POKHARA, June 22 : Heli Air, Nepal is launching a gyrocopter, a one-passenger rotary-wing aircraft, for the first time in the skies of Pokhara, adding a new adventure tourism product in the lake city.
Gyrocopter is the hybrid of helicopter and an aeroplane. According to the gyrocopter manufacturer website, it can be flown in strong winds and weather conditions and can practically be used round the year.
It is a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust.
Although a gyrocopter can’t take off vertically like a helicopter, it can land—depending on wind speed—within a distance of zero to 30 meters and can deal with strong winds and turbulence in mountainous areas.
The company said that it expects to launch commercial service next week. Ronan Lamichhane, manager of the company, said that the gyrocopter introduced in Nepal for the first time is manufactured in France.
The two-seater aircraft would be the first launch in South Asia, the company claimed.
Heli Air has already bought two such aircraft and another one is on the way. The aircraft will be used for sightseeing.
Lamichhane said that the aircraft is targeted for Kaski district.
“However, we will try to serve other tourist destinations after getting operation authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.”
Tourists can also take photographs and videos as they get a 360-degree view from the aircraft.
Deepak Adhikari, president of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal Pokhara chapter, said, “We believe the aircraft to be safe as it can fly in any season. Moreover, it will be a new adventure tourism product.”