Get To The ChoppA!
Arnold may have said it first, but for the occasion it seems appropriate.
You see, for Christmas this year I received a gift on a scale I could not have fathomed. This gift, the brain child of my amazing girlfriend Tiffany, was a 30 minute hands-on ride in a helicopter. Yes, you read that correctly, hands-on. I. GOT. TO. PILOT. A. HELICOPTER!
Alright, so you're probably wondering who, on Earth, would let me pilot a helicopter? And the answer is, the guys over at C-R Helicopters in Nashua, NH. The day of my impending doom flight, I was to show up and receive a brief (30 minute) ground school training and then would be off to skies to enjoy my moment.
Ground school was interesting, a brief synopsis of the dos and don'ts of helicopter piloting...well, mostly don'ts - and by that I mean a lot of them telling me "if you do this, we will die." Loud and clear buddy, loud and clear. On to the flight.
Just a little...-err, pre-flight inspection. Yeah.
Once we moved out to the tarmac and could actually see the helicopter is about the time the adrenaline starts to get going. Sitting there a few feet from you is a freakin' helicopter! (I refuse to downplay the overwhelming amount of awesome surging through this experience). The instructor (Jared), Tiffany, and myself climb into the helicopter and prepare ourselves for, what we are hoping, is a smooth and safe ride. Now, you don't get the full experience of piloting - there are certain elements, like take-off and landing, that are just a bit outside of your grasp.
Fast forward to my turn. We are in the air, my hands are on the controls and my mindhole is in the midst of being, just absolutely, blown. I have full control of a flying helicopter, flying straight. The instruction comes over the headset to take the first turn and I AM PUMPED!
Now, I should interject quickly to share that part of ground school informs you that the controls of the helicopter are hydraulic powered and therefore EXTREMELY sensitive.
Back to me. "Let's head towards that white building over there (pointing off to the left)," comes in over my headset from Jared. Keeping in mind that the controls are sensitive, I ever so slightly make a hand movement hoping to send us into a smooth left hand turn. We didn't. In retrospect, my hand may not have even moved at all - but hey, what can you do. Alright, second try. Slightly larger hand movement this time and BOOM! We are banked and moving left - please, hold your applause.
After a few minutes of this, the overwhelming sensation of "OH GOD, I'M GOING TO KILL US ALL" begins to subside, I'm calm, cool, at the helm and I'm loving this.
Words absolutely escape me as I try to find a way to describe how, cool, I felt for those 30 minutes but I assure you my ego did not need the boost that it got. I would fully encourage everyone to try and do this if you can swing it. The view, the adrenaline, and the experience are all well worth the price. Trust me.
And finally, for your viewing pleasure, a brief clip of your's truly piloting a helicopter and bonus surprise visit from Tiffany (wait for it).