Commercial Helicopter Pilot Services
The Adventures of Helicopter-Redeye
Below are a select few UK trip suggestions: as flown by Helicopter-Redeye.
Note: many of these routes require experience, good forward planning (including PPR) and ATC clearance.
1- The remote NW Scottish coast 2- Skye Cuillins 3- Rhum Cuillin 4- Coll and Tiree 5- Mull 6-Islay, Jura, Scarba and the whirlpool of Corryvreckan 7- The lake district 8- North wales and the Welsh coast 9- Lundy Island 10- Lands end 11- The Orkney islands 12- Wick 13- The Cairngorms 14- The NE English coast 15- The London Heli Lanes 16- The Isle of Wight
Scotland is a favorite Redeye destination. A popular route flown more than once is Glenforsa (Isle of Mull) to Wick at the far north east tip of the Scottish mainland via the Great Glen followed by a circuit of the Orkney Islands. The return route to Glenforsa has been flown via the remote north and west coasts of Scotland with spectacular views of the Assynt and Sutherland mountains. Numerous flights have also taken place around the islands of the west Scottish coast, most notably:
Basking shark spotting around Coll and Tiree (No. 4)
Mountain flying among the Rum and Skye cuillin (No. 2/3)
Flying with White-tailed Eagles round the Ross of Mull (No. 5)
Sightseeing around the Paps of Jura and the famous Whirlpool of Corryvreckan (No.6)
Lundy is a National Trust owned island at the entrance to the Bristol Channel home to vast colonies of sea birds and a small local community. The island helipad sited by the church, postoffice, pub and lighthouse (which represent the largest collection of facilities on Lundy) is the best place to land when arriving by helicopter. Crossings can be made either 'the long way' from the Swansea/ Cardiff direction or 'the short way' from the north Devon coast- either way life jackets are essential.
Once on the ground, the island is easily walkable owing to its small size and helpful partitioning walls (1/4, 1/2, 3/4) that let you know how far along the island you have reached. Coming from the north, refueling options in the past have included Swansea, Cardiff and (more recently) Cardiff Heliport. As per National trust instructions, make sure you have no rat stowaways on board before you take off- Lundy is a rat free island and the sea birds will not thank you for introducing rodent predators!
Wales is a popular destination for helicopter mountain flying. There are few areas that are as well known to people (from walking there or travelling on the Snowdon railway) and are also relatively accessible by air than Snowdonia. On a clear and still day, passing directly over the top of the range is a sight not to be missed. Watch out for fast-jets streaking down the valleys and for the possibility of some serious turbulence/ mountain wave activity in the right conditions. Caernarfon airfield is a great aiming point to top up the tanks with fuel and have a rest with the possibility of then flying out towards Anglesea, south down the coast, or back west towards Snowdonia.
If you like castle spotting: this is the coastline for you. It's hard to miss the handy work of Edward I with Harlech, Caernarfon, Conwy and Beaumaris castles all highly visible from the air.
The NE English Coast
The north east coast of England all the way from Bridlington to Berwick-upon-tweed attracts a high volume of traffic on a nice sunny weekend so a good lookout is essential. The coastline from north of Newcastle to Holy island is particularly picturesque. This route (historically flown starting from Gamston or Humberside and ending at Carlisle) provides a good opportunity to practice CAS transits and radio work.
On reaching Holy island, the turn inland to Carlisle or Kirkbride sees a route through the rolling, but fairly high, Cheviot Hills and across the Spadeadam ranges (providing they're not active) where you can spot a variety of interesting, mainly old Russian, military hardware used in exercises. After re-fueling at Carlisle or Kirkbirde, the Lake District (map No. 7) can be enjoyed in all its glory before heading back through Westmorland and the North Yorkshire Moors.