Monday, July 19, 2010


If we're lucky, once a year, one of us puts some time and effort into planning an adventure that neither one of us has experienced. That's the idea anyway. One year it was a hot-air baloon ride, which kind of tanked. Another year, the two of us took a bi-plane ride over Lake Michigan. Then a few years ago we went sky diving. And last year we bought kayaks.
This year, adventure-girl took me down to the air show in Dayton, Ohio. To do what? Well, she kept it to her self as I requested, till we parked. Then she p
ulled out a gleaming, laminated photo from a folder of a true, Viet Nam era, Bell UH-1 Iroquois, or, as it's more commonly known as, the Huey.
And we were going for a ride.

She kept asking if I was excited and I replied, "Of course, but you know, we got in late to the hotel last night and we got up at 5 to hit the road early, so, you know, I may not look excited, but I am." So we happened over to the gates and followed the signs. It was no small trek to the fenced off field where three US Army Hueys and a Huey Cobra were powering up

We weren't first but we were close. First we had to sign a release, of course, with one eye on the first group boarding amid the thundering, ground shaking, classic Huey rotor's WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP, that can be heard for miles. Then we went through some seat belt instruction from a veteran of Viet Nam, Huey pilot who chorteled about the emergency landing they had to make a few years back and how if this were to happen again, everyone should stay inside the cockpit no questions asked, until the rotors come to a complete stop.
The funny thing is, there are no doors on these, just a big wide open space on both sides. Which is pretty cool, I think, sort of.
Okay, we're next. And I think I feel a pucker or two.
But I don't show it, nosiree.
We duck under the whining, turbo powered rotors that instill a feeling of menace in their own right and they're barely engaged while we're being loaded. From walking across the street- to buckling in-to hovering maybe 80 feet up took about three minutes. They stay in a holding pattern immediatly after lifting off to get their ques from the tower. I of course opt for the seat closest to the big open space thinking this will be a pretty cool view.
Well, less than a minute or two out and it's HHHOOOLLLYYYSSSHHHIIITTTT, the pilot banks to the left and completes a wide circle that lasts like for frikkin ever, than levels off. My stomach is somewhere beside me then HHHOOOLLLYYYSSSHHHIIITTT, the pilot banks to the right this time, completing another wide circle. The crew chief, sitti
ng across from us has a smile on her face. She's more concerned, as should be, with the elderly couple who cut in line in front of us while we waited to board and who now look like they would rather be just about anywhere but in this helicopter.
Remember, it's nothing but wide open space on either side of this warhorse with houses, swimming pools and interstate highway below us. We also declined the earplugs for maximum effect. So this is what Robert Duvall felt like leading the charge.
I casually look around, trying to figure out if we're headed back yet or not when HHHHOOOLLLLYYYYSSSSSHIIIITTTT, this time the pilot points the nose almost staight down and then slowly back up. When we level off again, the top half of me is stretched across my wife's lap. And after the third HOLY SHIT, the crew chief who is seated
directly across from us, mouthed the words "Are you okay?" I yelled back, "I bet you hear HOLY SHIT a lot!"
Its weird though, I never felt like I was actually slipping toward the door at any one time. And weirder yet, there is absolutely nothing to hold onto, like bars or handles or anything, so I grab the front of the seat by my crotch with my right hand and just let my left hand hang there...searching.

As we were receiving seat belt instruction on the ground before hand, the pilot also asked who would like to volunteer for the gunner seats. Those are the seats pointing outward at the back of the passenger area. I'm damn glad we didn't take those. Those folks were screaming there asses off, you bunch of Cedar Point wussies (just kidding). It was all pretty cool though, I discovered, after it ended, about an hour later.
And then I ate a hot dog.

credits: profile seat shot from Danie van den Berg,
attack formation from


  1. I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooo ready to do this again, and again , and again!

  2. sounds exciting!