civil war era campgrounds, battlefields, and grave sites in nearby Bristow, Virginia.  Flying slow racetrack search patterns at 800' using infrared thermal sensing video equipment the crew was able to locate several sites of suspected historical importance. "Aerial thermal overflights is the critical first step to assist the ground teams in conducting subsequent extensive field analysis  using ground penetrating radar. The aerial view can help us pinpoint where to focus our ground based efforts" comment Red.

Cub Scout Den 9 goes flying again!

Back by popular demand, the 10 boys and parents of Den 9, Pack 116 of Vienna Virginia recently traveled to Warrenton, Virginia for an afternoon of rotary wing aviating across the verdant farms of Fauquier county.  "What a blast!" reported Kevin Zell, "Even my mom loved it!.  At the conclusion of the flying session late in the afternoon Den leader Jim DeClerk made a third reservation for the den's return in 2004.

MWAA Selects Bussmann Aviation to Provide DC Photo Flight

Charlie Grayburn of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority recently chose N9233F to provide a magic carpet ride for two out-of-town VIPS interested in capturing print images of scenic downtown Washington DC by helicopter. "Cruising at 300' above the Potomac River past all of the local monuments is the best way to see DC!" exclaimed Dr. Jason Henneiger.

Pride of Baltimore Video Shoot

Heloflights was pleased to be selected by Jerome Bird of the Pride of Baltimore Inc to provide a stable platform for capturing video and print images of the vessel as she sailed out of Annapolis harbor on a test run. Videographer Tom Wolf remarked on the stability of the 500 platform and our ability to drop in low and slow for some outstanding images of the vessel underway.

Washington, DC Airspace Alert

In response to the increased threat level announced Friday by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, the FAA and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are imposing additional restrictions on the airspace in the national capital area. These were announced in a conference call with AOPA and other representatives from the general aviation community conducted by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and TSA Chief Operating Officer Admiral John Shkor. The specific details are contained in four separate notices to airmen (notams) released late Saturday evening; the restrictions go into effect on Monday morning 0600 local.

The biggest notam establishes an "air defense identification zone" that approximately covers the lateral limits of the Baltimore-Washington Class B airspace and a 30-nm extension to the south of the DCA VOR, from the surface to 18,000 feet msl. Inside of this area, all aircraft will be required to be operating on a flight plan, squawking a discrete transponder code, and in two-way communication with air traffic control. All flight plans should be filed on the ground, although "air-files" will be permitted. General aviation Part 91 operations continue to be prohibited within the Washington special flight rules area (SFAR 94) within 15 nm of DCA. This notam affects operations at 23 public-use airports (and several private airports) home to more than 2,400 based aircraft. There are more than 910,000 annual operations from these airports.

A second notam cancels any current waivers for operations in this area and SFAR 94. The notam requires that new waivers be obtained before resuming operations, including electronic news gathering and international arrival waivers. The only exception is for the waiver holders for operations into and out of the Maryland "DC3" airports (College Park, Hyde Field, and Potomac Airpark).

A third notam to address the current "DC3" waiver holders takes effect on Monday at 6 a.m. and requires that authorized operations in and out of the "DC3" be subject to more onerous security procedures. Aircraft, crew, and passengers will be subject to security screening by TSA prior to departing. Arrivals will be required to first land at Lee Airport (ANP), which is the "gateway" airport outside of the SFAR airspace for screening prior to landing at the "DC3." The details of these procedures are still being worked out.

In addition to the Washington-area airspace restrictions, a fourth notam will take effect Monday that rescinds all waivers to the sporting event notam (2/0199). This means that banner towers may not operate over stadiums that have a seating capacity of 30,000 or more in which a major sporting event is occurring.

Click to view larger image.

A Proposal

Dave Herbig of Clifton Virginia decided today was the day he would propose to his sweetheart.  Under the pretense of traveling to Manassas to go antiquing, Dave lured Erin onto the field for a scenic helicopter flight through northern Virginia.  Fifteen minutes into the flight, 1000 ft somewhere over Fairfax, Dave popped the question....and Erin accepted.  "The best part of the flight was the tour over Great Falls...that was fantastic" said Erin.  The couple plans to settle down in the Clifton area.

A Big Finish at US Airways Arena

The arena alongside the Washington DC Capital Beltway in Landover came down in a dynamite blast and a cloud of dust to make way for a new shopping center.  It was over in less than 20 seconds as 355 pounds placed in 550 holes leveled what was left of the 29-year-old structure.  The Washington Post selected Bussmann Aviation to get photographer Ricky Carioti "up close and personal" for this dramatic event.  Originally called the Capital Center, it opened in 1973 as the home of the Washington Bullets and Capitals and a venue for countless rock concerts.

