This past summer I was able to cross something off my bucket list – a helicopter ride. I happened to be visiting family in Ontario and one of my cousins was celebrating a birthday. As a surprise, her husband arranged for a helicopter ride – something that was on her bucket list. Since I was visiting, I was added to the lucky list of two additional passengers who would join her in this experience. We all managed to keep it a surprise for her until we pulled up outside the offices of Central Helicopter Training Academy at St. Thomas Municipal Airport.
My aunt, cousin and I were given a safety briefing before we got into the helicopter and our pilot took time to make sure we were comfortable in the craft before lifting off. Once we were airborne, he hovered over the corn fields until we told him we were okay to go higher. My aunt and cousin were actually feeling queasy and I was feeling as if I couldn’t breathe but we all said we were fine. We were determined to get past our nerves and enjoy the jaunt. As soon as he took us higher we quickly forgot how we had been feeling and relaxed and took in the thrill of the ride. I enjoy roller coasters and just kept telling myself that the Queen Mother always used to say that helicopters were her favourite mode of transportation.
Our pilot made sure we had plenty of opportunity to take pictures and answered our many questions about his job and his qualifications. We headed south from St. Thomas to Port Stanley and the shore of Lake Erie. It was the beginning of July and the fields were a lovely patchwork of green and yellow but the best part for me was flying over the coast. The various shades of blue showing the changes in depth of the water and seeing the surf along the shore was amazing.
We were in a Robinson R44 which allows for a pilot and three passengers. The flights cost $750/hr though you can go for shorter rides. A 15 minute ride will cost $280 which isn’t bad if you can split the cost with two other people. It is definitely worth the experience. Oh, and if you want to take the doors off for the ride, you can.
Central Helicopter Training Academy
St. Thomas Municipal Airport