Flying high with Central Helicopters


My dad turned the ripe age of 70 recently and being the man that has everything, myself and the family were frantically racking our brains for the perfect present for him. Then out the blue he mentioned that he would love to go up in a helicopter ‘just once more’. Having served in the military, this apparently had been one of the more memorable things which he’d missed. So with this in mind I set to looking for a helicopter experience and found the brilliant Central Helicopters based in Nottingham.

As we wanted to make sure that this was an unforgettable experience, the family decamped to Derbyshire for the weekend of Dad’s birthday and booked one of Central Helicopters’ most popular flights – The Dambuster and Chatsworth tour.

I was going to experience the flight too which I was very excited about, although behind my bravado I was shaking in my boots. I needn’t have worried though as following a safety briefing, where the excellent team put our group at complete ease, we boarded the helicopter and met our pilot David who let us know where our flight would take us. Soon we were up and away, so quickly and gracefully that I didn’t even realise that we had taken off!

The Twin Dams at Derwent Valley

The Twin Dams at Derwent Valley

We began our flight over the stunning Derbyshire countryside travelling at a speed of 100mph, which was quite unimaginable with such a smooth and sedate feeling during the flight. Very soon we picked up the route of the 617 squadron and flew along the Derwent Valley and over the stunning and impressive twin dams and reservoir. With the sun beating down on the water we were treated to a truly magnificent sight and one that certainly brought a tear to most of the group, myself and Dad included. After an impromptu rendition of the Dambusters theme – a pre-requisite of course and something which caused our pilot much amusement – we continued with our flight, passing over Castleton and Hathersage, spotting the impressive peaks and magnificent ariel views.

Our pilot told us all the places that we were flying over so that we knew each step of the way where we were which was great. As we banked into the hillside, turning in another direction, he let us know that the next stop on our tour would be Chatsworth House, a real gem which I wanted to see. This was not disappointing at all. With the estate sprawled beneath us it was a remarkable site and one that will stay with me.

An aerial view of Chatsworth House.

An aerial view of Chatsworth House.

We had been up in the air for nearly half an hour which, pardon the pun, flew by. The flight was so smooth and enjoyable that I completely forgot just why I had been a little nervous beforehand. We landed with everyone waving at us and my dad remarked, “This must be how the famous must feel.”

After leaving our ride behind we then were able to get a hearty carvery meal, included in our experience, at the neighbouring Moorlands Pub. The perfect end to a perfect afternoon.

My dad absolutely loved his birthday treat and hasn’t stopped talking about it since which in my mind, makes it one of the best, if not the best, present we have ever given him. For anyone who is difficult to buy for or has everything this would be the best present you could ever give.

Central Helicopters are brilliant and had everything covered prior to the day and on the day – it was such a professional service. Marilyn, Daniel and the team went out of their way to look after us allowing us to enjoy every minute of our flight experience. Thank you!

For more information on other flight experiences and packages offered please visit the Central Helicopters website or call 0115 981 4401.



Posted on 19 September 2014
Featured author: Anna

Fun loving Nottingham lass with a love of festivals, real ale, cheese, Bryan Adams and my home county of Nottinghamshire.

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