It’s been a while! After what it’s fair to say have been a dreadful few months, it’s come as a great relief to be getting some normality back. I suddenly felt today as though it’s time for me to start blogging again, and so here I am! And what better way for me to kick off my return than by telling you all about my first helicopter adventure since before the pandemic.
I’d booked the trip two or three weeks in advance, so I was delighted when the weather finally settled and we were blessed with beautiful blue skies. I’m flying from Cotswold Airport (Kemble) now – after everything that’s happened, I felt it was time for a change – and I’d chosen Lucknam Park as my destination for the day. This 5-star country house hotel is near Bath, but it’s only about a 15-minute flight from Kemble, making it ideal for a short and (relatively!) affordable hop.
Having not flown a helicopter since October, my first flight of the day was a ‘currency check’ with an instructor (who’d also be joining us for the trip, as I felt a safety pilot was a sensible idea after so long grounded). We did a couple of circuits and some take-offs and landings, into and out of wind!
As you can see from the smile on my face, I was so pleased to find I could still fly after all this enforced time away from it!
My mum had come along to watch and take photos, so I have her to thank for these great shots!
After that we picked up my friend Eman and then we were off. It was an easy flight over to Lucknam Park, following a long and straight feature (an old railway line maybe?) pretty much all the way there. The only airspace to avoid was Prince Charles’ place!
This was the view of Lucknam Park as I flew past to get the lie of the land and work out the location of the helipad I was aiming for!
And here I am on the final approach into Lucknam Park. There was hardly any wind, so I couldn’t have asked for a better day!
Once we’d landed, shut down and locked the helicopter, the hotel staff picked us up in a golf buggy and conveyed us to the hotel. Here’s the helicopter from the back of the golf buggy!
This is the front of the hotel – I only wish I could have landed on that lawn for the helicopter photo opportunity!
This is the lounge where we had some tea and sandwiches. It wasn’t actually as empty as this photo suggests – there were quite a few people enjoying afternoon tea there. Non-alcoholic drinks only when flying, obviously, but I did love the look of their drinks trolley!
This is the view from the front door, right up a picturesque avenue of trees.
We had a wander around the grounds before heading back to the helicopter, and it definitely made me wish we were staying!
Departure from Lucknam was as easy as the approach had been, and it was just the most beautiful still evening to be flying back. This is the view on final approach back into Kemble – an impressive sight with all the extra airliners there now.
I couldn’t resist a closer look at the 747s!
Back at base! It was just so wonderful to get back to doing something I enjoy so much, and the perfect antidote to the stressful week I’d had. A huge thanks are due to Voler Aviation for being so warm and welcoming and not minding about us being so late back!
My next heli trip is already booked, so stay tuned for that and hopefully some more adventures now that we’re finally released from lockdown prison!