The last time I was faced with a chopper I was on the couch with a lap full of popcorn watching Eric Bana cut his own ear off in a prison cell. So you can imagine my delight when I was asked if I’d like to go on a Helicopter Flight Over Sydney last Friday. No self-mutilation necessary. I was in!
We had the pleasure of being the first “crew” to experience the brand new R66 Turbine, and we were ready and raring to get up there for a bird’s eye view of the harbour and coat hanger. After a safety briefing and lifejacket fitting, pilot James (pictured below looking very capable and debonair in his starched pilot uniform) escorted us to the tarmac. After some obligatory Kodak moments we folded ourselves into the chopper, fitted our headsets and waited for the engine to warm up. Then, like a massive dragon fly we started floating into the air – it was a very odd feeling.
Once airborn, James explained that we shouldn’t worry about the odd bump – that’s just the wind blowing us around like a speck of dust. Oh good. We followed the coastline from the harbour to the very top of the Northern Beaches; Palm Beach. It was spectacular! Jay spotted a pod of dolphins, we flew over a famous nudist beach (nothing to report there…), and I actually managed to spot my old house from the air. But James declined my request to do a fly by and scare my annoying ex-neighbour Roger. You can only ask.
We were cruising along at 120 knots at our fastest. For all you landlubbers out there, this got us from the far point of Palm Beach (yes, that’s where they film Home and Away) back to the airport in Mascot in 17 minutes, including a bird’s eye view of the Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi and Tamarama. That’s about 60kms by road. Being a Northern Beaches girl myself and well accustomed to spending far too much time in traffic, I think I might save my shoe allowance and invest in a helipad for the rooftop…