Photographer, hours from taking flight, shares memory of Huey

Photographer hours from taking flight, shares memory of Huey
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 7:01 PM EDT
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MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Wes Wilson has flown in the Huey helicopter many times.

“Over the course of probably the last eight years or so have gone up three times with MARPAT Aviation,” Wilson said. “Awesome aircraft, very interesting to be on a piece of history.”

Wilson was scheduled to go up on the Huey at 8 a.m. Thursday from Logan County Airport, the day after the deadly crash happened, killing six people. Wilson said it would be his fourth experience in the helicopter as a photographer passionate about aviation and Huey’s history.

“I was actually packing up my gear, I had gotten off work, going through my gear bag it is something I do before every shoot,” Wilson said when he found out something had gone really wrong with a flight on the aircraft Wednesday.

He says the aviation community and veteran community surrounding the Huey is tight-knit and this sort of loss is devastating.

“All these aviation people, the veterans, they are so passionate the piece of history. It is so big to them, and you know for them their heart aches. Number one, that we lost six lives,” Wilson said.

The Huey and its history meant a lot for veterans and for newcomers to experience the magic of flying.

Wilson said he took this video onboard Huey in 2013.

“There are clips of folks from previous years finally getting back in the saddle, flying an aircraft they were familiar with 30-40 years ago that meant so much to them,” Wilson said. “As an aviation person that is special to reconnect with an aircraft of a location that meant something to you previously.”

It was also a tough thought for Wilson to think about his flight that was one of the next ones scheduled on the Huey. The NTSB said the Huey was in the air for about 15 minutes before the crash.

“I think with having experience on the aircraft more so than others that hits you a little heavier because you are familiar with things and how they work so you think about yeah, OK, it very well could have,” Wilson said. “But again there is so many factors of what has occurred we don’t know yet.”

For previous coverage on the crash investigation, click here.

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