What To Expect From Your First Helicopter Ride

Helicopters, those mysterious flying contraptions we see floating over the city hovering in place, or diving down to glide along just above the ground held aloft by their nearly invisible whirling blades, they are the flying insect to the airplane’s bird. Helicopters are a rotorcraft, a flying vehicle powered by horizontally spinning rotors that provide the lift and thrust. This arrangement gives the helicopter much greater versatility of movement than an airplane, which can only fly forward while lifting and diving. The helicopter is able to take off and land on a straight vertical axis and can fly in any direction of the compass, forwards, backwards, and sideways. This allows the helicopter to do things impossible for a plane, like take off from a skyscraper roof and land on a rugby pitch, they can go just about anywhere!

The first helicopters were produced in 1942 by Sikorsky, and their designs have continued to develop and improve ever since. Originally meant to be a machine of war, the helicopter is now the flying workhorse for a wide variety of concerns both private and public, like scientific research, business, search and rescue, policing, and even pleasure, with sightseeing helicopter rides being a major tourist attraction enjoyed by thousands every year! The helicopter looks like fun, but some people are a bit leery about going for a ride in one considering how different they are from the commercial jets and other airplanes most have experienced. So, let’s find out what it’s really like to soar beneath the whirling blades!

The first thing you will need to do is climb aboard, helicopters don’t have ramps or stairways, just a few steps and handholds for you to hoist yourself in with. Once you are seated, you will buckle in and be given a headset to wear during the flight. The headset protects you from the loud noise of the engines and rotors, and allows the passengers to converse with each other and with the pilot during the flight. 

Once everyone is buckled in, the pilot will give you a brief set of safety rules similar to those the air hosts give in a commercial flight while the rotors begin to power up and spin, slowly at first, but growing ever faster as they build up the necessary speed to lift off with. This can feel like a very long time while you eagerly await take-off, but it’s usually just a few minutes. Meanwhile, the highly trained pilot will be running his pre-flight checks, then ask Air Traffic Control for permission to take off. 

Once the clearance has been given, the helicopter will feel like it is simply floating up and away from the ground below, the ride is actually very smooth thanks to modern stabilization technology, and you will quickly become used to the new sensations and begin enjoying the incredible aerial vistas!

Flying in a helicopter is one of the safest modes of transportation there is, The Australian Civil Aviation Authority maintains very strict regulations for training on and operating helicopters, so you will be in good hands. We hope this encourages you to climb aboard and go for a helicopter flight, there’s nothing else like it!