The bright red helicopter hovers briefly above the helipad before it takes off in a smooth arc over Yanchep National Park.
I’ve just arrived at West Coast Heli Scene’s helipad and it’s not just buzzing with the noise from the chopper — there’s also an excited buzz among the small group of people waiting for their turn to take a scenic flight in this eye-catching flying machine.
A thrilling helicopter flight during mustering in the Northern Territory sparked a passion for flying helicopters for West Coast Heli Scene owners Mick Harte and Emma Brown.
The couple have been running scenic helicopter flights from Yanchep National Park since 2016.
They picked this location because it’s only a 45-minute drive from Perth and because it offers a wide range of natural attractions to fly over.
“Even a 15-minute flight gives people a whole new perspective of what is around here,” says Mick.
As I wait for my flight, I chat to the Wood family who have just returned from a flight over Yanchep National Park, Yanchep Lagoon and Two Rocks Marina.
Six-year-old Charlie Wood has a beaming smile on his face and replies enthusiastically when I ask him how the flight was. “Awesome! It was very good and I liked the way it turns and the views were very fantastic.”
Charlie’s enthusiasm is shared by his dad, Ray. “I second what Charlie said — it was amazing to see the park, the lagoon and the marina and we live in Yanchep and got to fly over our house.”
Mum Emma, who is heavily pregnant with their second child, was impressed with how smooth the flight was. “We would definitely recommend it,” they say in unison.
My turn has come and I strap myself into the front seat next to Mick.
He’s a relaxed and easy going character who’s a self-proclaimed expert at calming people onboard.
“Some people can be a bit nervous before the flight but they soon calm down,” he says. “After a couple of minutes I can see how they relax and get a bit of blood flow back into their fingers. They come back in and think it was absolutely fantastic and that’s what I love about it. I just like seeing people’s faces after experiencing flying in a helicopter. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of people just love it.”
We take off and in no time we have the lush green gardens around the Yanchep Inn and the wetlands of the park below us.
The Robinson 44 helicopter is good for scenic flights with virtually uninterrupted viewing thanks to the dome-like front bubble.
It’s a perfect afternoon for flying and as we climb sweeping views of the coast are revealed. Looking south, I can see the white beaches stretch out towards Perth and looking north the Yanchep Lagoon and Two Rocks Marina are looking splendid.
Mick takes me out over the reef and over the Alkimos wreck. The Alkimos which wrecked on the coast at Yanchep in 1963 is virtually all submerged now, but I can clearly see the outline of the hull.
The bow, the wheelhouse and the stern are the only parts that remain above water and the waves break around them on the way to the beach.
The sea breeze is in and there’s a good size swell running which creates some spectacular white water around the Yanchep Lagoon.
At Two Rocks Marina, the boats are sheltered from the swell and bob quietly up and down in their pens while the statue of King Neptune surveys his domain from the hill above.
West Coast Heli Scene fly from Yanchep National Park most Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
They offer a range of scenic flights starting from $210 per flight. ($70 per person when the flight is full).
Each flight can take 3 adult passengers or 2 adults and 2 small children under the age of 13 years who can share a seat.
Visit westcoastheliscene.com or call Emma on 0427 757 663.