Yesterday was my 43rd birthday! My wife always surprises me on my birthday with an event or activity that totally out does whatever we did to celebrate the previous year. We’ve done everything from white water rafting to climbing to see “Christ the Redeemer” in Brazil. This year was no exception.
However, this time we didn’t go to the international airport for my birthday surprise. Instead we headed over to our local regional airport. At Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, we arrived at the Colorado HeliOps hangar where there were several helicopters, planes and a jet. That’s when I realized I was there for a helicopter flying lesson.
Once I was weighed in and we checked the weather patterns, our flight plan was approved and I was handed a headset and we headed back into the hangar. Here we approached a white Schweizer 300c, a light 2 seated utility helicopter. Once strapped in, my instructor started the helicopter and my pilot training commenced. My instructor, Ben, talked about what all the gauges meant and how they must all be in the green readings before we could proceed to take off.
After about 5 minutes all was a go and we headed out to the runway. Along the way, Ben explained and demonstrated the controls…the lever on my left hand controls throttle and lift, the stick in my right hand controls directional movement (left, right, forward and backwards) and the pedals controlled hover turns.
While in the air, we circled the airport and the local mall.
Then I took over the directional controls and guided us back to the airport (this was the most nerve wrecking part). At the airport, Ben also let me practice some hover maneuvers like turning left, right and center, and guiding the chopper back to the hangar.
The pre-flight instruction and flying lesson totaled a little over an hour and was a blast.
Flying was something that I was interested in as a young child but never in my wildest dreams I thought I would do. It was a blast! Did I say that twice? For more information visit http://www.coloradoheliops.com.