Jerry Trimble Helicopters to host 8th Annual Touchdown Autorotation Contest

Located in the heart of Oregon wine country, the eighth Annual Touchdown Autorotation Contest will be held on Aug. 3, 2019. The McMinnville Airport (KMMV) will once again be the home of this unique event. Jerry Trimble Helicopters (JTH) has become the well-known host of this demonstration of skill and safety. Pilots from around the world will gather to compete in the competition or be spectators watching as pilots practice a maneuver that could one day be utilized by pilots faced with an in-flight emergency.

The helicopter that will be used for the eighth Annual Touchdown Autorotation Contest is the Robinson R22. Jerry Trimble Helicopters Photo

Jerry Trimble, co-owner of JTH, and a well-known name in the training sector of the helicopter industry, will be flying with each pilot that enters the competition in a JTH helicopter. The helicopter used for this event is the popular training helicopter, the Robinson R22. This machine also has claim to one of the lowest inertia rotor systems found in a production helicopter. Jerry, a former pilot at Robinson Helicopters in the late 1970s, flew many early R22 aircraft off the production line.

The field of competitors will be limited to 10 pilots. Each competitor has two chances to demonstrate a straight in touchdown autorotation. The judges and check pilot (Jerry) judge the points based on three criteria: technique, accuracy and ground slide. This year, there will be an all-female panel of judges. The judges include Emily Hiller, Jennifer Barger and Dina Kalff.

Hiller, who has been a part of the JTH family for almost 20 years, is currently flying for Life Flight Network in La Grande, Oregon.


Barger, previously a pilot for LFN, is currently the lead pilot for Papillon flying in the Grand Canyon.

Kalff, who did her certified flight instructor (CFI) training at JTH five years ago and consequently worked as a flight instructor for JTH, is now flying in South Texas for Cattlemans Helicopter Service.

“There are so many talented women pilots in the industry that it’s nice to be able to spotlight them at our event,” said Alison Row, president of JTH.

This year’s contest is part of a triple-header event. Also taking place on the same day is an AOPA Rusty Pilot Seminar and the Oregon Pilot Association is hosting a poker run to raise money for aviation scholarships. There will be helicopter and airplane rides as well as static displays.

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