Helicopter Sightseeing Company Begins Trial Flights

A London-based company says they will be back on 11th August for  more pleasure helicopter flights around Scilly after trial flights.

The plan is to operate the trips for six weeks next summer.

Adventure 001 Helicopters used Bell ‘Jetranger’ helicopters to carry four flights of islanders and visitors from the grassy bank in front of the airport yesterday.

Neil McClaren says the trip is an amazing opportunity to see the beauty and colour of Scilly, adding it is by far the best helicopter ride his company offers in the UK.

Council tourism assistant, Sophie Hughes, flew in the trial.

She says it’s a completely different experience to the scheduled helicopter flights – the helicopter is beautifully equipped and there’s a superb all-round view, adding it’s much more of an experience than a simple mode of transport.

Some of the passengers on the first sightseeing trial flight

She says passing over the uninhabited islands and seeing Round Island lighthouse was amazing.

Also, by going up to 2000ft, she could see the whole archipeligo, something not possible as the scheduled flights are coming in to land.

However, not everyone is in favour of the helicopters.

Some bird lovers have complained about what they view to be a disturbance.

Sheila Thomas has posted that “if they want helicopters whirrling round all day they should go to Benidorm.”

Local resident, Mike Skaife posted “We played bowls yesterday afternoon and that helicopter buzzing around was very irritating!” adding “surely all the councillors will be against this private money making scheme.”

Jane Hurd commented “I enjoy walking round Scilly or working on my allotment in the peace & quiet…and listening to birds and the sea. I was fed up yesterday afternoon with the racket from this thing going round and round. I dread the idea of it being here for 6 weeks next year. Visitors come
here to enjoy peace and quiet, and will be deterred from coming if this happens.”

However, Euan Rodger posted “there is no harm in trying such initiatives out. You never know our Tourist may actually like the added value element that this may bring. Yesterday it made much less noise than Skybus and BIH and if they are happening at the same time as other air traffic then it
will hardly be noticeable. At the end of the day if it is commercially viable then that means there is a market for it I say let the visitor/consumer decide.”

Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden says the council may need to assess the potential for noise if areas where protected wildlife could potentially be disrupted.

Neil says his team has been aware that there have been complaints about potential noise and they have tried to take this into account in their operations. They’re mainly flying at 2000ft which should keep noise to a minimum on the ground.

Kate Price from the company walked around town talking to the public and handing out promotional leaflets yesterday.

She says some people were very excited by the idea although there were some objectives voiced but Neil says he hopes the trial flights have shown that they can operate without causing undue disturbance.