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Pleasure Flight at Helicopter Fly-In, Kilpeck, Herefordshire, 1996

inspecting police helicopter
me, crowd veiwing helicopter
standing next to r/c helicopter display
guy flying r/c helicopter
smoke trails behind r/c heli
r/c heli flying over field
r/c heli being flown in overcost sky

Enjoy my old photographs which are scanned in 2019, well taken originally on May 26th, 1996. Located in Kilpeck, Herefordshire, at the Helicopter Fly-In.

My one and only chance of taking a pleasure flight in a helicopter came at 13 years old, though it was never to be, due to the weather. Good afternoon regardless as at the time I was pleased to inspect the police helicopter.

That was topped off with a R/C helicopter flight display along with a row of radio control helicopters on show - all of which are seen in the picture gallery. Big passion of mine were all things helicopters, so a real helicopter and models were a lot of fun to see.

Being Britain and just before June, the weather wasn't the best so a cancellation was possible, so not unexpected at all.

While I didn't get to the see the police helicopter on display land or take off, I did get to see its interior up close, well inspecting every inch of the chopper.

Arriving early to beat the crowd was a bad plan as it was busy already, which is seen with me trying to get closer look at the heli with people in the way.

Quick thinking I headed to the other side of the helicopter where people weren't gathered, so well I couldn't see the cockpit, the rear door was open for me to look in.

On the day I was ticket number 018 with a shared flight with others; and well 18 people may seem a lot; all heli rides could of been completed in just five flights, or 30 minutes or less.

Details on my passenger ticket indicates: Elite Helicopters & Aviation Services; White Waltham Airfield, Nr Maidenhead, Berks, SL6 3NJ.

I'm not sure if this company is still operating decades later, but if its this Elite Helicopters based in West Sussex, then I amazed it is still operating to this day.

Away from the police helicopter, the show of radio control helicopters on display really impressed me, as I was keen on R/C as much as I was on real helicopters.

I viewed the series of radio control helicopters which were brought to the Kilpeck Fly-In by local Martins Models And Crafts - to which you can see his advertising board.

Growing up in Hereford, there wasn't much in the way of helicopter rides in Herefordshire, or indeed anything I was exposed to personally. Well we do have a good helicopter flight school in Leominster, there's little else for taking heli rides.

So for that reason, the thought of taking a helicopter pleasure flight was an exciting prospect, and well I enjoyed R/C models, I had little experience there either.

Flight for promise of doing better in school

I found myself agreeing to a pleasure flight in a helicopter with my parents if I simply done better at school in regards to attending more.

I wasn't a bad kid by any means, but I hated attending school back in the day as I spent more time out of school then in.

So that meant my parents thinking of ways to force my into school more; so here came the promise of attending school if they paid for a helicopter flight.

Little I can remember from the build up of this promise, but I could say at the time it did put a little dampener on the prospect of a heli flight if it meant I had to go to school.

I agreed but sure enough, in my mind I was never going to keep up the promise on my end, and my mum and dad probably knew it was an impossible task.

It was only a promise, but my parents had never threatened to take away the up coming helicopter ride away from me, so that was reassuring.

Helicopter Fly-in ride day

Attending the helicopter fly-in in were me, my mum, dad and sister; all of whom were happy to be there enjoying the surroundings, the fate, and of course, the radio control helicopter display.

Me and the family got to enjoy the police helicopter that was in attendance, but as we arrived fairly early before my 15:00 PM departure time, there was a long wait - which resulted in the weather turning... more of that later.

Its only until recently I realised that perhaps the police helicopter on display to the public wasn't the helicopter I'd be taking for my pleasure flight.

Come to think of it, I later realised our early arrival was probably beaten by the helicopter yet to arrive at the Kilpeck fly-in in Herefordshire.

Little fact: the police helicopter on display in the photo's was the Aerospatiale AS355F1 Ecureuil II G-CCAO, which was taken out of service a year later to be replaced by the current Eurocopter EC135T1 helicopter across the UK's police forces.

Flight that was never to be

My helicopter flight was due to happen on 26th May 1996 in Kilpeck; a few miles south of Hereford, Herefordshire - from where we arrived by car.

With a two hour wait at least it was already a grim day; I remember distinctively the day being cloudy with high winds, but never any rain.

Bad weather had arrived in the morning as proven by the saturated ground on the farm land my dad parked his car in, with wet and mud dirtying up our shoes.

And then came the bad news 30 minutes or so before I was due my short 5 helicopter ride; its been called off due to the incoming weather.

If I remembered right the people told all passengers a one hour wait may see the bad weather pass, but unfortunately for us, it was time to go home.

Very disappointed would be an understatement, as I figured it was my only chance to fly in a real helicopter for the first time.

However, with the promise of attending school more if I took the pleasure flight, I knew all bets were off.

So I took that as a sign my parents didn't take me attending school more that serious.

Obviously that wasn't true at all, but in my young mind at the time that got me through the disappointment.

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