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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Three Hard-Won Helicopter Rides

When it was time for me to move from San Diego, California, I said goodbye with a helicopter tour. I really enjoyed the panoramic views and the mechanical swings of the helicopter, as it circled high in the sky over that lovely city and harbor. My philosophy flying has always been that it is such a profound, exhilarating experience that it would be worth dying for, just not today. I am satisfied with what I have done with my life, and I am ready to meet my maker at any moment, or hopefully after a long life well-lived. So I recognize the risk of flying but I value the experience.

I have taken only three helicopter tours in my life, over San Diego, over a volcano in Hawaii, and an attenuated tour over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. My amazing memories of all three of those helicopter tours are bulwarked against my cross memories of three angry, frightened men who wanted those flights cut short or cancelled entirely, then threw hissy fits when I did not acquiesce.

In San Diego, I casually dated several men, and I invited one of them to go with me on my helicopter tour over it. He immediately said "No!" to the helicopter tour. In a huff he complained that he needed all of his money for his small company as he was expanding it, and he became very annoyed when I said that I would take the $100.00 tour on my own. I never heard from him again.

In Arizona, another man whom I casually dated was more adventuresome, as would be expected from a radio officer in the merchant marines. He took his shore leave in Phoenix, Arizona, and over the course of about a year we took numerous day trips together. One day we were in northern Arizona and I saw an opportunity for a helicopter tour through the Grand Canyon. I talked him into going on the tour. He had confided to me that the world ocean was a fearsome place and I agreed with him on that, but I hoped that he would enjoy being airborne in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. He did not enjoy flying over the Grand Canyon, in fact, less than five minutes into the Grand Canyon he demanded that the pilot turn us around. On the way back I memorized the feeling of seeing the vast vistas of strangely formed rock as we swept up out of the Grand Canyon and back to the pad on the rim. That man let me down in other more serious ways too, perhaps I will write those bad memories in another post, at another time, but I would rather not.

Those men's reactions to my first two helicopter tours were so disappointing, that I went on my last helicopter ride alone, without inviting anyone. But I still had to battle even an unknown man's attempts to shut down my life experience. See my blog post dated 12-19-17, Title: Helicopter Pilot Whose Specialty Was Flying Over Volcanoes! A frightened stranger on my helicopter tour raised a terrible commotion trying to end the tour when we circled above a flowing volcano vent, but the pilot doubled down and slung the helicopter sideways over the vent! That was way too exciting, but I hung on and said nothing because lava flowing in a volcano was the tour that I had signed up for, and we all got what we paid for. Exciting memory!

When I took my three helicopter tours, I was in my forties and fifties, so I had enough life fortitude to enjoy the rides in my own space and mind.

Caption: internet screen captures which are similar to views

on the three helicopter tours on which I flew.

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