A fully restored 1960’s “Huey” helicopter paying tribute to soldiers who fought in Vietnam landed at Gettysburg’s Regional Airport Saturday.
The Lancaster-based Liberty War Bird Association (LWBA) is dedicated to “provide Vietnam veterans with a link to their past.” According to its descriptive brochure, the organization also seeks to enlighten the general public “about the unique and historic role played by the Huey helicopter during the Vietnam conflict.”
The UH-1 helicopter “Flying Museum” stopped by during the semi-annual “Wings, Wheels and Pancakes” breakfast sponsored by the Experimental Aviation Association local chapter. The breakfast drew a crowd of about 500 people.
Otherwise known as the “Gettysburg Barnstormers,” EAA Chapter 1041 meets the first Monday of every month at the airport’s main hangar. Proceeds from the breakfast sponsor youth attendance at the national organization’s annual world-famous airshow and aviation event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
One of LWBA’s chief officers, helicopter pilot Peter Bohn said the fledgling organization found a Huey in decrepit condition at a college in California nearly four years ago. More than 15,000 hours were spent by numerous skilled volunteers in restoring the helicopter to its original mint flying condition.
Membership in the LWBA organization entitles individuals to an orientation flight, and several attendees at Saturday’s breakfast took advantage of the opportunity to circle the local airport in a craft that was a lifeline for countless soldiers during its service in Vietnam.
The members of the Liberty War Bird group seek to honor those who have suffered from their days as soldiers.
“When we say restore, we mean both aircraft and the mental and physical well-being of our veterans,” Bohn said.