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Corporate high flyers make chopper chorus

THE corporate world is still open for business and some people can still afford to drop into the Ryder Cup by helicopter.

A regular background noise this week has been the sound of choppers revving up and taking off from Celtic Manor.

Aer Lingus pilot Shay Pardy is at the centre of flight operations.

He has extensive experience in running the helicopter operation for the Galway Races and also the Ryder Cup at The K Club.

The international banking and stock market problems have reduced the numbers but the choppers kept flying all week despite the bad weather.

"Twenty-two of us came over from Ireland for the week, but we've been involved in the planning of this for approximately 14 months," explained Pardy.

"We have been operating as normal today. The helicopters were landing and people were taken to one of the Lodges to wait until the course opened.

"There's not the same intensity of movements that we had at The K Club but there are significantly bigger helicopters here."

The helicopter operation four years ago was immense, with the sky at times resembling the film 'Apocalypse Now' such was the landing and take-off traffic, with over 3,000 movements in that Ryder Cup week.

"We haven't got the figures for here yet, but they will be significantly smaller than The K Club," said Pardy.

Irish Independent