Helicopter tours beckon adventure seekers and curious minds to take to the skies and soak in the vistas from a bird’s eye view. Over recent years, the charm of helicopter tours has seen a significant uptick among tourists and locals alike, especially within the diverse and expansive terrains of the United States. These tours blend the excitement of flight with the allure of sightseeing, making them a unique choice for those looking to add a dash of adventure to their travel plans.
Understanding Helicopter Tours
Helicopter tours are structured aerial expeditions that provide a panoramic view of the world below. Their soaring popularity in the US is no surprise, given the plethora of breathtaking landscapes and iconic landmarks the country boasts. These tours offer a chance to rise above the ordinary and witness the extraordinary from a vantage point that few other experiences can provide.
Benefits of Helicopter Tours
Unobstructed Aerial Views: Helicopter tours provide a clear, unobstructed view from above, devoid of the usual hindrances encountered during ground-level sightseeing.
Quick and Expansive Sightseeing: These tours allow for covering vast areas in a short period, making them an ideal choice for those with time constraints.
The appeal of transcending the bustling streets and crowded tourist spots to enjoy an unhurried and serene view from above is unparalleled. It’s like having a canvas of the world below, painted in real-time, offering a new perspective to familiar places.
Types of Helicopter Tours
The variety in helicopter tours caters to different tastes and preferences. There’s something for the city lover, the nature enthusiast, and the adrenaline junkie.
Popular Spots: Cityscapes, landmarks, and coastlines often form the nucleus of sightseeing tours. For instance:
The towering skyscrapers of the New York City skyline
The rugged, ancient formations of the Grand Canyon
The tranquil and lush scenery of the Hawaiian islands
Unforgettable Experiences: The ascent above bustling cities or the gentle hover over serene natural landscapes provides a unique, unforgettable experience.
Engaging Experiences: Adventure tours often venture into rugged terrains, offering a blend of thrill and natural beauty. Examples include:
Alaskan glacier tours provide a surreal experience of landing on ancient ice.
Volcano tours in Hawaii bring you face to face with the fiery temperament of the earth.
Thrills and Chills: The adrenaline rush accompanying the flight over active volcanoes or a glacier landing is a story worth telling.
Private Sightseeing Tours
Exclusive Tours: Private tours offer a more personalized, intimate experience, providing exclusive views over glittering cities like Las Vegas or serene private beach tours in Florida.
Tailored Experiences: The ability to customize the route and enjoy a personalized commentary adds a touch of luxury to the experience.
Outdoor Activity Tours
Combining Aerial Sightseeing with Outdoor Activities: Imagine starting your hike with a helicopter ride to a remote trailhead in the Rockies or flying to untouched snow in Alaska for an epic heli-skiing adventure.
Fusing aerial sightseeing with outdoor activities creates a multi-dimensional adventure, elevating the experience to a new level.
Helicopter Tour Experiences
The allure of a helicopter tour is often intertwined with the type of helicopter, the duration of the tour, and the unique offerings of each flight.
Open-door vs. Closed-door Helicopters
Experience: Open-door helicopters provide a more immersive, albeit daring, experience, while closed-door helicopters offer a calmer, secure environment.
Safety Considerations: A thorough understanding of safety protocols is crucial, irrespective of the choice of tour.
Duration of Tours
Variety: The duration of tours varies greatly, from a brisk 15-minute overview to an extensive several-hour exploration.
Choosing the Right Duration: The duration hinges on personal comfort, the level of interest in the area, and the budget.
Types of Helicopters Used
Comfort and Safety: The choice of helicopters for tours is dictated by factors like passenger comfort, maneuverability, and safety.
Popular Choices: Helicopters like the Airbus H130 and Bell 407 are often favored by tour operators due to their spacious interiors and large windows that offer expansive views.
Pricing and Packages
The pricing spectrum of helicopter tours is as varied as the tours themselves, influenced by multiple factors, including the type of tour, the duration, and the type of helicopter used.
Factors Influencing Pricing
Duration: The tour length is a significant factor in pricing, with longer tours incurring higher costs.
Type of Helicopter: Luxury helicopters with plush interiors and larger viewing windows often command a higher price.
Bundled Offers: Some packages merge helicopter tours with other tourist activities, providing a wholesome adventure.
Examples: A Grand Canyon tour package might include a helicopter ride, a boat trip on the Colorado River, and a walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, providing a multi-faceted experience.
Ease of Booking: Platforms like TripAdvisor and Viator simplify comparing and booking helicopter tours.
Reviews and Ratings: Access to reviews and ratings helps make an informed decision, ensuring the chosen tour meets expectations.
Preparing for a Helicopter Tour
Preparation is key to fully enjoying the helicopter tour experience. Knowing what to wear, what to bring, and understanding safety precautions are critical steps in the preparation process.
What to Wear
Appropriate Clothing: Dressing comfortably and according to the weather conditions is crucial.
Footwear: Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are often recommended to ensure safety and comfort.
What to Bring
Cameras and Binoculars: Equip yourself with a good camera and binoculars to capture the breathtaking vistas and observe distant details.
Sunscreen and Sunglasses: These essentials are crucial for protection against the sun, especially in open-door helicopters.
Briefings: Safety briefings provide crucial information on the do’s and don’ts during the tour.
Adherence: Strict adherence to safety instructions ensures a safe and enjoyable tour.
Helicopter tours unravel a world of aerial adventures waiting to be explored. The variety of tours available across the US caters to a broad spectrum of interests, promising an experience filled with breathtaking views and unforgettable memories. As the rotor blades whirl and the landscape unfolds below, each helicopter tour embarks on a journey of discovery, offering a unique narrative of the world below.