Helicopter tours are incredibly popular among tourists. You can find helicopter tours in some of the most desirable tourist destinations, and they’re a great way to sightsee and have an adventure while you’re at it.
Sometimes people have concerns about these tours, however, and with that in mind, the following are some of the key things you should know.
Reasons to Take a Helicopter Tour
A helicopter tour is a great way to see some of the best features any destination has to offer and have a thrill too. Helicopter tours undoubtedly give you the best views of wherever you are, and you can see things from a perspective that’s completely different from being on the ground.
You get a birds-eye view of the attractions and natural landmarks. You can also relax and sit back in a comfortable seat during the tour, without worrying about travel or other annoyances you probably don’t want to deal with when you’re traveling.
If you want to plan something special or memorable, particularly to celebrate a milestone or event like a birthday or anniversary, helicopter tours are an out-of-the-ordinary way to do that. It makes a wonderful experience gift.
The memories you create on this kind of air-based tour are unlike anything else.
If you’re thinking about a helicopter tour, there are a few logistics to consider.
First, dress for the weather. Keep in mind that if you’re going during the colder weather months, the temperature will drop even more at a higher altitude. You should also bring a pair of sunglasses.
When you’re choosing clothes for your tour, don’t bring any accessories that could blow away like scarves or hats, and wear closed-toe, flat shoes.
If you dress in darker colors, it can help you get better pictures because lighter clothes will reflect off the glass.
When you pick mid-morning or early afternoon hours, you’ll often get the best views and photos because any residual fog will have cleared by this time, and the sun’s rays won’t be at their strongest.
You can choose varying lengths of time for your tour, depending on the operating company and your preferences and budget. Some are as short as 15 minutes, while others can last several hours.
There may be weight restrictions, so check these before booking if it’s a concern.
When you book a tour, you should ask the operating company how the seats face. If all the seats face forward, this tends to be best, so everyone gets the optimal view. If anyone in your group deals with motion sickness, having all the seats face forward is also ideal.
When you board a helicopter, you’ll be shown where to sit to maintain the correct weight and balance.
Are Helicopter Tours Safe?
Helicopter tours can generally be a very safe type of transportation. The most significant determining factor in this, however, is the skill of the pilot, as well as how well the tour company maintains the helicopters. You should check the reviews, service records, and any other relevant information before you book anything.
You can also contact any companies you’re considering with additional questions. Don’t feel like it’s silly or overkill—they want you to feel safe, and if the company seems like they’re not interested in answering questions, that’s a red flag in and of itself.
Don’t necessarily choose the helicopter tour company that’s the cheapest or that gives you freebies. Safety needs to be your top priority when you compare companies.
Safety should be any tour operator’s number one priority above anything else, but of course, they want you to have fun too. Both are possible, with a good company.
Helicopter transportation has a good safety record, and it’s better than the record for small private planes. That’s why when events involving helicopters do happen, it’s such a big news story—it’s rare.
In recent years, the industry has been working to be even safer.
The fatal accident rate for all helicopters in the U.S. was 0.72 per 100,000 flight hours, according to the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team.
To compare, the fatal accident rate for general aviation, which includes small private planes and noncommercial flights, was 1.029 accidents per 100,000 flight hours.
When talking to operators, ask them how long the helicopter you’d be flying in has been in service for and what the aircraft’s safety record is. You should also ask about the pilot’s experience and any accreditations and certifications the company might have.
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