Blogging from A to Z: H is for...Helicopters

 After the boffins discovered dinosaur juice, henceforth referred to as oil, locked away beneath the North Sea, they realized to get it out, and into cars, they'd need big drills. And the drills would have to be fixed in place on some sort of...rig. And to operate the rigs they'd need dudes in hardhats.

Dinosaur juice zones between Scotland (bottom left) and Norway

But, how to get those dudes to the rigs to operate the drills?

Since science wasn't smart enough to bio-engineer giant flying transport creatures, it fell upon the helicopter companies.

My dad worked for almost twenty years for British Airways Helicopters (later bought by British International Helicopters and then CHC Helicopters) and it was thanks to him I got to fly a Sikorsky S61N.

An actual British Airways Helicopters S61

Okay, that's not completely true. My dad was contracts manager and not a pilot, but he did manage to swing me some time in the S61 simulator, alongside an actual pilot.

This was no home computer simulator, this was one of those fancy state-of-the-art boxes on pistons, that give you a realistic-feeling ride while never actually leaving the ground.

Like this, only a helicopter version...

I got a quick "how to..." briefing from the pilot and then he asked to take off. I eased my helicopter into the air, no problemo. He told me to wheel it around a bit and I did, flying like a pro. He told me to land and despite missing my mark, I put us down with barely a bump. The pilot looked at me with a raised eyebrow and asked if I'd flown before. I assured him I hadn't, so he told me to do it again to see if it was beginner's luck.

The second time I tried to fly a helicopter it was like we were being flown around by a drunken octopus with vertigo. It was bad. Not only did I almost hit the ground at terminal velocity, but I'm pretty sure I nearly knocked part of an oil rig into the sea. My co-pilot took over and watching him handle the controls was amazing. He made it look easy as he wheeled around, touched down on an oil rig and then flew back. Easy.

Flying a (simulated) helicopter was great fun, but I definitely think it should be left to the professionals. I did get a certificate though. So, there's that.

That was H in the A to Z Blog Challenge. Come back tomorrow for I. And in the meantime go to and check out some of the other bloggers.



  1. Brand new follower here, dropping by from A to Z.

    Nice to meet you, Gareth!

    2015 A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Matthew MacNish from The QQQE

  2. New reader here from A to Z. Glad to see you're still going!

    2015 A to Z Blogger
    Visions of Other Worlds

  3. Yeah landing on a small structure with anything seems like it would be difficult
    Happy A to Zing

  4. I never even knew there were British Airways helicopters! There is something so exciting and mysterious about these flying machines that we now take forgranted. Thanks for sharing your experience, see you around the A-Z Blog. Oh, and I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award!

  5. Always wanted to fly in one, but frankly, I'm half too-scared to try. :)

  6. Nice reminder. Helicopters fascinated me, I remember that even today when I am 30 I run to terrace when I get to hear them sweeping on the skies.

    Do drop by >>

  7. Enjoyed your post very much! Shame it was only beginners luck. I was rooting for you to be a natural.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

  8. Hello there.
    Never been in a helicopter before. Maybe one day!
    Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of the challenge.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess


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