Friday, 8 August 2008

Helicopter - a first

Today I went up in a helicopter!

Two friends of Ben's, Simon and Martin, were going out for a meal with him and ringing around to find somewhere they could arrive by helicopter. They have a business selling them!

When I heard that, of course I leapt to attention and made a complete fool of myself, offering to be ballast, do odd-jobs etc....They have heard all that sort of nonsense before, of course, and laughed, good-naturedly.

Shortly afterwards, quite incredibly, Rebecca (receptionist and herself a microlight pilot) dropped the phone and hurtled across the runway...and I realised that someone had offered her a ride...and I was frankly green with envy. Then as I was putting my log-book away I saw Martin in the hangar. He said that Ben had offered him a microlight ride, so there would be a spare seat on the helicopter if I was interested.

Was I! I hurtled off across the airfield, shouting my thanks, Ben yelling behind me to be careful as Simon was about to start up, and as I got near the helicopter it was in fact starting up and I knew I had missed my chance. I hung back and when Rebecca looked out I waved back.

Then the rotor slowed, Irwin climbed out, carried something to a neighbouring helicopter, stowed the object beneath it and I realised that he had just created a spare seat and that I was to be invited to fly! WOW!

He briefed me on how to approach and then I crouched low (probably idiotically low because Rebecca certainly seemed amused), and climbed in the back, Irwin close behind me.

I will write more later. Right now I should be asleep. After the helicopter ride I flew the second of my hours with my new instructor (for evenings), Neil. A really great bloke who got me doing some good landings. More about this later too.

Incidentally, when the helicopter landed Irwin asked Simon some technical question and he replied, "I don't know. I don't know how to fly these things. I am the navigator" :)

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