Helicopter pilot to speak at Embry-Riddle’s Veterans Appreciation Day

Helicopter pilot to speak at Embry-Riddle’s Veterans Appreciation Day

12-Apr-2012 Source: Embry-Riddle

Vietnam veteran Sanford “Sandy” N. Kaplan, an Embry-Riddle alumnus, will be the guest speaker Tuesday, April 17, for Veterans Appreciation Day at the university’s Daytona Beach campus.

Kaplan started by taking flying lessons in 1957 at the age of 16. After high school, he attended Embry-Riddle’s flight training school in Miami in 1959 for 11 months. Before completing his training, however, he had to leave to tend to family business.

Kaplan enlisted in the Air Force in the early 1960s and became a physiological training instructor at Brooks Air Force Base. In this role he taught the use of ejection seats, oxygen systems, helmets and masks, as well as operating the low pressure chambers, the hypobaric chamber, and testing full pressure and partial pressure flying suits (space suits). He transferred to the Army when he heard they were looking for more pilots and there he achieved his dream, learning to fly helicopters.

In November 1964 Kaplan was sent to Vietnam, where he had many notable experiences that he documents in his book, An Aviator’s Story. His helicopter attacked and sunk a North Vietnamese supply ship, which later was discovered to have been carrying Soviet war supplies. For this he received special recognition from Gen. William Westmoreland. On another occasion when a friend’s supply helicopter was shot down, Kaplan ignored orders, commandeered a helicopter and rescued his friend in the jungle.

After his tour in Vietnam Kaplan became a helicopter flight instructor for the Army. After leaving the military, he became chief pilot for Ronson Helicopters and flew under contract for the state of New Jersey, transporting many VIPs, including the governor and White House personnel. In one memorable occasion, he flew a helicopter inside the Atlantic City Convention Hall to showcase the size of the building. He also flew for many movies, television shows and commercials. As a state contractor he also trained New Jersey state troopers to fly and developed the training program for their flight division.

Kaplan later flew helicopters for Atlantic Aviation, Augusta Helicopters and Dow Jones Corp. Once while flying a group of Dow Jones executives his helicopter developed mechanical problems and he successfully landed on the East River.

“We’re very proud to have Sandy join us for our fourth annual Veterans Appreciation Day as we honor all veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made for our freedom,” said Michele Berg, assistant vice president of alumni relations at Embry-Riddle. “A veteran of Vietnam, Sandy went on to lead a notable career as a commercial and corporate helicopter pilot and instructor. His life is a journey of exciting escapades, which took place for the most part at the flight controls of a helicopter. We’re proud to say that his journey began at Embry-Riddle.”

Hosted by Embry-Riddle President John P. Johnson and the Embry-Riddle Alumni Association, the Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony and the lunch that follows it are free and open to the public, with all local veterans invited to participate.

Monday, April 16 (pre-event)

Sanford N. Kaplan will talk about his experiences in Vietnam and his helicopter flying career.

A question-and-answer session and signing of his book, An Aviator’s Story, follow the presentation.

Willie Miller Instructional Center auditorium, 5-7 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 17

Veterans Appreciation Day

West Lawn, 11 a.m. to noon

Formation by Embry-Riddle ROTC units

Presentation of colors by Embry-Riddle Joint Service Color Guard

Missing Man ceremony by Embry-Riddle ROTC units

Performance by the Acafellas, Embry-Riddle’s male a cappella singing group

Address by John P. Johnson, president of Embry-Riddle

Guest Speaker: Sanford N. Kaplan, Vietnam veteran and Embry-Riddle alumnus

A free barbeque lunch will follow the ceremony. In the event of inclement weather the ceremony and lunch will be held in the ICI Center at the athletic complex across the street from campus.

Parking is free. Guests are encouraged to use the Falcon parking lot, located on the west side of campus near the flight line. It is accessed from the Richard Petty Boulevard campus entrance. Parking for people with disabilities is available in the same area near the university’s Interfaith Chapel.

For more information, contact Embry-Riddle Alumni Relations at (800) 727-3728.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visithttp://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) andfacebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.

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