Many people dream of sitting in the cockpit and flying a helicopter once. Sarah from Hanover fulfilled her dream and ventured to take a spin over the City of Hanover with pilot Benjamin Dannenberg.
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Fulfilling the dream of flying an airplane? At Hanover Airport this is possible. Today Sarah is getting into a helicopter to fly it herself – with a bit of assistance.
“We are standing right here in front of our training helicopter. It’s a Robinson 44, an American helicopter which is primarily used for training helicopter pilots and for small applications like passenger transports, scenic flights, film & photo flights, business flights.”
Today the Robinson 44 is reserved for Sarah only. For the 25-year-old it’s a dream come true.
“It’s just such a cool experience. It’s not something everyone does. It’s special. It’s great to fly as a passenger but I’m sure it’s really fun to pilot the aircraft yourself. We’ll see in a minute. I’m sure it will be fun, but it’s a great responsibility too.”
That sounds like a real thrill. The pilot and flight instructor Benjamin Dannenberg explains the three most important control systems.
“You have pedals for your feet. You use them to steer the tail rotor. We have a control stick, operated by the right arm. We use this to navigate forward, backward, to the right and left. And there is something like a handbrake. It’s called pitch, or collective pitch control. We use that one to navigate up and down whlne hovering.”
With over 2,200 flight hours under his belt, Benjamin Dannenberg knows what he’s talking about. And as the likes of Denzel Washington, Sebastian Vettel and Elton John, Sarah can rely on him, too.
“If you feel queasy or start thinking you can’t manage anymore, just say so before you let go. I will be next to you the whole time, so nothing can happen. We’ll fly together and we’ll see how well you manage. Okay, let’s go.”
And off they go.
The pro takes care of the take-off. Once in the air, Sarah takes over. Now she’s in charge.
They’re taking a spin over the city. Shortly before flying over Lake Maschsee, a Junkers Ju 52 greets at the same altitude. 2,500 feet above the ground the cameraman in the back is also clearly enjoying Sarah’s maiden flight.
Past the tower and back to the airport. Beyond the runway a special exercise awaits Sarah: a hover flight.
Keeping the helicopter in a constant position at a constant altitude is not easy.
During landing, flight instructor Benjamin Dannenberg takes control again.
And how does the freshly minted pilot feel?
“It was really fantastic, breath-taking. It was a lot of fun and it felt so different from being a passenger. You know exactly where you´re flying because you are in charge of things yourself. It is marvellous.”