Friends of Army Aviation brings the flight experience to Dothan for the third year

Tickets are $50 to ride in a Huey helicopter
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Friends of Army Aviation is bringing the flight experience to Dothan, providing residents the chance to ride in a Huey helicopter. The “Dothan Remembers...A Tribute to Army Aviation and Veterans" returns for its third year.

“It’s a great time to be had by all and I’d appreciate if everyone could come out and support us," John Doc Holladay, President of The Friends of Army Aviation, said.

On Saturday, September 26, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 27, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. there will be more than live music and food trucks, but a Huey helicopter. People will gather behind Flowers Hospital for what some would say is the ride of their life.

“It’s an actual aircraft ride that lasts ten minutes, and in that ten-minute time frame you will actually see some of the maneuvers that we actually did in Vietnam," Holladay said.

The Friends of Army Aviation are giving people an insight of what Army Aviation is all about, from the inside of a Huey helicopter.

“The turns and the various ups and down we do, it really gives you the appreciation of what the aircraft is capable of doing and the versatility behind it," Holladay said. "It’s an experience of a lifetime really.”

While on the Huey, the only thing between you and the visibility of the ground is a seatbelt.

All minors from two to 17 years old must have a parent or guardians signed permission. Children 16 and younger must ride with their guardian and children 10 and younger cannot ride in outside seats or in the gunner seats.

“We are not here to scare people," Holladay said. "That’s not the purpose of what we do. We’re here to try to educate the public about Army Aviation, what Army Aviation has to offer to the American public, and more importantly we are always looking for a few good ladies and gentlemen and future aviators.”

Tickets to take part in riding in the iconic legacy of a Huey UH1 are available for $50. For more information regarding the flights click here.

“We’ve come up with a system that will allow people to come, sign the waiver, pay for the ride, manifest, and you’ll get an armband and your armband is associated with the time that you need to get back on the ride,” Holladay said.

Holladay said this is not only an educational opportunity for the American people, but to also reach out to their veterans.

“We want to let our veterans know that they are not forgotten, that’s the whole purpose of who we are, we’re a nonprofit organization, we support our veterans both living and who have passed,” Holladay said.

Beyond the excitement, this event tells the story of the aircraft being a healer.

“When you get guys from Vietnam who have post dramatic stress disorder, or they’re dealing with some issues internally within themselves its like a healer. They get around this aircraft and it’s like being home,” Holladay said. “So, we do that, the veterans who have not been able to converse with their family about what they did, it draws the family closer, it allows that individual to educate his family about what he was confronted with in Vietnam and how he traveled and how he got in and out of LZ’s and what he did and its amazing what that does. And to us, that’s priceless, because that’s what we do.”

CDC guidelines will be followed at the event, masks will be provided, temperature checks will be in place upon entering and there will be sanitizer provided.

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