Manassas City Crime Solvers Charity Mission

Sgt. Marc Woolverton arranged for Bussmann Aviation to provide a stable aerial platform for the annual "golf ball drop" charity fund raising event held at the Montclair Golf Club in Montclair, VA.  The Golf Ball Drop is a raffle where people buy chances at a cash prize if their ball is the ball in the hole, or closest to the hole. The balls are dropped from a helicopter at altitude over the course driving range.  All proceeds from the event benefited the FOP Charitable Foundation.

Bayliner boat shoot in Virginia Beach.

As the sun was setting this evening, Steve Bussmann was flying N9233F low over Broad Bay with several Trophy center console sport fishing boats on another web site and catalog photo mission.  A helicopter is the ideal platform to capture both low & high oblique & overhead shots of the stern, side and bow and the boat as it is running along picturesque water at speed.

Foto Flight selects Heloflights to provide a photo platform over Tysons Corner.

Photographer Randy Foulds needed a helicopter platform for a critical real estate photo mission in the northern Virginia area.  Bussmann Aviation was able to secure the necessary permissions to conduct this flight inside the current Washington "no fly zone" so Randy could get the early morning shots he needed for his client.

BBC taps Bussmann Aviation for documentary video shoot.

Steven Kostant of Swim Design recently selected Bussmann Aviation to work with the BBC and their upcoming production of a documentary entitled "Clear the Skies". Director Peter Molloy and photographer Ian Kennedy worked with Steve Bussmann to get several hours worth of video footage over the Shenandoah as well as downtown DC. The team used a Sony 790 PAL betacam on a Tyler nose mount for the job. "Clear the Skies" is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC2 in the UK on September 1, 2002 at 9pm.

Interface Multimedia selects Bussmann Aviation for Ft. Belvoir video shoot.

Interface Multimedia specializes in developing digital "site plans" and presentations for construction projects in the entire mid-Atlantic region.  Mark Burlingson was interested in both still and video photography of the downtown DC metropolitan area as well as the Ft. Belvoir region of the Potomac river. Bussmann Aviation was able to provide photographer Chet Chabuk with the platform he need to check the shots Burlinson required.

Bussmann Aviation sponsors "The Night Help" Bar-B-Que team in Washington, DC.

The 10th annual Safeway Bar-B-Que battle was held on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington, DC over the June 22nd weekend.  Bussmann Aviation was an official member & proud corporate sponsor of the "The Night Help Barbecue Team" which entered the lamb, whole shoulder, and sauce categories.  Andy Stoddard, team head chef, took 5th place overall with his world famous finishing sauce.  Friends & family visited the team tent throughout the weekend where daytime temperatures topped 100 degrees.  Needless to say the barbecue and beer was excellent!

Grady White Boats "chopper day" in Swansboro, NC.

Cheryl Goodwin of Grady White Boats recently enlisted the MD500 and services of Steve Bussmann for the companies catalog photo shoot off the North Carolina coast. Bussmann Aviation was able to provide the ideal rock-steady platform for critical cruising, trolling, beach and marina moored shots for the five of Grady White acclaimed line of sport fishing outboards.

Click to view larger image. Click to view larger image.

New Media Systems of Richmond, VA taps Bussmann Aviation for critical DC photo shoot.

Richard McDonald of New Media Systems needed to get inside the current Washington DC no-fly zone for some critical aerial photography missions from his key customers. Bussmann Aviation was able to secure the necessary authorizations to conduct this 2 hour mission around the Pentagon, Arlington, McLean, Springfield and Fredericksburg locales. By pre-loading each photo site into the moving map GPS system aboard the helicopter, Chief Pilot Steve Bussmann was able to ensure each location was photographed in the most efficient manner possible.

Click to view larger image.

Bussmann Aviation Provides Local Vineyard with Frost Prevention Services.

Jennifer McCloud of Virginia's award-winning Chrysalis Vineyard of Middleburg Virginia recently requested frost prevention services offered by Bussmann Aviation to protect sensitive spring buds in low lying areas. Starting at 11pm, McCloud placed thermometers at the four corners of two key fields totaling about 26 acres. Field hands closely monitored these thermometers and at 2am Bussmann got the word the temperatures were dipping dangerously below the freezing mark. With co-pilot Chris Billet and remote landing zone re-fueling & lighting support provided by Ron Mayer, the Heloflights team was able to successfully prevent frost damage to this key crop. Hovering 40 feet above the vineyard, the MD500 was able displace the colder ground layer of air with warmer air above bringing the surface temperature up from 29 degrees up to 35 degrees with each pass.

