Take your memories to new heights!
Enjoy a peaceful hour in the early morning drifting silently along at treetop level or up to 1500 feet above the ground.
Sky safaris pride themselves on delivering safe, yet unforgettable experiences. Lift-off is just after sunrise which is between 5 am and 7 am depending on the time of year. You will enjoy a hot drink at the launch site before lift off and a celebratory glass of champagne on completing the flight, followed by breakfast. We have a wide variety of helicopter tours to suit both your pocket and the time you have available. Durban Tour An exceptional scenic flight along the Durban coastline as far as the harbour (15 minutes flying time). Golden Mile Tour Fly over Umhlanga Rocks and the lighthouse then down the golden mile to Greater Durban and the harbour (30 minutes flying time). Picnic on a Mountain Take a flight to the Valley of a 1000 Hills, land on a mountaintop and enjoy a picnic with an awesome view (30 minutes flying time). Adventure Tour Fly to the Umgeni River mouth then turn inland and follow the Umgeni River Valley through the Valley of 1000 Hills before returning via Greater Durban, the harbour and the Golden mile (45 minutes flying time). Tala Game Reserve Take off and head for the Tala Game Reserve in the Natal Midlands where you can enjoy a game drive and scrumptious lunch at La Tala restaurant. Look out for rhino, hippo, giraffe and the rare sable antelope, not to mention the 380 odd species of birds that can be spotted here (40 minutes flying time). Wild Coast – Hole in the Wall View the spectacular Wild Coast scenery from the air, including the unique sight of a fresh water waterfall cascading down cliffs into the sea. Stop for lunch before heading home. St Lucia Wetlands Head north from Durban to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and pop into Amorello Bush Lodge for lunch. After lunch take in a game drive (subject to availability) before heading back to Durban. Alternatively, skip the game drive, take off and head past Cape Vidal for an afternoon snack at The Prawn Shop before heading on down the coast back to Durban. Battle Fields Tour – Isandlwana Take off from Durban and head out over the Inanda Dam towards the Isandlwana Lodge where lunch will be served. After lunch, fly over Fugitives Drift and head for Albert Falls, taking in some spectacular waterfall scenery on the way. Onto the Valley of 1000 Hills land on the top of Inanda Mountain for a champagne picnic before heading for Durban. South Coast – Oribi Gorge We head south from Durban along the awesome coastline before heading up the Mtamvuna River for a lunch stop at the 5 star Oribi Gorge Hotel and Spa, with time for a spa treatment – or just relax and admire the views.
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A helicopter is the most manageable aircraft in existence. It is lifted and propelled by one or more horizontal rotors consisting of two or more rotor blades. Helicopters are classified as rotorcraft to distinguish them from fixed-wing aircraft because the helicopter derives its source of lift from the rotor blades rotating around a mast. A ride in a helicopter is extremely exhilarating.
The main advantage of the helicopter is the ability to take off and land vertically and to keep up a steady hover in the air over a single point on the ground. These features allow the helicopter to land on and take off from pinnacles and confined areas.
The helicopter makes a great a rescue, medical evacuation and observation vehicle. Other sectors that enjoy the benefits of a helicopter’s nifty skills are firefighting, tours, logging, personnel transport, electronic news gathering, law enforcement and military.
A word on Helicopters:
“If you’re in trouble anywhere in the world, an airplane can land and drop your flowers; a helicopter can land and save your life.” –Igor Sikorsky
“I have discovered that a screw-shaped device such as this, if it is well made from starched linen, will rise in the air if turned quickly.”–Leonardo da Vinci, describing the helical air screw, 1480
“A helicopter is a machine that gave man the true freedom of the sky.”–Igor Sikorsky
In traditional aircraft, the wing profile which is known as the air foil, is designed to deflect air efficiently downward. This downward deflection causes an opposite lifting force on the wing and a lower pressure on the upper surface, higher pressure on the lower surface. This pressure difference integrated over the air foil area causes a net lift. However, the more the lift of the air foil, the more drag that is caused. A helicopter makes use of the same principle, except that instead of moving the entire aircraft, only the wings themselves are moved in a circular motion. The helicopter’s rotor can be regarded as rotating wings, from where the military name of “rotary wing aircraft” originates.
Since 400 BC the Chinese had a bamboo flying top that was used as a children’s toy. Eventually, this flying top toy made it to Europe, and is depicted in a 1463 European painting. Leonardo da Vinci first conceived the semi-practical, manned helicopter in the 15th century.
The word “helicopter” (hélicoptère) was coined in 1861 by Gustave de Ponton d’Amécourt, a French inventor who demonstrated a small steam-powered model. Much later on the 20th century, helicopters were manufactured. Aircraft developers Jan Bahyl, Oszkár Asbóth, Louis Breguet, Paul Cornu,Traian Vuia, Emile Berliner, Ogneslav Kostovic Stepanovic and Igor Sikorsky pioneered the helicopter.
In the early 1920s, Raúl Pateras de Pescara, an Argentinian working in Europe, demonstrated one of the first, successful models of cyclic pitch. This let the helicopter move laterally without a separate propeller to push or pull it. By January 1924, Pescara’s helicopter No. 3 was capable of flights up to 10 minutes.
In 1931, Soviet aeronautical engineers Boris Yuriev and Alexei Cheremukhin began experiments with the TsAGI 1-EA helicopter, also a single lifting rotor helicopter, with forward and aft anti-torque rotors. It reached an altitude of 605 meters (1,984 ft.) on August 14, 1932 with Cheremukhin at the controls.
The German Focke-Wulf FW 61 was the first viable helicopter and had its first flight in 1936. The FW-61 broke all of the helicopter world records in 1937. Nazi Germany used a few helicopters during World War II.
Mass production of the military version of the Sikorsky XR-4 began in May 1942 for the United States Army and was used over Burma for rescue duties. It was also used by the Royal Air Force, the first British military unit to be equipped with helicopters being the Helicopter Training School, formed in January 1945 at RAF Andover with nine Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly I helicopters.
The Bell 47 designed by Arthur Young became the first helicopter to be licensed (in March 1946) for certified civilian use in the United States. Twenty years later the Bell 206 became the most popular commercial helicopter built.
Reliable helicopters capable of stable hover flight were developed decades after fixed wing aircraft. This is mainly due to higher engine power density requirements than fixed wing aircraft. Igor Sikorsky is reported to have delayed his own helicopter research until suitable engines were commercially available. Improvements in fuels and engines during the first half of the 20th century were a critical factor in helicopter development. The development of lightweight turboshaft engines in the later 20th century led to larger, faster, and higher performance helicopters. Turboshaft engines are preferred for most smaller helicopters today.