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New SEAT Arona compact SUV takes flight in Barcelona

Written by: Neil

‘How do you hang a car from a helicopter?’ It’s not a question we’ve asked ourselves very often in the Petrol News office, but it’s one that SEAT has kindly taken upon themselves to answer with the reveal of their new Arona compact SUV.

The car that will rival the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur from October was dangled 300 metres over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Barcelona, reaching speeds of 40 knots (or 50mph to us petrolheads).

In terms of sights, the spectacle served as something different for Barcelona’s beachgoers as the crossover SEAT was paraded mid-air for the best part of an hour.

But how does one go about doing something like this?

First, the car stands on a custom-built, H-shaped platform, SEAT explains. The pilot takes off unladen before dropping the cable that attaches the platform with the Arona to the cockpit. A technician connects both anchoring systems and the car begins to rise, hanging 20 metres below the helicopter.

When the car reaches seven metres off the ground, a silk cover is removed and it is then whisked off by a specially trained pilot with 15 years’ experience in reaching hard-to-reach places and dealing with windy conditions.  

To achieve a smooth flight with the car perfectly stable, SEAT technicians and engineers studied the weight of the model to ensure it would balance against the helicopter, and for safety reasons, this kind of hanging cargo flight can only be carried out over the sea.

The car received a more conventional unveiling days earlier and will be next seen in public with all four tyres firmly on the ground at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, reacted to the high-flying stunt by saying: "SEAT really knows how to draw attention to its new models and we’re confident the Arona itself is just as proficient on the road as it is in the air.”

In other SEAT SUV news, the Spanish carmaker recently invited the public to name its next model. More on that here.

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