The other day a friend asked me in a casual tone, after learning that I'm researching the industry... "I've booked a helicopter on Saturday, do you want to come flying?"
:shock: Would I ????
We left YVR in a 407. I sat in the front seat, beside the pilot. Parked my *extreme* enthusiasm, and absorbed the cockpit like a sponge. Having worked in the marine industry, seems to help: The tower/Vancouver Traffic. Oceanic/atmospheric tides, Pitch and roll... As we were flying I asked, "what's yaw?"... Suddenly the helicopter gave a wag. And the pilot looked over and smiled. Simple lesson. It was effective.
I was surprised that the collective could stay in one place, that it didn't need a hand on it at all times. Flying through the valley, the pilot told me he wanted me to take the cyclic. Jesus. I felt 15 all over again. When the older kid in the neighborhood got his drivers licence first. And we all got a turn at the wheel from the passenger seat, while his feet stayed on the peddles. I kept wanting to climb in altitude. And the pilot said that was normal for someone when they first take the cyclic. I became very aware very quickly how sensitive the controls were. I didn't want to let go. I wanted to keep flying.
We made a few hard, tight turns... I was amazed at the power and maneuverability of that machine. It's been 24 years since I was in a helicopter. And it was a Hughes 500. I forgot what it was like.
I am, officially, without a doubt, hooked.