Helicopter ride in Warsaw

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Towards Warsaw

Towards Warsaw

Today Anna and I took a ride in a helicopter over the Vistula at Warsaw.

Yesterday we took a train to Warsaw. Krakow was shrouded in smog and was a good place to leave. As we traveled north the air cleared and the sun glowed across the meadows. It all looked very promising but the closer we got to Warsaw the foggier things became. By the time we pulled in to “Warsawa Centralna” visibility was down to metres and the temperature was in low single digits.

20161126_helicopter_20After checking in to our hotel we went shopping. The view from the bus was gloomy. We were unsure where to get off. The bus stopped and we could see the shopping centre so Anna asked a fellow passenger if this was the best stop. She replied along the lines of “Well, cant you see it?” Helpful lady.

We shopped and ate and it was time to go. Maybe 4pm. The fog was even denser and it was virtually dark. We were not feeling hopeful about riding in a helicopter tomorrow.

20161126_helicopter_18Sunday dawned along with sunshine. It was a perfect morning. Hooray. We met our special friend Mira and her family who, after a cold visit to an open air market, drove us to the heliport. The site is outside Warsaw and we traveled by back roads through small villages. All was going well until we came to a bridge. It was closed and we had to find another way. As we hunted around I thought the gods were conspiring to stop us flying but finally we arrived and pretty much spot on time. Only minutes later the helicopter appeared in the sky.

National Stadium

National Stadium

We loaded into the helicopter, donned our headphones and moments later we were in the air. The Robinson R66 turbine is a small machine and flying in it is very exciting. One could almost say frightening. Well, actually one would. We traveled along over the Vistula towards Warsaw. The view started off as open fields and villages but soon became major settlements. Then there was the National Stadium dominating the vista. It was built for Euro 2012 and hosted the opening soccer game.

Warsaw

Warsaw

In the near distance was the city. We did not have approval to over fly but the scene was still great. The Palace of Culture was clearly visible on the sky line amongst other more modern structures.

The pilot, Mira’s grandson Tomek, asked us if we would like a sharp turn. We did not understand so he demonstrated. Wow! I imagine it was like riding a MotoGP bike with Valentino Rossi. Incredible.

Flying low

Flying low

All too soon we were heading back. We flew low over the river. The altimeter said around 300’ but Tomek explained that that was height above sea level and we were actually below 50’ above the ground.

Tomek brought us in for a gentle landing and we disemplaned as he went through the shut down routine. Finally he attached a set of wheels to the skids and he

Pushing the Robinson home

Pushing the Robinson home

and a colleague pushed the helicopter into the garage. Of course, there was another Robinson and a Porsche already

Garage

Garage

in there. Just like any suburban garage? I was amused to see a special hole in the wall for the blade.

Tomorrow we head to Cuba.