You are here

Rotors Over Mentone 2023

Event Speaker John Walker (left), American Huey 369's Bell TH-13T (upper right),
and rides from American Huey 369 and Cleveland Helicopter Services (bottom right)

This year's guest speaker at the "Rotors Over Mentone" Fly-In event was John Walker from the American Huey 369 (AH369). The organization which has been restoring and maintaining flyable Bell Huey helicopters for a number of years is also involved in the current construction of the National American Huey History Museum in Peru, Indiana. Established in 2005, the objective of the American Huey 369 is a 501(c)3 Not for Profit Organization is to help educate the public to the history of the iconic Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and its veterans, especially to those who served during Vietnam War era.

Co-founders John and his brother Alan Walker, and along with John’s wife Kae, operate American Huey 369 with the help of more than 200 core member volunteers. John is a former Marine Corps captain and helicopter pilot...and still flies today. It was back in 2005 that John saw a Huey helicopter listed on eBay and along with his brother Alan, decided to purchase it. It took two years for them to bring back the Huey 369 (Bell UH-1H) to an airworthy condition. First flight of this post-restoration aircraft took place in 2007. Also in 2005, they obtained a second Huey, a Bell UH-1H, tail #803 and began restoring it as well. With both aircraft fully restored and airworthy, and an American Huey volunteer aircrew in place, they began flying them to airshows and other events offering membership rides. Today, the organization houses and operates three airworthy Bell Huey helicopters. The most recent flyable Huey is their Bell UH-1B Gunship, tail #049. They also have additional static display Hueys along with memorabilia which are currently housed in a temporary facility.

In his speech, John Walker talked about Larry Bell. He noted Bell's perseverance in making things happen in the aviation industry. Stating that Bell was an exceptional man and wanted to be first in everything. At the end of the program, the Bell Museum Board made a donation to the National American Huey History Museum which was given to John.

Museum Board President Tim Croy kicked off the program and introduced John Walker. Other main program participates included Dave Meredith who gave the invocation, the American Legion Post 49 Color Guard from Warsaw, and select band members of the Tippecanoe Valley High School (TVHS) under the direction of Janell Riner which played our national anthem and another featured band number. Before John spoke, the Museum Board asked veterans in attendance to stand so they could be recognized for their service to our nation.

Special attractions were the Bell TH-13T which was flown in by the American Huey 369 organization and return of the Bell Model 47J Ranger "Lucy" flown in by Flyin' Brian Walsh. In addition, Chuck Surack of Surack Enterprises stopped in flying his Airbus H130 turbine helicopter from Sweet Helicopters and visitors from Illinois stopped in flying a Robinson R44.

Cleveland Helicopter Services returned this year giving rides starting in the morning hours in their Enstrom 280FX. Following the program, American Huey 369 began membership rides in their Bell UH-1H. Lutheran Air and Parkview Samaritan hospital helicopters which normally attend were not available that day. Flyin' Brian from Oldies 101.1 WOIE broadcasted Live for most of the event. Food and drink were offered by the Museum at their food tent. The Museum's gift shop was open for those wanting to purchase a T-shirt, an aircraft model, or a toy for the kids. Admission to the event was free. Pictures taken at this year’s "Rotors" event can be viewed in our Image Gallery.

Below is a news article that covered the event and program:

"American Huey 369 Co-Founder Speaks at Rotors Over Mentone" by Jackie Gorki from Times-Union Online, Warsaw IN