Why fly? Story behind football plane

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

There are many things Trojan fans can expect during a Troy University football game — crowds, music, cheers — and a motorized airplane. It may not make much sense to some, but for those behind the Trojan 1 airplane, it’s only natural.

About three years ago, Troy University’s Airforce ROTC used the Trojan 1 motorized airplane as a recruitment tool, but its function quickly evolved.

“For whatever reason, Troy fans loved it,” said Cadet Col. Billy Lively, one of the plane’s drivers.

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“It gets fans excited.” Airforce recruitment officer Capt. Brian Doyle said they began riding the plane in the parades before Troy home games. “The athletics department and some of the school’s leaders asked if we’d drive it on the field during touchdowns,” Doyle said.

“So first we drove it in the in zone during touchdowns.”

Now, ROTC members take the plane for a spin to the 50-yard line every time Troy scores a touchdown.

The plane is a scaled down model of an f-16, and is similar to a go-cart.

Doyle said the plane can drive a maximum of around 15 to 20 miles per hour. Lively said the experience of cheering on the Trojans in the airplane is unlike any other.

“We never want to upstage T-Roy. He’s the school mascot,” Doyle said. “We try to get people pumped up for the team,” Lively added.

In response, Trojan fans will salute men like Doyle and Lively in “Salute to Armed Forces.”

Pre-game festivities will include the presentation of the colors by cadets of the University’s Army and Air Force ROTC units. In addition, the University will recognize those wounded in wartime through the Wounded Warrior Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at assisting those men and women of the U.S. armed forces who have been severely injured during the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world.

At halftime, the Sound of the South marching band will provide a special salute, including the performance of the service song for each branch of the military.

All veterans, active duty and reserves and their family members will be recognized during the performance of their service song.

Any active-duty service member presenting a military identification card will receive a complimentary ticket to the game.

All others who present a military I.D. will be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $8.

*Troy University Media contributed to this article.