Helicopter takes Expo visitors up in air

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Some of the faces in line for helicopter rides Sunday looked like they were waiting on the executioner.

The others couldn’t wait for their turn. But everyone was smiling, forced or not, on the walk back from the helicopter after the ride.

&uot;I’ll never do it again,&uot; Stacy Perrin, of Vidalia, said after her ride. &uot;It was pretty neat, but I’ll never do it again.&uot;

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Perrin was nervous up until the last minute before the ride and tried to convince her husband Kenneth to let her out of it.

&uot;I paid for it, so she’s going,&uot; Kenneth Perrin said.

The ride, which lasted about four minutes, was rougher than either Perrin expected though.

&uot;We went over the river and the wind gusts kept pushing us,&uot; Stacy said.

Kenneth admitted he knew a ride over the river would include strong winds, but said he didn’t exactly expect it to feel the way it did. Regardless they said they enjoyed the ride and seeing their town from above.

&uot;It looked like a model,&uot; Stacy said.

&uot;It took me the whole ride to find the house,&uot; Kenneth said.

James Gilbert of Freedom Flight, LLC travels throughout Mississippi and Alabama selling helicopter rides at outdoor festivals.

This weekend’s outdoor expo was his first visit to Natchez but he said he plans to come back for balloon race weekend.

Gilbert said he’d sold about 200 rides over the weekend. A five-minute ride was $40 and a 15-minute ride was $100. Longer rides could be purchased for more money.