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The helicopter is really an astounding aircraft when you think about it. While all other aircraft make use of either forward thrust and broad wings (like a plane) or lighter-than-air gas (hot-air balloons and airships) to make their way into the skies, the helicopter employs a unique mechanism to gain lift.

Supposedly inspired by ancient Chinese bamboo toys, Leonardo Da Vinci first proposed the idea of an ‘aerial screw’ in the 15th century. Da Vinci’s design didn’t look a great deal like modern helicopters, though the seed of the idea was planted. It would be over 400 years before human ingenuity finally mastered the technology of helical flying. In the late 1920s, in the wake of the boom in aviation brought about by the dawn of aeroplane flight, the helicopter finally cam into its own.

Rather than using forward thrust to gain momentum, the advantage of the helicopter is that its rapidly rotating horizontal blades pull the aircraft vertically upwards into the air. This means the helicopter does not need to be constantly moving forwards to retain altitude – in fact helicopters can move forwards, backwards, left and right and, most impressive of all, can hover stationary in the air. This makes the helicopter by far the most manoeuvrable aircraft ever invented.

For many decades helicopter technology was so expensive that hobby flying was prohibitively costly. However, times have changed, and now there is a burgeoning community of amateur helicopter pilots in the UK – many of whom are trained instructors ready to share their love of the incredible hovering aircraft.

With a number of well-equipped helicopter hubs around the country, there’s more choice than ever when it comes to helicopter flying experiences. So whether you’re looking for a one-off experience or the first of many flying lessons, this is the golden age for helicopter flying – what are you waiting for?

Check out these Top Helicopter Flying Experiences

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Jake trained as an artist and designer in Manchester and now spends most of his time attached to a computer keeping FlyingLessons.co.uk running smoothly. In his spare time he likes hiking up mountains, exploring art galleries and, of course, all things aviation.

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