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Fri, May 15, 2009

Aero-TV: ALL For One -- Alan Henley At Cecil 2009

The Airshow Biz is Not an Industry... It's A Family

We all have to deal with trial sand tribulations unique to us... but few will ever deal with the kind that Alan Henley has been facing for t the last year. A consummate aviator  paralyzed while a simple act of playing with his kids went awry, Alan is having to rebuild a life that once meant unlimited freedom of the skies into something a bit more constrained... but knowing Alan, he's going to push those limits as far as he can.

Hence, the reasons that dozens of performers, hundreds of industry personnel and tens of thousands of people came together to honor and support a single flyer... one they care for, in the consummate act of "family" we've seen from the aviation world in many a year.

The airshow community rallied to the cause with incredible passion and organization. Nearly 3 dozen 35 aerobatic performers committed to flying in the North Florida airshow April 18-19, with the able aid of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA). Everyone flew both days, and along with a number of ground and aviation static and support displays and activities, the event made for a feature-packed weekend that drew attendees form all over North America. The airshow had everything... from skydiving to wing-walkers to military tactical demonstrations, to warbirds, to some of the best precision aerobatic pilots and planes in the world.

It was a spectacle. The performers list was a veritable "Who's Who" of the airshow world. Performers include (but are not limited to) The AeroShell  Aerobatic Team, the Aerostars, Corky Fornof, Dale Snodgrass, Announcer Danny Clisham, Greg Poe, Jim Peitz, John Mohr, Lee Lauderback and Stallion 51 Mustang, Glider Pilot Manfred Radius, Patty Wagstaff, Announcer Rob Reider and Steve & Susanne Oliver -- and that barely covers a third of those who flew! And yes, ANN and Aero-TV were there to cover every exciting moment!

Proceeds from this event benefitted Fly, Drive and Ride for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research and The Alan Henley Foundation. The Alan Henley Foundation is a charitable organization whose sole purpose is to benefit his treatment and his family. Alan and his wife, Jennifer, have two young children, Skylar and Brandon.

Alan has served admirably, for a number of years as the lead pilot for the AeroShell Aerobatic Team (tough duty, he used to tell us... and we never believed him... grin). He was injured last July in an accident while playing with his children at his home in Birmingham, AL. A chin-up bar gave way while Henley was on it, resulting in a fall which caused severe injuries to his neck and head. Alan is making progress... but it's a slow expensive process that is not being all that well supported by Henley's medical insurer -- so it became up to us, his aviation family to pick up the difference.

Alan has undergone a number of surgeries and battled collateral infections and complications that resulted from his injury. At the moment, we regret to note that he is still paralyzed from the chest down, and will undergo extensive rehabilitation 'on a long journey to an uncertain recovery.' But Alan promises to fly again... he may need hand controls or other devices to aid the process, but this is an aviator who will NOT be denied the skies... and judging by the chat we had with him at Cecil Field, we'd be foolish to bet against him. Mark our words, Alan will fly again.

In HIs Own Words -- Alan Henley Spends A Few Minutes With Aero-TV!

FMI: www.Cecilfeld.aero, www.naat.net, www.caringbridge.org/visit/alanhenley, www.aero-tv.net, www.youtube.com/aerotvnetwork, http://twitter.com/AeroNews

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