The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation (AAHF) in Henry County allows you to explore Vietnam-era helicopters for FREE, and their affordable flying options will have you doing loop-the-loops with excitement.
In fact, the AAHF (here in Georgia, as well as other chapters around the country) are the only places with the FAA exception to allow flights in military helicopters!! When you’re done, head to family-friendly Jailhouse Brewing Company for a tour, a pour and lots of fun. Here are the details!
EXPLORE THE ARMY AVIATION HERITAGE FOUNDATION MUSEUM
AAHF is located next to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. It’s a volunteer organization that offers the opportunity to connect soldiers to the public, and allow visitors to hear stories and memories from its military Veterans. Take the kids to see the aircraft and talk with a number of Veterans.
Cliff Stern, Vietnam Veteran and AAHF volunteer, said it best, “I think [our mission] is pretty simple – we need to keep the Army Aviation history alive. We also want to educate the public. We get a lot of riders that come to us during air shows and I have never seen anyone come off the aircraft that wasn’t smiling or crying (with joy)….All of our aircraft except for one have been in combat so they are the real deal. In fact, we have a member who flew one of the aircraft in Vietnam and another that flew the same aircraft in Germany so it has been around for a long time. “
Guests can schedule a tour of the Army Aviation Heritage Museum and see these aircraft for FREE. The museum has four UH-1Hs (Hueys,) five AH-1Fs (Cobras,) and a Bird Dog fixed-wing aircraft. The Hueys and the Cobras are about 50 years old and the Bird Dog was built in 1957. AAHF owns the UH-1Hs; the Cobras are on a special loan program from the Department of Defense!
You can also come to an AAHF event, like their air shows. They also work very closely with the Commemorative Air Force at Falcon Field trying to do joint events periodically, such as patriotic flying presentations, as well as some local events (like a Cobra flyover during the upcoming NASCAR race!!) You can click here to see their full calendar.
Finally, it’s also a ton of fun to head out to the airfield and watch these birds fly. I was blown away by the adrenaline that came from simply standing nearby, feeling their power (and wind!) and seeing them soar into the air. But that’s not all!!
TAKE A RIDE IN A HUEY HELICOPTOR
While my 8yo enjoyed seeing the helicopters and talking with the Veterans, his favorite part -by far- was heading up into the sky in a Huey Helicopter!
Kids 5yo and older are welcome to fly (with an adult) -and Cooper was all smiles! The ride is about 10-12 minutes and you get to experience everything during that time that you would normally experience in a normal UH-1H ride. We experienced dips, deep turns, flyovers …it was pure exhilaration!
You’ll ride with a total of 10 people (plus a pilot and co-pilot, and at least one spotter.) There are 4 gunner positions, which face outward. Cooper and another young kiddo sat in the middle of the row of seats within the helicopter. I sat on the outer edge but the door opening (another adult on the other side,) so he was perfectly safe. Everyone is also strapped in, of course. But yes, I did say “door opening.” There are no doors on this bird, which is very exciting and makes for awesome views!
For your family experience, check out the calendar to find a weekend they are offering rides. You’ll want to give them a call and reserve your space. A Huey ride is a very reasonable at just a $70 minimum donation per person (though that minimum may vary as fuel prices go up and down) — and it’s worth every penny! Also, keep in mind, about 85% of the donations raised from flights keep the museum open, and help restore and upkeep the aircraft they have.
Rides in the Cobra are also available, but they are not cheap! Yes, these aircraft get better gas mileage, but they can only take up one person at a time. That’s why Cliff Stern said that, for him, even with 2,000+ hours of flight time in the Huey, a ride in the Cobra was a bucket list experience.
If you’re looking for more to do in Henry County, we recommend a day at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Don’t miss free and discounted tickets for kids to the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500) or many of the other FREE ways to explore the area.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO HENRY COUNTY:
- FREE THINGS TO DO: 21 Free Things To Do In McDonough (and all of Henry County)
- BEST EATS: 41 Top Restaurants In Henry County That The Locals Prefer To Keep Secret
- PANOLA: Panola Mountain State Park & 10+ Superb Outdoor Adventures
- NASCAR: Your Complete Guide to Georgia’s Kid-Friendly NASCAR Race Weekend
- SOUTHERN BELLE: Four Seasons of Festive Fun [Video]
WHERE TO STAY IN HENRY COUNTY
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