A QUICK RECAP ON OUR 2016 ADVENTURES
2016 was again a very busy year for the Elite Helicopter team, especially through the summer season with all the major sporting events such as Epsom, Ascot, Dunsfold Supercars, as well as the British Grand Prix and Farnborough International Airshow.
Of course also in the mix were the ‘Goodwood Events’. The Members Meeting, Festival of Speed the Qatar Festival and the Revival meeting always keep us extremely busy and 2016 was no exception, we saw a nice increase in business at both the Revival and the Qatar Festival, which was very encouraging. The challenges the weather brought us for the Goodwood Revival were frustrating to say the least and unfortunately on the Saturday of the event very little of the scheduled flying took place last year, of course we persevered and did what we could and thankfully the Sunday came good, with a drier sunny day enabling us to still make the event a success!
The final main event of the year for Elite is always the running of the Helipad and Ground Operations at Helitech and 2016 was no exception. We are proud that we have held the contract for this service ever since we started the Company some 21 years ago. Previously this event was held bi-annually, initially at Redhill and then it transferred to Duxford. Now it is held annually and rotates between the Excel Centre in London and the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam. In 2016 it was the turn of Amsterdam again and as I am sure you will appreciate (with this being such a serious and complex operation to run and oversee) there simply was no time for exploring the cultural side or sampling any of the delightful goods on offer in the highly illuminated areas of this wonderful city! Well not much anyway!
The 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed
At the Goodwood Festival of Speed we undertake a very busy pleasure flying operation (to put it into context, that’s 2,200 people flown over 4 days using 5 Helicopters) and an extensive charter operation using a variety of aircraft types. These range from the Robinson R44 through Jet Ranger, LongRanger AS350 Squirrel and the Twin Engine Agusta A109’s. Due to the sheer scale of this occasion we also have to contract other operators in to help us cover the amount of flying activity we have, as we just cannot cope otherwise.
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone
A highlight of the year is always our time at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, where we look after our own arriving and departing passengers. In 2016 this was a Twin Engine only Heliport operation.
Sadly, as can be the case with the British summer, the weather was variable throughout the weekend. Thankfully, apart from a few delays, we managed to fly all of our customers in and out of Silverstone from a variety of private sites and Aerodromes with Battersea Heliport being a very popular venue to travel from and to in 2016.
Whilst a good few rainbows were seen over the weekend we never did find our pot of gold!
The whole team at Elite Helicopters are looking forward to another busy year in 2017 with the events calendar jam packed and kicking off at Cheltenham Festival on the 14th March. For more information on chartering our helicopters for special events click here.
Settling in at Our New Fairoaks Base
One of the biggest and most exciting pieces of news for the Elite Helicopter team in 2016 was that we made the decision to open a new base for training at Fairoaks. We’re pleased to report that this is now up and running with a small but nice set of well equipped offices and briefing rooms located directly underneath the control tower at Fairoaks Airport.
We are busy welcoming new students in for training and are predominantly promoting the Cabri, however we do also now have the use of an R44 based at Fairoaks and if there is demand in the future we will consider offering training in the R22 as well. Fairoaks is very convenient for London-based students, complementing the main base here at Goodwood. By opening this base we now have a corridor from the M25 boundary down to Goodwood and can better service the needs of our customers.
For more information on our Fairoaks base drop us a line here: [email protected]
And Finally, a Quick Update on the Elite Helicopters Training Crew
If you were interested in the whereabouts of the illusive Chris Knight, he was successfully lured away from his travels in the Far East and Australia, to take up an irresistible position in Shawbury so we might yet see him here at Goodwood again sometime in the future.
In the meantime we have Tony (Trigger), Kim (Kimbo) and Steve (The Flying Leprechaun) as our main instructors on the Cabri, R22, and R44 and we are still recruiting for additional instructors.
Ingo has been extremely busy as usual, examining, training and conducting private owners’ flying which is taking him to all sorts of interesting places. Opposite is a picture of the LongRanger G-DSTN, which Ingo landed on one of the Helipads on No Mans Fort in the Solent as part of the ‘private’ flying for the owner’s birthday party guests. We think you’ll agree there was not a lot of room for error on that one!