The current state of the helicopter
The current state of the helicopter

Time for replacement: Aburi Gardens helicopter - Once an attraction, now disintegrating

The historic helicopter strategically abandoned at the Aburi Botanical Gardens (ABG) to attract and entertain tourists is now begging for replacement.


It follows the inability of the old chopper stationed at lawn four of the scenic gardens to keep its body parts together after serving beyond its retirement age. After 50 years of standing at the Aburi Gardens, the old helicopter has become a relic of the past; its deteriorating state making it a safety hazard and an eyesore in the otherwise beautiful and lush surroundings.

While it has inspired many young people to join the air force, its current condition no longer makes it a fitting tribute to the country's aviation history. Beyond the ugly state, its parts such as the tail boom, rudder and rotor mast, among others are gradually detaching from the main structure.

The cockpit and cabin are showing various signs of breakages and cracks, posing danger to tourists, particularly children, who may be tempted to climb or play on it, risking accidents and injuries.

GAF’s approval

Information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had already approved a request made by the ABG to replace the old helicopter. More than four years after approval, the chopper is still stationed at the Takoradi Air Force Base waiting to be transported to the Aburi Botanical Gardens.

Multiple sources at both GAF and ABG told the Daily Graphic that the delay in transporting the helicopter was due to the unavailability of funds.

Old chopper's history

The old helicopter was wheeled from the Air Force Base in Accra to the Aburi Botanical Gardens in 1974 during the era of Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, the military head of state of Ghana from January 1972 to July 1978.

It did not only serve as a playing ground for children but also inspired hundreds of young people in Aburi and its environs to join the Ghana Air Force. The Head of Lawn at the gardens, Emmanuel Quartey, who took the Daily Graphic team on a tour during a visit, explained that the helicopter was brought to the botanical gardens based on a request by the then Department of Parks and Gardens.

“And so, it did not crash at the present location but rather it was a helicopter which was not in use and a request was made to bring it into the gardens for exhibition purposes.” “But 50 years on, the helicopter does not look presentable anymore and so, we think it needs to be replaced,” he added.

Replacement request

The Curator (Manager) of ABG, Richard Fordson, who expressed worry about the deteriorating nature of the old helicopter, stated that his administration was following up on a replacement request.

“I cannot provide you much information on the replacement because it was done by my predecessor, but what I can say is that it is work in progress,” he said. He said the Aburi Botanical Gardens was the most visited tourist centre in the country in 2022.

He explained that during the period, the scenic gardens attracted 186,109 visitors to overtake the Kakum National Park which hosts the iconic canopy walkway. He added that the only competitor of the botanic gardens was the recently renovated Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.

Some tourists who interacted with the Daily Graphic during the visit expressed dissatisfaction with the weakening nature of the helicopter. One of them, Daniela Evans, said it was time to replace the old helicopter with a new one, not only to ensure the safety of visitors, but also to continue inspiring future generations with a modern and well-maintained exhibit.

Writer’s Email: [email protected]

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