Days Out Gifts Product Reviews Things To Do

Why a helicopter lesson is an ideal gift for Father’s Day

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Find out what happened when we tried our hand at flying a helicopter over Kent.

Whatever you’re planning this Father’s Day, if you’re a thrill seeker then the experience of learning to fly a helicopter is surely high on the bucket list.

With that in mind, we recently went along to a tactical helicopter flying lesson in Kent from – and it didn’t disappoint.

Taking off

After an introduction to the controls, your instructor will start the lesson by showing you how to take off in the Robinson R44 helicopter. Then once you’re thousands of feet in the air, you will be given control of the aircraft for up to 20 minutes.

The skill and concentration needed to operate the cyclic controls is not to be underestimated. The simple task for flying straight ahead will test your patience and it may take a little while to get the hang of it.

Don’t forget the view

Whilst you’re up there, don’t forget to take in the view around you. As you’re busy concentrating on the helicopters movements, it’s easy to forget to take a look at the incredible views. On a clear, sunny day you can see for miles.

Enjoy the view!

The steady hover

Everything you’ve learnt so far is put into practice towards the end of your lesson when you’re given the chance to make the helicopter hover. You would think that staying still is the easy part, but this is where being able to keep a steady hand comes in, well, handy. The cyclic requires constant manipulation in the hover to counteract any movements. Even moving it a millimetre off centre can send you off balance.

When it was my turn, I ended up going backwards. But hovering is a skill that takes years of practise, so if you can do any better on your first try, I’d be very impressed.

If you take a liking to flying and fancy getting your pilot’s licence, it’ll only set you back £17,000 and 45 hours of lessons. But how cool would it be to say you can fly a helicopter?

Try it for yourself this Father’s Day and visit to book a lesson. Though if flying isn’t your thing, they still offer everything from family days out to track days and film tours.