POKHARA, Aug 21: Heli Air Nepal (HAN) will be soon operating new light weighted portable helicopters known as gyrocopters, especially designed for domestic as well as international tourists who love adventure.
HAN which has already received the Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is preparing to operate the first official flight within the next two weeks. As informed by director of HAN, Santosh Lamichhane, inaugural flight will be conducted after completing all the processes. "We got the AOC last Friday and now we are busy making necessary preparations for operating flights," he said.
Lamichhane further informed Republica that officials of Flight Security Department of HAN successfully conducted a test flight in Pokhara a few days back. French pilot Eric Freychet fled the helicopter from Kathmandu to Pokhara. For the first level, HAN has brought two gyrocopters worth Rs 15 million each. As told by Lamichhane this light-weight aircraft was brought to Nepal, four month ago however, its official flight was delayed while fulfilling all the requirements and process. CAAN have permitted HAN to operate flights from Balewa Airport, Baglung as there is no sufficient parking area at Pokhara Airport.
According to Lamichhane, this aircraft is highly useful for panoramic observation. "There will be a pilot in the front seat and the tourists sitting in the back can enjoy the scenery around," he said, adding, "Tourists can collect some beautiful memories from the flight." The company is hopeful that it will help to flourish tourism in Nepal.
As it flies just 500 feet above the land it is easier for people to have a closer look of the nature. It can be operated as per the movement of air as it carries only two persons including the pilot. This aircraft can fly at the speed of 180 kilometers per hour. In order to operate the helicopters, two pilots from France and Germany will come.
These aircraft which were made in the DTA Company of France can fly as high as 18,000 feet from ground. It weighs only 380 kilos and has the potential to fly carrying 560 kilos of weight altogether. It has the capacity to hold 70 liter petrol for its engine with which it flies for 3 hours. But due to its high expenses not all tourists can afford it. The company is planning to introduce five different packages for the tourists.
As per the details provided by HAN, foreign tourists will have to pay 149$ for 15 minutes, 249$ for 30 minutes, 398$ for 1 hour and 548 $ for two hours ride. As told by Lamichhane, national tourist will be given a special discount.
In Pokhara, three more ultra light companies are operating their flights for tourists. HAN is also planning to bring two helicopters with five seats each by next year. "We have already ordered them," said Lamichhane.
Bhola Prasad Guragain, Chief of Pokhara Airport told Republica that HAN will be soon flying the guests of Pokhara in their new aircraft.
Caption: a gyrocopter brought by Heli Air Nepal on the premises of Pokhara Airport.