I recall being 5 or so and having my Dad’s eyes light up when he saw that little helicopter land in the field offering rides. Despite my mom’s objections we just had to go for a ride. In fact we went for two rides, during the second the pilot and my dad decided to do some stunts to scare Mom on the ground. We had a blast, she was a wreck.
Growing up, my dad would run outside to see a chopper fly overhead and always made mention of looking for helicopter rides, or getting the opportunity to “grab a hold and see what I can do.” He even told me “when I die, just have them fly me around one more time.” That broke my heart, and I knew I had to find him some kind of helicopter lesson somewhere.
With his 50th birthday coming up I went scouring for the coolest surprise present like he always did for me. When I typed in “helicopter flights” on my computer, Independent Helicopters was the first link. I browsed the ride options, but then I saw the Discovery Flight gift certificate, something I had never seen offered anywhere else, where the student gets to “grab a hold and see what they can do” (under the watchful supervision of highly skilled and very patient instructors).
Heather was super helpful in keeping the gift a secret until I revealed it at my Dad’s party. I’ll never forget the look on his face as we attempted to fly the certificate in on a toy R/C helicopter (the dog didn’t take too kindly to it). He was that little boy all over again!
With book in hand he took to reading every night. Our living room notoriously hosted “library night” as he would read the Helicopter Flying Handbook and I would study for school.
With his first flight (and each one thereafter) I would ride along and videotape his lesson and views from the sky. By the time we’d get home he’d already want to see the tape, and show it to everyone who came by.
Thanks to Independent Helicopters my dad is the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and I never struggle to find him a great present.