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Is this chopper going to Speke?

Jennifer Choi goes up up and away to the pub by helicopter

Published on March 18th 2010.


Is this chopper going to Speke?

On a gloriously sunny morning, I ventured to Speke for my first ever helicopter ride. Based in the Business Aviation Centre by the side of John Lennon airport, Liverpool Helicentre was established in 1986 but changed ownership last November, with a pilot-heavy management eager to spread their wings (or more appropriately, rotor blades) to pastures new.

We called into a pub for a spot of lunch at Stamford Bridge. It's the pub that puts everything into perspective. We found ourselves welcomed by a curious crowd who had travelled by more conventional means, with a couple even taking their phone out for a snap. I did my best celebrity wave in response.

After passing through an aircraft equivalent of a car park, we were greeted by Guy Cowper, our pilot, who is probably the first person I've seen wear aviator shades for non-fashion purposes. We were then kitted out in our life jackets (complete with an ever fashionable crotch strap) and florescent jackets before hopping on board for take off. A refreshing change from the two hour wait and faffing about with liquids required even for the poshest airline.

Whilst we donned our soundproof/intercom headphones, Guy goes through his checklists, a more complicated version of mirror-signal-manouvre, and after making sure the proverbial 'handbrake' isn't on, bob's your uncle. It's a surprisingly smooth take off, with little of the engine noise associated with planes, and the blades of grass swirling around us being the only tell-tale sign that we're heading onwards and upwards. What we do hear are radio exchanges (in phonetics, of course) with the airport conning tower, as we are in the cockpit with the pilot afterall.

The whole experience is a little like a prolonged moment of the bit during landing and take off where everything looks toytown and you try to work out the locations of clusters of buildings or weirdly shaped fields. Except instead of features being quickly blocked out by cloud cover we stay low enough for this modelesque perspective throughout our journey.

We meandered over Frodsham, Delamare, Oulton Park racetrack, Beeston and Peckforton castles before calling into the pub for a spot of lunch at Stamford Bridge. It's the pub that puts everything into perspective. We found ourselves welcomed by a curious crowd who had travelled by more conventional means, with a couple even taking their phone out for a snap. I did my best celebrity wave in response.

Click below to see the route
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