UPDATE - Story in Washington Post
By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 2, 2002; Page A01

"Historical Harvests for Cultivated Tastes "

Farmers Bring Back 'Heirloom' Produce

Jennifer McCloud grows Norton grapes, which date to the 1800s, at her Middleburg vineyards. Id love to see Norton rolling over the Virginia countryside, she says. Jennifer McCloud wasn't about to watch her budding crop of Norton grapes be destroyed. So one freezing morning in April, she radioed for a jet helicopter to swoop in and save the precious fruit she hopes will lead a retro revolution. The chopper, designed to scout for enemy soldiers in the Vietnam War, hovered 20 feet above the trellises, high enough so the downwash from the whirling rotors would warm, but not snap, the vines. As the sun rose, she could see a crusty layer of deadly frost just beyond the rows of her Middleburg vineyard.

Click to view larger image. Click to view larger image. Click to view larger image. Click to view larger image.

Bussmann Aviation Provides Film Crew with Camera Platform for the Opening Sequence of a Major Motion Picture.

At the request of Andy Edmunds of the Virginia Film Office, Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation provided director Richard Squires and photographer Gary Grieg with an aerial platform to capture the opening sequence of a soon-to-be-released major motion picture entitled "The Goose Creek Story" starring Mary MacDonald (of "Dances with Wolves" fame). Bussmann mounted the Arriflex 35mm film camera to the aircraft using the Tyler nose mount system. Gary sat in the co-pilot seat and using the Tyler control console was able to get the exact shots director Squires was interested in....namely tree top scenic vistas of the Virginia countryside over the Goose Creek stream bed near Middleburg.

Click to view larger image.

Bussmann Aviation provides local cub scouts with aerial tour of Manassas.

Steve Bussmann, Kate Hillas and Robert Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation spent most of the day today providing nine cub scouts of Den 9, Pack 1116 of Vienna Virginia and their parents with hangar tours and 20 minute sightseeing flights of the surrounding Virginia countryside. Some of the early flights included a brief overflight of Lake Manassas, the Nissan Pavillion as well as a small house fire in the Nokesville which was a big hit with all the boys. In addition to the flights, Chief Pilot Steve Bussmann also provided the scouts with thorough briefing on the workings of an MD500 helicopter and proper pre- and post-flight procedures.

Bussmann Aviation and Creative Video shoot aerial video of "Miss Ann" yacht.

Steve Bussmann of Bussmann Aviation and Peter Roof of Creative Video of Washington recently flew to Irvington Virginia to shoot aerial video of the yacht "Miss Ann." The 127-foot motor yacht is used for excursions on the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay for the guests of The Tides Inn resort. The video shot will be included in a package of material about the yacht and resort to be made available. Bussmann is the owner and pilot of the MD-500C helicopter that flew the mission. Roof ran the FSI Ultra Media II gyro-stabilized system. The camera gimbal contains a Sony BVP-570 camera and was mounted on a special bracket under the helicopter's nose for this assignment. The product was recorded on BetacamSP videotape and a DVcam videotape backup was also made. The MD-500C helicopter is a small, but highly capable turbine-powered aircraft. The FSI system delivered extremely smooth and stable pictures. With a fresh coat of paint, the yacht cruised down the Rappahannock River as the aerial crew swept over and around the vessel gathering a wide variety of dynamic beauty shots. The pilot was in constant radio communication with the skipper and they were able to show the beauty and grace of the 76-year-old yacht.

Click to view larger image. Click to view larger image.

The FAA has issued Bussmann Aviation a waiver to conduct flight operations within the current 15 miles "no fly zone". This waiver allows Bussmann Aviation to now operate within 10 nautical miles of the DCA VOR (see map below). In addition, there is also a new waiver procedure in place to fly within the 10 mile zone, please contact us for details!


The FAA today issued a notam that removed enhanced Class B airspace from 30 major metropolitan areas, reduced the size of the temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) "no fly" zones around New York City and Washington, D.C, and added a small TFR in Boston. That means VFR operations can resume (except for the TFR areas) in those three metropolitan areas, and specialty operations (news and traffic reporting, sight-seeing tours, banner towing, etc.) can resume in Class B airspace everywhere.

For Washington, D.C. area pilots, the even more exciting news is that Freeway, Maryland, and Suburban airports in Maryland may now reopen. Those general aviation airports, home to more than 230 aircraft, have been closed since the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, three other area airports (College Park, Potomac, and Hyde Field) remain trapped under the reduced-size TFR.

The following diagram illustrates the 15 SM "no fly" airspace remaining in the Washington DC metro area:


Get the Brochure about Bussmann Aviation. (Adobe PDF)
Learn how to fly a helicopter.
Email us for more information at