Flying high in a helicopter gives a different perspective


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Looking northward from the south of Port Elgin

The mighty Saugeen River winds its way

Patterns in the countryside

Lake Huron in the distance

A view of Piper's Glen

Antique cars line Port Elgin's Goderich Street

One of the attractions at this year's annual Pumpkinfest festival in Port Elgin, Saugeen Shores is the 'Helicopter Ride' at Piper's Glen Golf Club.

I have never flown in a helicopter and, in fact, am deathly afraid of heights.  I twice climbed the Chantry Island Imperial Lighthouse tower and it took me longer to come down than to go up.  I also climbed the clock tower in Southampton to do an article and by the time I got to the top I couldn't breathe.

So, when I had the chance to fly in a helicopter on Saturday at Pumpkinfest, it was really because I had no recourse. The owner of  Essential Helicopters out of North Bay, Elaine Ross, grabbed my bulky cape and told me to hurry up and climb in the front seat.  Being the 'easy-going' editor that I am, I did as I was told!

Pilot, Chuck Hodgkinson, helped strapped me in and gave me a headset complete with a microphone.  As we left the ground, so did my stomach and I felt my teeth clench and my fingers tingle.  I took a deep breath but forgot to exhale until Chuck said through the microphone ... "Just breathe and look straight ahead". 

Once up in the air, it was surprisingly smooth but very high! Sitting in a seat with nothing in front of you except a bubble of glass is nerve wracking to say the least but once you begin to see the beauty below, it is incredible. 

It gives you a completely new perspective from that of being on the ground.  The fields are different shades of green and, at this time of year gold, and appear very orderly in large squares.  Lake Huron is a vibrant turquoise and the water so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake and the mighty Saugeen River twists and turns through the landscape.

Port Elgin actually appears larger from the air than on the ground and the streets during Pumpkinfest are lined with antique cars that from the air look like so many insects in rainbow colours. 

Anyway, I took as many photos as possible because I figure that will the first and last time I will ever fly in a helicopter.  Thanks to Essential however, it was an experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world but it wasn't until I stepped out on terra firma that my knees began to shake.

Everyone should do something once that they haven't - I highly recommend it!

For a video of helicopter flying go to http://www.essentialhelicopters.com/

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Sunday, October 02, 2011