Helicopter cockpit view of Colombo

westColombo harbour and the supreme court complex images below taken from the front seat of a Bell (something) helicopter. A nice change from the usual Google Earth posts.

The image below shows the harbour and the fort area – taken from the north east facing west.
Colombo harbour and the fort area - taken from the north east facing

The image below shows the supreme court complex in the foreground. The harbour and downtown area in the back.
Colombo from a helicopter - Sri Lanka supreme court complex in the foreground. The harbour and downtown area in the back

The perceptive among you might notice that there’s something missing from these images. Like the World Trade Centre towers by the Bank of Ceylon “cylinder”. The fact is that these pictures are old (note I didn’t say “very”). Definitely late 20th century – if you can estimate the time frame from the pictures you know where the comment box is. I won’t age myself further other than to say that I was a kid when I took these pictures from a hastily borrowed Pentax. Flying in a helicopter is definitely a highlight of any child’s life. I’m no acceptation.

We had taken off from Ratmalana airfield and covered Colombo and later Koggalla air field that day. There was a picture of me with a humiliating haircut standing in-front of the chopper with the pilot (an ex- SLAF guy with the coolest sun-glass in the universe). Even if I find it there’s no way in hell its going to end up on the web 🙂

Through the looking glass has some more recent (2007?) aerial shots of Colombo.

Click on the images above to access the landmarks I’ve identified on the pictures using Flickr’s note feature. I welcome any additions you want to make.


13 thoughts on “Helicopter cockpit view of Colombo

  1. There is an excellent ariel picture of the Fort in the National Geographic feature on Sri Lanka in the a 1981 issue. It looks really pretty, it was taken around 1980 or 1979 and shows the port Chithya partyly constructed and none of the hotels – just rolling greens.

    There are some super pictures in the National Geographic feature on Ceylon dating from 1967 as well and there was another feature in a few years ago.

    I had all the copies with me but they seem to have disappeared. If anyone else has them I would like to get the features scanned.


  2. Nirmal: I think the few civilian helicopter pilots in Sri Lanka at the time were all ex-military. Most also taught at a flying school in Ratmalana. I was told that the school attracted lots of foreign students because of the low cost. No idea how accurate all that is though..

    I faintly recall him saying something about how the airforce was constantly blocked by the government from providing air support to Police stations that were under attack in the north during the 80s.

    Yet he seemed quite relaxed and very chilled out guy. Even did a bit of coconut tree top flying on the way back from Koggala 😀


  3. jack No rush – enjoy the holiday 😀 If you can remember the photographer or the article date you might be able to find a link to it online.

    Also be careful about scanning and putting it online – there might be copyright issues.


  4. Rajarata: I think the building you are referring to is part of the supreme courts complex. I got a couple of notes on Flickr marking various buildings. Mark out the one’s you are curious about 🙂

    Planet Apex: It came through an odd trip that a relative had to do for work (details too personal). Hope you get a chance to ride in one someday.


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