Aviation

Chopper ride likely to take off soon at Vizag

VISAKHAPATNAM: The proposal to operate choppers from VUDA Park to Kailasagiri and Araku, which has been hanging fire for nearly one-and-a-half years now, is likely to take off soon with a trial run conducted by Pawan Hans on Thursday.

“The permission of the Navy is awaited and once that is through, regular operations can begin in 15 to 20 days. It will be a unique opportunity for tourists as one cannot dream of travelling in a helicopter for around ₹2,500,” Capt Srinivasa Rao of Pawan Hans said when asked for his comments after the trial run, reports The Hindu.

“This is a seven-seater aircraft with a provision for two pilots and five passengers. However, once the joy rides begin, it would be flown by a single pilot with a capacity for carrying six passengers. The Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) and tourism officials are making all-out efforts to get the service operationalised. At present, we have brought only one chopper,” Capt. Srinivasa Rao said.

“A report on the trial is awaited from the Eastern Naval Command (ENC). These are feasibility studies and it is too early to comment on the actual operations.

The helipad location may have to be changed, if the Navy raises any objection,” VUDA vice-chairman P. Basanth Kumar told The Hindu on Thursday evening.

“Only an MoU was signed with the Sky Choppers Private Ltd., in the past. The Navy had raised objections in the past that the chopper route would come in the way of the air funnel. The agreement with Sky Choppers was cancelled subsequently,” the vice-chairman said when his attention was drawn to the issue.

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