Western Helidays is a four day Helicopter Fly-in along Weston Sea Front. This years event was held over July 25 to July 27. Helidays is the largest annual event staged on Weston-super-Mare sea front, taking up 3/4 mile of the Beach Lawns at peak holiday season, and attracts all age groups from all walks of life and is not just a specialist “aviation enthusiast” event.
Many helicopters fly in during the event, making up a static display of Military and Civil aircraft, autogyros, and also Military vehicles. Supporting the visiting helicopters are a range of ground displays, entertainment, and stalls along the length of the Beach Lawns. There are also helicopter pleasure flights operating from the beach.
A group of pilots from both Heliflight Gloucester and Heliflight Halfpenny Green flew down for the weekend. A total of four aircraft attended the show – two R22s and one Jetranger from Gloucester, and one R44 from Halfpenny Green. After parking up on the grass and collecting our Air Crew passes we all grabbed a bite to eat and met up in one of the many bars along the sea front. Several drinks and photo opportunities later it was time to head over to our B&B to get changed and ready for a long evening of partying!
The organisers of Helidays put on a free barbecue for all the pilots on the Saturday night after the gates have been closed to the public. Unfortunately we were a little late leaving the B&B and so that will have to remain a pleasure to experience next year. We stopped at a restaurant for dinner, and sampled the delights of various bars until the early hours of the morning. No one got too drunk of course – we had to fly back in the morning!
Sunday morning started with a hearty breakfast, followed by a gentle stroll up and down the beach lawns checking out the other helicopters that were on display. You could quite easily fit an R22 into the back of some of them!
The whole weekend passed very quickly. It was soon time to do an A-check on our aircraft to ensure nothing untoward had happened overnight, then call up Western Information for engine start and begin our journey home.
More photos from the event can be found in the gallery.