By Mario Ng
We love helicopter rides and each time we head overseas, we will always try to find an opportunity to take a helicopter ride. We feel that a heli ride gives us a different perspective of the city, and it offers us a unique view of it. It can be quite amazing to see the city from a few thousand feet up in the air and soar among the birds. Not to mention, we love flying and this was just another excuse for us to board a helicopter!
Before we even touched down in Dubai, we already did some research on heli rides. We saw that helidubai had good reviews, and proceeded to book a tour with them. Their rides ranged from a 12-minute ride that covers the important attractions in Dubai up to a whopping 40-minute ride that is as comprehensive as it can be. We chose the 17-minute ride that covers just that much more than the 12-minute ride.
Helidubai is located at the Dubai Police Academy, where it has a helipad for the company’s use. It is not located in the most convenient place, which means that a taxi ride is your best choice. Once you have arrived at the entrance to the academy, there will be a pick-up transfer service to the helipad. Be sure not to attempt to head into the police academy on your own. We cannot be sure what might happen!
Once at the tentage beside the helipad, you will check in to confirm your boarding details. After which, you will go through the safety briefing and given a list of what you can and cannot do. We noticed at this point that HeliDubai takes safety very seriously. The safety briefing was completed in such a way that made sure every passenger understood what they must do prior to, during, and after the flight. Everyone must simply obey all rules and strictly no bending of the rules were allowed. One example stands out for us. She had a bag that needs to be put in a locker. She informed the staff about this, and was escorted to the lockers, located outside, near the helipad. At this point, I thought I was going to follow her, until I was promptly stopped at the exit to the helipad, as I had no need to head to the locker. This shows the extent to which helidubai takes safety, and is one that I was very impressed with. This made me feel safe and secure when flying with heliDubai, and I do not need to be worried about any safety issues at all. This is in fact quite different from other countries’ helicopter tours, where we do see a more relaxed attitude towards safety issues.
Once we were ready for our flight, we were once again escorted to the helicopter, where we simply had to board it and waited for our seat belts to be fastened for us. The helicopter we boarded was the Eurocopter AS350 B3. Designed as a high-performance helicopter to be used in extreme conditions, this further highlights the reliability of HeliDubai by using such a helicopter. An interesting anecdote about this particular model is the fact that it was the first helicopter to land on the summit of Mount Everest, back in 2005. This is a testament to the harsh weather conditions the helicopter can withstand!
Flying over Etihad Museum and Union House
The trip itself was just amazing. The take-off was smooth, with no turbulence whatsoever. This is proof of the helicopter’s quality, where we seemingly glided through the air and almost floated above the city. We headed towards the Palm Islands, and was given an insight of the islands’ history. We also managed to see our hotel, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, and waved at it while we flew past! It was amazing to see Atlantis The Palm from so high up, and we were just admiring the Palm in all its glory. We next headed towards the city, and saw some of the most famous attractions in Dubai. Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, and the coastline came into view, and we were just soaking it all in. From high up above and flying from a safe distance, Burj Khalifa still stood out from the rest of the city, and you get an idea just how tall this building is. We managed to see the largest UAE flag located on Flag Island, and it was indeed huge!
Flying over The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences that was still in construction then
The only unfortunate thing about this trip was the haze that trapped the city for a few days. This resulted in our inability to view the World Islands, which would have been amazing to look at from above. We did manage to see Australia after the pilot pointed it out to us. Even so, we could barely see the Australian island. The visibility was that bad. Needless to say, we could not see the rest of the World Islands, and this remains unchecked on our bucket list to this day! However, we understand that this was something that simply cannot be avoided, and you will really only find out on the day of your flight! However, a good thing about this is how we got to experience how haze affects the city and how visibility can drop considerably!
Burj Khalifa trapped in the Dubai fog
When it was time to head back, one inevitably feels a tinge of sadness, since the chopper ride was about to end. Nevertheless, we always feel blessed and fortunate every time we take and complete a helicopter ride. It is certainly not something that we can do on a regular basis, and we had much fun seeing Dubai from the skies.
Seeing Burj Al Arab one more time before we headed back to Dubai Police Academy
After your helicopter ride has ended, you will be provided a drop-off transfer to the entrance of Dubai Police Academy once again. If you need a taxi, the folks at HeliDubai will be able to call for one before you leave the helipad. If not, you can take a 15-minute walk to the Mall of the Emirates, where you can cool off in air-conditioned comfort, and indulge in some retail therapy!
If you are ever in Dubai, we highly recommend you to try the helicopter ride, and see Dubai from a different perspective!
HeliDubai website: http://www.helidubai.com/Scenic-Tours/
Cost: From AED 646 per person for a 12-minute scenic tour
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