Air therapy brings relief to veterans - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Air therapy brings relief to veterans

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Air Therapy Aviation photo. Air Therapy Aviation photo.

Flying is exhilarating. The experience of soaring through the air on a weight -shift controlled trike, even more so. 

For close to 120 Montana veterans, this new experience carries them over Flathead County, and toward better health. 

For veterans coping with the residual affects of military service, the opportunity to take to the air offers some relief. 

"We fly vets, they come up from Missoula with Xsports4vets, and we take them on little flights, we teach them how to fly, and we find the excitement of flying really helps these guys kind of balance their PTSD systems," Todd Ware, Air Therapy Aviation pilot. 

For this Missoula based program, the past five years spent flying with Air Therapy Aviation is an integral part of their program, with about two dozen veterans getting up in the air just this summer. 

"Some of the things we see with returning service members is a drop in adrenaline levels or cortisol levels, and that can put veterans in a kind of depressive state, or kind of seek out isolation, which is what Xsports4vets is directly trying to combat," said Anton Johnson, Xsports4vets coordinator. 

Air Therapy Aviation offers the group reduced rates, and the opportunity to cruise in one of these trikes. 

"This is a weight shift controlled trike. Actually we call them powered hang-gliders also. And this one is 100 horsepower, we fly about 70 miles per hour, and they're just screaming little birds," Ware said, "we steer it with the control bar, it flies just like a hang glider, so there is no rudder, and it's a real full body form of flying. It engages all of you. The air whizzes by. You drop down into fields and you can smell the fields. Very fun form of flight."

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