Zil Air - a helicopter flight trip report from the Seychelles

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  1. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    zil_air.jpg - a helicopter flight trip report from the Seychelles

    During our second stay in the Seychelles, we decided we wanted to really see the beautiful Seychelles islands from the sky - what better way to do that than from a helicopter?

    There is as far as we know, now only one helicopter operator in Seychelles, namely L'Air Dezil, which is the result of a joint venture between Helicopter Seychelles and Zil Air. L'Air Dezil operates 1 Eurocopter Colibri EC 120B in the beautiful black, white and orange Zil Air livery, and 4 Bell HB-206B-3 (Jetranger III) plus 2 Agusta 109C in Helicopter Seychelles livery. Helicopter Seychelles are planning to replace three of its Bell Jetrangers with Eurocopter Colibri EC 120B, one of the most modern light single-engine helicopters available.

    As we wanted to fly the Eurocopter Colibri, we booked a scenic flight with Zil Air, starting from Praslin airport (PRI/FSPP), also called Iles des Palmes. Praslin airport is a modern, clean and comfortable small airport with the capacity to handle over 1500 passengers daily and over half a million passengers annually. Since L'Air Dezil's helicopters are based at SEZ airport on the island of Mahé, we waited until the helicopter made a flight to PRI to lower the total cost of our flight.

    PRI_overview.jpg

    Inside the terminal, departures.

    PRI_interior.jpg

    We arrived at PRI 30 minutes before our scheduled departure for check-in and security demonstration, and then we were equipped with inflatable flotation vests.. now it was time to get on board Zil Air's Eurocopter S7-AIR!

    ZilAir_S7-AIR.jpg

    Boarding was easy, just get inside the helicopter without stepping on the aircraft's flotation devices, get in your seat, put your seatbelt and headphones on . The pilot welcomed us, and explained a little about the flight, then proceeded with his take-off procedure.

    PRI_pre_takeoff.jpg

    After two minutes, we took off towards north, before turning south along the Grand Anse beach towards Praslin's southernmost point; Pointe Cocos.

    PRI_Grand_Anse.jpg

    We then turned east towards Baie Ste Anne village, where the island jetty is located. All inter-island catamaran & schooner services and other smaller freighter ships arrive and depart at the Baie Ste Anne jetty.

    PetiteAnse_towards_BaieSteAnne.jpg

    After a quick turn over the bay with Île Ronde underneath, the pilot set course for the island of La Digue, one of the most beautiful of the Seychelles inner isles - in fact, all the Seychelles islands are beautiful.

    IleRonde_towards_LaDigue.jpg

    Looking back at Praslin

    Looking_back_at_Praslin.jpg

    Petite Anse on La Digue, only 2 or 3 people on this beach.

    LaDigue_PetiteAnse.jpg
     
  2. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    Towards Felicité Island, a private island with a small resort called Zil Pasyon (creole), which means Isle of Passion, in addition to the resort there are a number of privately owned immensely luxurious villas. La Digue and Praslin in the background.

    FelicitéIsland_ZilPasyon.jpg

    We then flew back towards La Digue and Praslin, flying over Praslin's Côte d'Or area, with the beautiful Anse Volbert beach in the foreground.

    CoteD'or_Praslin.jpg

    Northern end of Anse Volbert, the sand here is like talc, you can't really feel it between your hands! Anse Volbert in the foreground, Anse Petit Cour just over the hill, and the newly opened Raffles Seychelles on Anse Takamaka in the background.

    AnsePetiteCour_Praslin.jpg

    The locals are not very happy about the Raffles development, and it really is a big eyesore in the natural beauty of the Praslin island.

    Raffles_Seychelles_Praslin.jpg

    The pilot then headed straight for Anse Lazio, one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world according to Condé Nast.

    AnseLazio.jpg

    The magnificent Anse Lazio beach really is a gem! Azure waters, excellent snorkling, and almost no-one else on the beach.

    AnseLazio2.jpg

    Now the pilot turned over Baie Chevalier towards Constance Lemuria Resort, with Praslin's only 18 hole golf course - in fact, the only 18 hole golf course in the Seychelles.The isles of Cousin and Cousine are visible in the background.

    Lemuria_golf_course.jpg

    Anse Georgette, located on Praslin's northern tip.

    AnseGeorgette.jpg
     
  3. nime01
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    A closer view at the islands of Cousin and Cousine.

    Cousine_and_Cousin_islands.jpg

    We were now getting close to the end of our flight, and the pilot made a wide turn down along Anse Kerlan, Praslin airport visible to the south of the Lemuria Resort.

    PRI_from_north.jpg

    The PRI airstrip in its full length.

    PRI_airport.jpg

    The pilot made a wide turn for the final approach to PRI.

    PRI_approach.jpg

    The final approach

    PRI_approach1.jpg

    Going in for landing

    PRI_approach2.jpg

    A bunch of happy flyers!

    PRI_landed.jpg

    The helicopter is now ready for its flight back to the main island of Mahé.

    S7-AIR_ready_for_new_flight.jpg

    The flight lasted 30 minutes, but the impressions will last a lifetime. I highly recommend doing a helicopter flight if you visit the Seychelles. You are taken care of by very professional staff, and they make sure you have a great time!

    Thank you for reading my very first trip report - I hope you liked it!
     
  4. kiwi
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    kiwi Gold Member

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    Fabulous. If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost?
     
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  5. nime01
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    Thank you :)

    It cost €690 for all, not exactly cheap, but we all agreed it was totally worth it. More expensive if the helicopter has to fly empty from its base first.
     
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  6. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Great photos. How long were you in the air?
     
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  7. DeltaExpert
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    Amazing pictures!
     
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  8. charlilo
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    Thanks for taking the time to share.
     
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  9. nime01
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    Thanks, we were up there for about 30 mins. [​IMG]
     
  10. Junca
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    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  11. edison
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    Fantastic pictures! I wish I will go to Seychelles one day!
     
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  12. TheBilou
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    Amazing pics!!!
     
  13. nime01
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    Thank you :)
    I will post some of the other pictures as soon as I get my disk up and running again... :eek:
     
  14. ssedha

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    Amazing photographs. What a truly unique experience.
     
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  15. milchap
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    I have a friend who is from the Seychelles. He keeps on inviting me to visit. With photos like you posted, it is tempting. :)
     
  16. nime01
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    I strongly recommend you go there, it is well worth the long flight.
    Does your friend live on the main island or one of the smaller ones?

    We're already planning our 3rd trip :D
     
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  17. milchap
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    He lives on the main island.
     
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  18. NYBanker
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    Great TR!
     
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