Organising the Whirlwind Tour for David Walliams
We couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction: “Thank you. It has been a great and enjoyable day”
Those were the words of David Walliams as he stepped off his helicopter at Edinburgh Airport, following the #WalliamsWhirlwind tour of the UK.
This exciting, and much anticipated event, involved the author, actor and comedian visiting six schools across the country as part of World Book Day.
It began with an 0830 pick up at Elstree and flight to the first school, Great Missenden C of E School in Buckinghamshire, all the way to departing Edinburgh’s Castleview Primary School at 1600 and a drop off a Edinburgh International Airport ten minutes later.
In total Mr Walliams flew 445 miles and met 100’s of thrilled school children who were dressed in a variety of book characters, many from the pages of his own novels.
Planning a Helicopter Tour
Fans of the author will know that the competition to pick the schools began in November which is when we started the planning for this series of flights.
This has been one of the most challenging trips we’ve had to undertake as most of the schools were in congested areas and required site recces to ensure our helicopter performance criteria could be achieved.
Although the schools have playing fields, consideration has to be given to the surrounding area, items like nearby houses, trees and any other hazards that could be encountered on the approach or departure routes.
Planning well in advance is always key to success and also having a Plan B is essential.
Thankfully Thursday was a beautiful day for flying and our passengers would have had a wonderful view of the UK as their flight unfurled. But if the conditions had been poor, our back up plan would have had to swing into action.
Fuel for the Mind and Body
With a trip like this having such a strict schedule, you have to consider nourishment for both passengers and crew. With Atlas this is always part of the cost and not an extra.
When we picked the party up at Elstree we brought bacon and bean turnovers and breakfast boxes which included flapjacks, orange juice, water (sparkling and still).
Our Operations Team also arranged a selection of snack boxes for the whole flight which included: cashew nuts, ginger bread loaf, habas tapas, cheddar gorge, fresh fruit soft drinks and water.
For lunch, our local Bakers at Stubbington Green, Stubbington, were amazing in supplying us with sandwich and roll platters, with a mixture of fillings. They also supplied the bacon and bean turnovers.
The Versatility of the Helicopter
Normally for a trip like this we are in constant contact with the pilot but this is the first time we’ve been able to follow a flight so closely using social media.
David Walliams and his team were sending out pictures at every school and it was interesting to watch the day unfold and to see so many happy children.
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) March 5, 2015
As you can see, chartering a helicopter is an ideal way of visiting multiple sites in one day. With good planning and attention to detail you can cover a lot of ground and meet many people.