Another year has come and gone and I was pressed to find an anniversary gift for my husband. He’s not the romantic type, so unless it’s edible or makes a big noise, it just doesn’t hit the spot with him. The challenge was on and, with the help of John Huddlestone and his team, I managed to get an ear-to-ear smile out of Sheldon as he boarded a R22 helicopter for a flip around our home town of Port Elizabeth.
This flying school, Helicopter Charter & Training, has been thrilling visitors and educating flying enthusiasts since its establishment in 1993. John Huddlestone is the chief flight instructor and boasts more than 30 years of experience. He has flown all over the world and has owned his own flight school.
They are situated at the Port Elizabeth Airport, which is centrally located and close to the beaches, making for spectacular views from the helicopter.
Because Port Elizabeth has such a varied topography, the views that are enjoyed, even on a short flight, are nothing short of magnificent. On his 20-minute flip, Sheldon flew along the gorgeous coastline to Bluewater Bay, and back through the city only to finish it off with a flip over Marine Drive and the scrubby vegetation and coastal forest that defines this area.
Longer trips include flying over the world-famous Coega Harbour and further afield (depending on the package you choose).
The R22 is small and compact, perfect for the pilot and one passenger. It gives you the feeling of being almost unhindered by anything around you as you soar over the city, fauna and flora below. There is also a larger helicopter, the R44, which is ideal for four people.
The complete fleet comprises two R22’s and two R44’s. Helicopter Charter & Training is ideal for events and special occasions, including:
- Weddings and Matric dances – have your friends talking about your arrival all year long.
- Festivals and fetes – helicopter flips are sure to be a major draw-card for your school or corporate festival.
- Safaris – get an air charter and fly-in safari of Addo Elephant Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve and Schotia Safaris.
- Whale watching tours – spot Southern Rights, Humpbacks and even Great White Sharks from the safety of a helicopter, which guarantees unique views of our marine wildlife.
- Tsitsikamma Mountains – fly over this picturesque mountain range or watch the bungee jumpers leaping off the world’s highest bungee jump, Bloukrans River Bridge, which is a stomach-lurching 216 metres high.
The Helicopter Charter & Training team also do a lot of work with photographers and videographers that need awesome aerial shots. This requires a keen understanding of their
needs as well as of all of the safety requirements that ensure that these ones get the perfect shot without endangering themselves.
In addition, they do plenty of game work; assisting in counting, capture, darting, tracking and necessary culling of wildlife in and around Port Elizabeth.
For more information, contact them on +27 (0)41 507-7343 or +27 (0)83 653-429.
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