Adrenaline is the hormone responsible for extreme emotions. Situations that involve danger, threat and excitement. A hormone that is also released in plenty when you so much as glance at the Lamborghini Huracan EVO AWD. It is incredible, the rush of emotions you feel when you look at it, especially in Giallo Belenus (even ‘Yellow’ sounds cool in Italian). It looks fast even when it is stationary and it is by far the most exciting way to get around. Or is it?
You see adrenaline is also released when the body is prepared for flight. The miracle of flight is something that always gets us giddy and excited, no matter how often you have been on board. However, what isn’t an everyday affair (unless you are a billionaire or Sylvester Stallone) is getting on board a chopper. Have the two together and you are all set for an adrenaline overdose. Well, what do you think happened?
It was a Friday and while the city was gearing up for yet another weekender that would end up in a bad hangover, we decided to get our fix with something ludicrous. A drive with the Lamborghini Huracan EVO up to the fantastic Hilton Shillim Retreat and because we did not want to come back the same way, we got in touch with ‘Blade India’ to see if they can get us seats on their charter helicopter services. Now, just a little background, Blade India is basically an aviation company that offers helicopter services between set locations. Thankfully, Hilton Shillim is one of those. They have their helipad within walking distance and the 2-hour journey by car takes just 30 mins by the chopper.
Now you might be thinking, renting a helicopter is pretty steep, even if you have a Lamborghini, but the beauty of Blade is that you need not rent the whole chopper. You can book your individual seat and pay a fraction of what it would cost for the entire cabin. You can make your bookings on www.aviatorsbuzz.com.
Now, the chopper was set to land at the helipad by 11 am and we fired up the 5.2-litre V10 in Mumbai at 9 am. That might seem like it is enough time, and if you are in an SUV it is. But, navigating bad roads and peak hour traffic in a low-slung Italian exotic is wholly another ball game.
But we had our work cut out because, like time and tide, helicopters too wait for nobody. Accompanying us was Captain Rishabh Kapur who has flown the Airbus 320 for over a decade and is now flying the globetrotting Boeing 787 with a leading airline. We are always happy for aviation enthusiasts to join us for such reviews on www.aviatorsbuzz.com and it was great to have him on board with us. It was on flight schedule so the timing was crucial.
With sweaty palms and a lot of blue language at the traffic, we made it out of the chaos and on to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Possibly the only stretch where you can take the Huracan up to its redline, release 630bhp and make those adrenaline glands pump. The V10 scream is a prominent reminder of how EVs can never be as emotive and desirable. To those who were trying to nap in the Shivneri’s – we are sorry. The tunnels rumbled each time I flexed my right foot and the traffic parted ways seeing the yellow rocket in their rear-view. In no time we were in Lonavala and onto the B-road that connects to the Hilton, of course we took turns and it’s not easy to ask Ramesh to leave the steering wheel. Now, that meant the Huracan would need to be at crawling speed and as I approached, I could hear the rumble in the sky, as we pulled up to the helipad, a cloud of dust masked everything in sight and as it cleared away, there it was in all its glory – Blade’s Airbus ACH130.
Painted in black with subtle but elegant gold striping, it definitely stands out from your average white chopper. To be honest, the drive to Hilton was so exhilarating, that we genuinely thought of skipping the air travel, but watching the rotor slow down changed our mind. The massive blades, the tail rotor, the sleek design, makes the ACH130 far more modern than the helicopters I was used to seeing. It is premium and just like the Lamborghini, it looks fast even while stationary.
Performance too is strong by helicopter standards. It generates 952 SHP (shaft horsepower) at take-off through its Arriel 2D engine and you have a healthy range of 606km at a cruising speed of 237kph. Some crazy numbers include fuel consumption which is between 3 and 3.5 litres per minute. On a full tank, the ACH130 will keep you on air for roughly 4 hours with 540-litre tank capacity However, the cost of aviation fuel in comparison to the petrol that goes in the Huracan is shockingly low. There is plenty of tech as well with a shrouded tail rotor and auto-variable speed, active vibration control system, advanced environmental control, energy-absorbing seats and integration of a crash-resistant fuel system. While the Lambo is fast and it might even beat the chopper in an outright race, you simply cannot beat the thrill of flying.
As the captain readied the ACH130 for its short 30 min stint to a helipad in Juhu, we prepared ourselves for a myriad of formalities. However, to my surprise, all you need to get on board is your ticket and a boarding pass which is in the form of a slap-band on the wrist. Now that is as modern as it gets. Once you are seated inside, it is a unique experience, the seats while slim, are comfortable and because this is a VIP and passenger helicopter, you have all the necessary amenities. The BOSE headsets keep you connected and devoid of wind noise, there is also an iPad for in-flight entertainment should you get bored of the fantastic views outside and the tinted glass along with the breezing AC makes for a comfy cabin. Nothing to complain about here. Watching the Lambo disappear in a cloud of dust kicked by the H130 was gut-wrenching, but knowing that we could reach 15 mins from my house more than made up for it. We hovered over the majestic mountains and lakes and flying at almost 3000m whilst overlooking valleys and the city is almost therapeutic. In no time, the lush green forests beneath me were transformed into the concrete jungle that is Mumbai and before I knew it, I was back on earth. As I made my way out I glanced at the ACH130 again and realised what Blade aims for.
Convenience, experience and luxury. It is not just for those who value time, but also for those, who want to make precious memories and we sure made many. Never in our wildest dreams had we thought we’ll have to choose between a Chopper and a Lamborghini, thankfully we were fortunate enough to experience both, the adrenalin pumping drive as well as the Miracle Of Flight!
Watch the full video here!