Hanger SE34, Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton, Cheltenham, GL51 6SR | (01452) 857083
Rise Helicopters in Gloucester provides helicopter training, charter, gift vouchers and air experience flights, corporate treasure hunts and more.
See for yourself what learning to fly a helicopter at Gloucestershire Airport is like, with SoGlos.com’s photo gallery taken during a trial lesson with Rise Helicopters.
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to take to the skies on a helicopter flying lesson, SoGlos.com is here to help with a photo gallery taken during a trial lesson with Rise Helicopters based at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton.
Soaring into the skies is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience, offering thrill-seekers breathtaking birds-eye views across Gloucestershire, not to mention the sheer thrill of taking hold of the controls for yourself – with an experienced instructor sat right next to you, of course.
See Rise Helicopters for more information or, to find out about taking a trial lesson for yourself, call (01452) 857083.
Saturday 01 March 2008
SoGlos.com takes to the skies for an uplifting flying lesson with Rise Helicopters at Gloucestershire Airport.
Learning to fly is a childhood obsession some people never grow out of, while for others it’s a distant dream reserved for the day all five lottery numbers are picked out – for us it was a little bit of both. But as we took the few steps from Rise Helicopter’s head office to a Robinson 22 chopper waiting on a landing strip nearby, we realised it is an ambition made all the more achievable thanks to relatively affordable lessons and Gloucestershire Airport’s location on our doorstep in Staverton.
So, equipped with a combination of excitement, anticipation and a touch of nerves thrown in for good measure, we took our position in the compact little chopper next to Rise Helicopters’ chief pilot, the exceedingly-calm James Kenwright. Before seconds later, after a reassuring clunk of the seatbelt and strapping on a headset, we prepared for the heart-in-the-mouth helicopter take-off we’d been dreaming off ever since watching Airwolf as a nipper.
The rotor blades were fired-up and instructions could be heard from air traffic control centre before we flew higher and higher on a vertical climb that took us above Gloucestershire Airport’s busy runway. It was an odd, but thrilling feeling to be skimming across the skies which James’ description of the feeling of freedom as a ‘magic carpet ride’ fitted perfectly, as we cut through the air with amazing ease.
Travelling at speeds of around 100mph, soon enough Gloucester and Cheltenham were behind us, and we were surrounded by nothing but Tewkesbury’s open fields. Thanks to the cockpit’s excellent visibility, you can expect to enjoy a view of our fine county like you’ve never before seen it. While it would have been easy to sit back and enjoy the stunning vistas, James was soon running through the basics of the helicopter’s controls – much simpler than you might imagine with a cyclic stick doing most of the work.
After asking a question he must have heard a thousand times before: ‘What happens if the engine fails because helicopters can’t glide to safety like an aeroplane, can they?’ James cut the engine. With silence all around, we gently drifted down towards a field, the rotor blades’ airfoil shape creating an upward lift – before the engine was engaged again to push the point home. It was a comfort to begin to understand how safe flying in a helicopter can be, but nothing compared to the demonstration of the Robinson 22 helicopter’s agility.
With grace and style James sent us soaring over fields, manoeuvring around nearby trees and taking us in a rapid 360 – while the grass around us could be seen rustling as the amazing machine dropped in for a visit. Wherever it was told to go the helicopter went, quickly but smoothly making for an experience which is out of this world.
By the time you’ve experienced what the helicopter is capable of – thanks to an experienced pilot with more than 7,000 hours on his logbook no less – taking the controls for the very first time is something you will never forget. ‘Keep your wrist on your knee and make small movements,’ we were instructed, and feeling the helicopter move forward under your command is something everyone should experience if only once. Only when piloting the helicopter for the first time can you experience what skill is involved, with the slightest hand movements changing our course. ‘I can be back on the controls in a split second,’ James assured me – which was comforting as I tried my hand at turning and pointing us in a different direction.
After an exhilarating few minutes, James was back in control and we made our way back towards Gloucestershire airport. Back on the airfield and is was time to have a go at hovering – again made to look like a piece of cake as we danced like a bumblebee over the ground. But, as we now knew from experience, taking the controls and ‘simply’ keeping the horizon straight is no mean feat – with controlled and precise movements of the cyclic stick needed to do the job – with the anti-torque pedals being used make the nose yaw and point us in a different direction.
Setting back down on land after the 30-minute trial lesson and it’s difficult to imagine why we hadn’t embarked on the experience sooner. ‘There are only three things stopping people learning how to fly,’ James commented, ‘money, fear and ability’. But with instruction offered at a fairly affordable rate, seeing for yourself how safe it can be and excellent instruction at your disposal – for this new budding pilot at least the idea of learning how to fly a helicopter has become an exciting new reality. Now if I can just stop humming that Airwolf theme tune.
Rise Helicopters offer trial lessons from £140 and hourly instruction from £220 per hour. Qualifying for your Helicopter Private Pilots License requires a minimum of 45 hours tuition and is normally achieved in 50 to 55 hours. Call (01452) 857083 for more information.
By James Fyrne
Tuesday 04 September 2007
Aeros in Staverton is a flying school offering aeroplane instruction including PPL training.
Both aeroplane trial lessons and PPL instruction are available at this club.
Helicopter trial lessons, PPL instruction and pleasure flights.
Well-established school. Offers aeroplane and helicopter trial lessons, PPL instruction and pleasure flights.
Tiger Airways at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton offer members of the public the chance to fly a genuine 1940s bi-plane,...