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4 March 2013 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

Helicopters have to be the spoiled child of aviation.

They are treated with extraneous courtesy; they are dutifully warmed up, cooled down, and tucked it.

I even know a pilot who gently caresses the undercarriage of his helicopter before flight.

Though clearly nothing to do with the cabin, or building, this has become a time consuming part of our lives, and warrants some form of commentary.

The girls for their part seem indifferent to helicopters, though that might change if I ever try to cajole them into one.

River seems as aware of them as she would an oversized dragonfly, and Breagha in her way, waltzes around them as if to prove their whining blades, and high rpms are of no concern to her.

Presumably the care that is taken with these glass bubbles revolves around the prohibitive cost of sitting in, learning to fly, damaging, or in any other way interacting with them.

Not to mention the extreme physical cost associated with falling out of the sky in one.

Work necessitates that I assist in the transportation of people, gear and supplies in helicopters.

This is presumably like being introduced to a celebrity, and being told you will work together.

The glamour and intrigue of it all is fascinating at first.

But the aesthetic appeal quickly wears off in the face of the demanding, uncompromising, ungrateful mannerisms of these sophisticated machines.

They render you nearly deaf if you are inconsiderate enough to forget your pelters.

They inadverntantly embed an intense need to hustle into your very soul; which is as much a moral obligation, as an articulated requirement, given your understanding that you would have to re-mortgage your home to take a ride in one of these things.

They are quietly indifferent to the stench of jet fuel that lingers on your hair and clothes, no matter how much you try to scrub the dragonfly excrement from your person.

All of which contributes to a barely controlled irritation as the pilot waves you back one more time to strap down the basket, re-shut the door, figure out what imperceptible offense has illicited the rude instrument panel light indicating your continued inadequacy around this aerial gymnast.


Demanding, uncompromising, unfathomable, but cool.

And therein lies the crux.

No matter how much they piss you off, irritate you, send you on your arse with rotor wash, or blind you with exhaust as you pack a tail boom, they are inevitably the vehicle of choice for the mountains.

They facilitate transit into areas that would otherwise be impenetrable, or require 3 weeks of work to explore.

They make possible in minutes, what would take people days.

And let's be honest; they are a marvel of physics and engineering.

I have no idea if there is some truth to Leonardo De Vinci drafting some of the earliest recognisable plans for the helicopter.

But you have to hand it to a guy who lived pre-aviation (or any form of recognisably advanced science).

It was a bloody good idea.

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