This most recent Christmas, my wife got me a Groupon for an introductory helicopter flying lesson. I finally put it to good use this afternoon and flew a helicopter for the first time in my life (actually it was my first time even IN a helicopter). It was a lot of fun, and it felt like my first lesson in an airplane all over again!
I was firstly surprised at the amount of space inside the copter. From the outside the thing looks dinky (it’s just a two-seater Bell), but on the inside there was plenty of room spread out…more room than the typical Cessna 152′s or 172′s that I’m used to flying at least. I was also surprised by how sensitive the controls are. I remember being scared of airplane controls at first, but then quickly realizing it takes a LOT of input to move the plane. With this helicopter, literally 1-2 millimeters of movement on the stick could drastically change the course/angle of the craft. Granted, I’m sure with practice it becomes second-nature, but today it was definitely challenging to keep the copter in proper hover.
It was a LOT of fun, but I think I’ll stick to my fixed-wing airplanes. It just took toooo much control; you have to constantly be adjusting and manipulating the controls. Definitely not a craft that you can relax, sit back, and “let the plane fly itself” as my instructor sometimes used to say. Plus, generally speaking, you are only a few hundred feet above the ground, so any issues and you VERY QUICKLY need to fix them. The lower altitude and glass-surround cockpit really make you feel like you are IN the air though…that was sweet.
So, although I didn’t catch the helicopter fever, this once again sparked my passion for flying. I can’t wait to get up in the air again (in a trusty Cessna)!