When we travel for our conferences, we like to schedule in an activity day, which usually takes place on the Monday following the conference. This is because even though we are travelling, we don’t necessarily get a chance to explore the city. Hence we try to engage in an activity that is either unique to the city/country we are in or is simply just unique. As the Hunter Valley conference is the only one I’ve attended so far, I’ve only really participated in one activity i.e. the helicopter flight.
I have always fancied doing a helicopter flight. There are numerous locations globally that offer helicopter flights. However these are quite expensive. Ours was a large group and we were split in groups based on our weight so the helicopter would be able to carry the passengers accordingly. The helicopters that were organised were the smaller choppers. This could just about fit 4 people in total including the pilot. There were minimal controls and gears that the pilot required to fly this chopper. These choppers did not require a proper helipad for take off or landing. The take off took place just outside the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. I got the front seat by the pilot and I wasn’t too sure if I was ready for this. I am quite scared of heights and our pilot kept scaring us as it seemed like he had some plans of his own up his sleeve.
He starts the chopper and the propellers start to rotate. The speed increases with every passing second. If you’ve been on domestic flights in America you know the feeling you get when those flights start descending. It is he same feeling when these choppers begin take off. You can feel everything inside of move a few inches and as the speed picks up the adrenaline kicks in. I don’t know if that is easily conveyed in the video, but I still definitely feel it when I watch the video.
The Hunter Valley is a wine region, so the view from up above is mostly of the wineries in the vicinity. Obviously the pilot knows a lot more about the area and informs you about everything that’s around. From famous celebrity vacation spots to just spots of interest. If you strain your eyes a little bit, you might even spot Joey… how you doin? No, not that Joey, a Kangaroo and its child.
Our pilot, like I said had his own evil plans up his sleeve. He began his twists and turns. The first turn was just a mild turn and didn’t affect you a lot. The one that followed it was a 45degree turn. Oh you felt that for sure. It’s only natural that on a rather hot and sunny day in the Hunter, sitting inside a chopper who’s exterior is black, you’d be burning inside already, in addition these twists and turns just dial up the nausea. One last circle before we land and yet another twist. As painful as they were, it was quite fun.
The landing in this chopper was much different to the take off. You did not feel the descent as much as you felt the ascent. I’m unsure if that is because by this point your body had got accustomed to the height. But the landing felt much more smooth. Overall, I’ll say that it is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. In fact I’m about to do (or have just done) a helicopter flight in Honolulu, Hawaii. Keep an eye out for that video and that blog as well!
What are some of your ‘first time’ experiences?
Until next time,