To me, this little copter looks like a dragonfly - little skinny tale with a big head buzzing around....
It was an amazing experience. It started out with Bryan (Flight Instructor) walking me through a few of the basics of safety and the controls of the helicopter. Then we headed out and got settled in and ready for take off. During the take off and landings of the helicopter, Bryan was in control but once we got up and out over Seattle, Bryan gave me control and just assisted in making corrections (there were two sets of controls, similar to a Drivers Ed car). We headed north from Boeing Field out over Queen Anne Hill and up to Lake Washington and back down along the shore. The coolest part was flying right over Qwest Field. It was so awesome to be able to just hover over Seattle and see everything. I wish the flight could have been longer but I look forward to going back out and doing more training.
I got to control the Cyclic (basically a stick in the middle of the copter that controls the forward and backward movement), the Collective Lever (up and down controls on the side of the seat) and the Throttle (controls speed of the engine to keep the copter in flight). I didn't really get to use the Torque petals though which controls the Rudder and controls the pitch and balance - we didn't really need it because the wind wasn't blowing too hard.
Caught this shot just before Rico strapped in for his lesson!
Hovering... and showing off for the camera!
See...what'd I tell ya? A Dragonfly!
His huge grin after the flight was finished!
Some other interesting information Rico discovered by talking with his instructor:
- It takes approximately 4 years to be able to make a decent living flying helicopters.
- There are 3 levels of licenses: Private, Commercial, CFI (Certified Flight Instructor)
- Private: 40hrs of flight time (not allowed to charge for your services)
- Commercial: 250 hrs
- CFI: Most pilots will work as an instructor to accumulate hours.
- It takes approximately 1000-1500 hrs of flight time for insurance companies to consider you coverable in the business of flying.
- Each hour of flying costs anywhere between $200-$350 depending on where you fly and if you buy in bulk.