Rising majestically from Los Torres in Adeje, I cursed those action movie stars for my pre-flight nerves. There was no big screen dipping and swooping, just a smooth ascent as the La Caleta coastline stretched out below the four seater Robinson R44 helicopter.
This first time flyer was buckled in at the rear as my fellow passenger sat up front, both of us in two way conversation with our multi lingual pilot through our headsets. The wind socks were billowing down at the helipad but as we turned smoothly rising to 500 metres there was no buffeting, just smooth progress along the Adeje shoreline passing over Playa San Juan marina as it basked in the morning sunshine. The panoramic view ahead was inspiring and a small pop open flap below my side window allowed my camera to get some uninterrupted shots of the Tenerife west coast at its finest.
The contrasts and natural beauty of Tenerife are better appreciated from a wide, overhead perspective and Helidream Canarias can draw on six years of experience operating helicopter flights in Barcelona as part of the Bigas Grup. The American-built chopper made an epic 50 hour relocation to Tenerife via Morocco and Lanzarote when they set up in Adeje at the end of 2012. My 50 km trip was up to Los Gigantes and back. They also do a 30 km coast and barrancos trip over the southern tourist spots; an 85 km flight to the north west corner of Buenavista del Norte, and a 120 km ride to Volcan Teide, the last two include a meal at a beach restaurant.
Years of local hill walking have given me some amazing views but the sight of the towering cliffs of Los Gigantes from above gave me a whole new appreciation of how they have been formed and sculpted by nature. Turning in my comfy seat to compare views from each window highlighted the contrast of the lava flows above Santiago del Teide, the villages like Tamaimo nestling in the folds of the hills, and rise of the tourist complexes set against the large expanses of rugged coast and banana plantations.
On the return leg I could easily pick out the recently developed compact beaches of Callao Salvaje and Playa Paraiso linked by a coastal path. Hotel guests on their sun beds slipped on their sun glasses for a better look at the sleek black helicopter flying overhead as cars and buses carved their way through the hills inland. There was so much to absorb, I hardly noticed the motion of flying. The big bird had certainly seen off the small, pre-trip butterflies. Landing, like take off, was gentle and smooth, it was certainly an experience that added another dimension to my understanding of Tenerife.
Sky Experience, Las Torres Industrial Park, Off the TF1 Motorway, Adeje; Tel (0034) 922711487 or (0034) 630315422; email: [email protected] ; Cost From 98 to 350 euros a person depending on chosen length of flight.