AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – The friends of Army Aviation of Ozark gave Huey rides until sunset. It was an opportunity to give riders a taste of how troops used to go into battles during the Vietnam war and keep the memory alive of the contributions soldiers made.
“Our veterans are emotional when they see this helicopter,” says Chuck Schieffer, Friends of Aviation’s Director of Operation.
People flocked to Daniel Field Airport to experience how it feels to fly in a Huey, an historic aircraft used during the Vietnam war era.
The attraction celebrates the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association’s 33rd reunion, but its also an opportunity to educate.
“They’re really telling us about the history of the Huey’s and how they were able to acquire the one they have now,” says Kelsi Austin, Huey Participant.
“We’re educating people, because this is a piece of history. This is a legacy aircraft.This helicopter took them into battle, brought them food, took their wounded and dead out, and many are very emotional when they see this aircraft flying in and around the area,” says Chuck Schieffer.
And a demonstration of safety before taking flight. The Friends of Aviation set up the chairs as if they were already in the air.
“We give them a safety briefing, we talk about exiting the aircraft, entering the aircraft, and an explanation of why this aircraft is an experimental aircraft registered by the government and why we have the right or the privilege to fly this aircraft for the public,” says Chuck Schieffer.
While towering over the city, pilots set up a route to show people the most discrete possession Augusta holds.
“We give people a look at the Augusta National, and fly out just as far as the river, do a couple of turns, a couple of dives, a few circles and then we come back in,” says Chris.
Not only was it the first helicopter ride for many people,it was a first look at the course from above.
“Seeing it from up above, it was really really cool to see. Especially, it looks like they’re in the process of changing the course. So it was kind of cool to see that in perspective,” says Kelsi Austin, Huey Participant.
Others told me the best part was feeling like they were on top of the world.
“This was great…well worth it,” says Rip Phillips, Huey Participant.
The friends of Army Aviation of Ozark is a non-profit organization. All money that a was collected from rides this weekend will go towards maintaining their current Huey and rebuilding a second aircraft.