July 19, 2013
By Mike Collins
Interested in experiencing a flight in the venerable Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter, the U.S. military’s workhorse in Vietnam? Visitors to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., will have that opportunity in nearby Fond Du Lac, Wis., on Monday, July 29; Tuesday, July 30; and Thursday, Aug. 1. The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation will offer Huey flights from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Fond Du Lac County Airport.
The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, better known as the Huey, first flew in 1956 and was the first helicopter powered by a turboshaft engine that controlled the two-bladed main rotor as well as the tail rotor. It went into full production in 1960 and more than 16,000 Hueys were produced. Beginning in 1963, the U.S. Army used it in Vietnam for troop transport, medical evacuation, search and rescue, and in general utility roles. The Huey became one of the world’s most recognized helicopters.
The foundation will offer rides aboard Huey #354, one of four flyable UH-1s that it owns. The airframe flew more than 1,500 combat hours in Vietnam and has been faithfully restored by foundation members in the exact markings that it wore while operating in Vietnam. The Huey, which was acquired from the Georgia National Guard in 2008, also will fly as part of the airshow at AirVenture and will be on display in the helicopter area near the Helicopter Association International Heli-Center.
“Folks love to fly with the veterans and aircraft that made history, and that’s why we enjoy making #354 available for rides as often as possible,” said Rick Welch, director of the foundation. Rides are $60 per passenger, and the minimum age requirement is 5 years old. Reservations are not necessary; the flights will be flown on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The foundation’s flights in Lakeland, Fla., during Sun ’n Fun in April were popular with visitors. For additional information or questions, call the foundation at 770/897-0444 or visit the website.
Learn about an old helicopter that is helping Vietnam Vets heal old emotional scars.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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