During the height of the Second World War, RAF Bomber Command made it their priority to damage and destroy as much of Nazi Germany’s industry as possible (industry is after all the heart of any war effort). After in depth studies and many attacks on Germany’s industrial areas, the British soon realised that enemy factories were not just being rebuilt very quickly after they had been attacked, they also became dispersed over a far wider area, which made them more difficult to attack again.
Because of this, a plan was devised to cripple Germany’s Ruhr Valley, where dams provided hydro-electric power for the Third Reich’s industrial heartland. This plan came to be known as Operation Chastise and the courageous men of the RAF who were tasked with carrying it out became legends.
They were the Dambusters
The Dambusters Raid
On the night of 16th/17th May 1943, 19 specially modified Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton to carry out Operation Chastise. The raid was notorious for using specially developed ‘bouncing bombs’ – invented by aircraft designer Barnes Wallis – which were designed to be dropped from a low altitude and skid along the surface of the water into the dams. These innovative weapons of war proved highly accurate, skimming across the river when dropped and exploding underwater to cause maximum damage to the dams.
Without doubt, the raid was an unmitigated success as it destroyed the output of hydro-electric power and curtailed armaments production in the Ruhr. Two power plants were also destroyed and the consequent flooding killed 1,600 people and destroyed acres of farmland. Wallis himself wrote: “I feel a blow has been struck at Germany from which she cannot recover for several years.”
This year marks the 70th anniversary of this most audacious and supremely well calculated of airborne missions.
Dambusters Helicopter Flights
If you have an interest in military history or are simply fascinated by the Dambusters story then you will surely have one of our Dambusters Helicopter Tours high on your ‘things to do’ list this year. Indeed, this amazing flight – which follows 617 Squadron’s training through the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire – really is a truly amazing experience.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will take you back down the famous route and over the twin dams. The 30-minute journey will take you back in time and show you what it was really like to fly over reservoirs and identify targets as a member of the legendary 617 squadron.
The Dambusters Helicopter Tour has got to be one of the most exciting of all our sightseeing experience days. Not only will you get to fly over some of the most beautiful countryside in England, you’ll also get a real insight into how the brave pilots of 617 Squadron trained for the greatest raid in the RAF’s history.
How’s that for a great day out!
For such a small country, the UK has plenty of stunning areas for people to explore. For example, you might have a particular penchant for the Peak District. This national park certainly has lots to offer.
So far, you may have only seen the area from ground level on foot, by bike or in your car. By booking helicopter flights you can get a whole new perspective and you’re bound to notice things you’ve never seen before.
A special place
The Peak District was Britain’s first national park and so it is no wonder it holds such a special place in many people’s hearts. As well as attracting people from the local area and further afield in the UK, it also draws people in from around the world.
Its protected landscapes and wildlife help ensure it captivates visitors all year round.
Make a real trip of it
If you decide to book helicopter pleasure flights in this part of England, it’s well worth making a real trip of it. As well as taking to the skies and getting an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the national park, there are plenty of other activities for you indulge in.
For example, you might want to get walking, cycling, abseiling and even yachting. On the other hand, if you fancy something a little more relaxing, why not enjoy scrumptious meals out in the area’s top-class eateries?
There are also plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. From classic country houses and impressive gardens to pretty villages and Hollywood film locations, you won’t be stuck for choice.
The perfect gifts
At this time of year, you might be trying to come up with new and original ideas for gifts. After all, the festive season looms large and it can be tricky to think of exciting and different Christmas presents.
If the recipient you have in mind has an adventurous soul, helicopter trips might be ideal. They certainly beat bog standard offerings like fragrances and clothes. Aerial experiences like this can create memories that last a lifetime and regardless of your budget, you should be able to find something suitable.
If you really want to splash out on someone special, you could combine your Peak District helicopter rides with luxurious hotel breaks in the area. There’s no shortage of accommodation for you to choose from and you’re bound to blow your other half away with your generous gesture.
Here at Central Helicopters we should be able to provide you with the perfect flights. For example, we offer Peak District/ Dambuster Flights. One highly popular tour lasts for around 15 minutes and takes in the spectacular scenery of the Peak District as well as Chatsworth House, which is one of the UK’s finest stately homes.
If you opt for this, you’ll depart from our private site opposite The Moorlands pub before heading south. Climbing up to 1,500 feet, you’ll get superb panoramic views across the park. For more details, just take a look around the relevant section of our website.