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First helicopter tour – advice on how to prepare, what to expect

Flying in a helicopter is a thrilling experience, and everyone must try it at least once in their lifetime. 

However, some people find it a little overwhelming, especially when it is their first time onboard a helicopter. 

After speaking to a lot of people who have been on multiple tours, we have come up with a list of tips on how you can enjoy your first helicopter tour.

Focus on reducing your anxiety

You can start the day of your helicopter tour with some deep breathing and meditation. 

Visualizing what the flight experience will be like also helps – watching a few videos can help you visualize better. 

If you have booked the helicopter tour with a partner, talk to them about it.

There is no harm in consulting your doctor and get some anti-anxiety medication to help you during the flight. 

Trust the Pilot and the helicopter

Helicopter tour pilot
Helicopter tour pilots are always trying to make the passengers comfortable. Image: Helitransair.com

You don’t need to be nervous about flying, for it is one of the safest forms of travel – much safer than car travel.

Car accidents outnumber flying accidents by a huge margin every year. 

The Pilot

Helicopter pilots are highly trained professionals with many hours of helicopter flying experience. 

They have flown the same helicopter, many times in the same route, in a variety of weather conditions. 

The helicopter

If you land up at the airport early, you can see that every helicopter undergoes a battery of tests before every flight. 

After the helicopter is refueled, helicopter maintenance engineers go through their protocol of checks to see if it is airworthy, and only after their approval does the helicopter take off. 

Always listen to the Pilot

Before the helicopter takes off, the Pilot will give you a safety briefing. Listen to every word he/she says. 

When the Pilot points out where they have kept the first aid kit, and the life jackets, make a note of it. 

Since seats are assigned based on the weight of every passenger (to balance the helicopter), you must sit in your assigned seat.

*If you think you will get nauseated during the chopper tour, request the Pilot for a middle seat. There is no guarantee, but if their weight calculations allow for it, you can get lucky. 

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Be aware of in-flight safety measures

For the safety of the passengers, helicopters have many in-flight safety measures built-in.

To ensure passengers don’t get tossed around when the helicopters swoop and serve, they must wear seatbelts all through the flight. 

Everybody also gets noise-canceling headphones to keep the noise of the helicopter away and also to communicate with the Pilot. 

The chopper also has fire extinguishers for use in case of fire.

All helicopters also have life jackets for use during a water landing and emergency kits, which contain ropes, knives, flares, and other emergency equipment.

Pilot’s safety briefing

The helicopter tour pilot’s safety briefing usually revolves around these topics –

Pilot's safety briefing
Image: Flywaze.co

Getting in and out of the chopper

It is important to follow the safety regulations even while getting in and out of the tour helicopter.

Being aware of how to approach and leave a helicopter becomes even more important if your tour includes a landing, for a hike, a picnic, or for just some photographs.

Dress up in your most comfortable clothes

During your helicopter tour dress up in layers because it stay comfortable during both summer and winter.

During summer, it can get a little colder (especially if it is a doors-off helicopter) once you gain altitude. 

Wear sneakers or shoes instead of sandals and flipflops.

Hats and lose hair are a strict no.

Don’t panic during turbulence

Most of your helicopter ride is going to be smooth. 

However, during take-off and landing, it is normal to have some turbulence.

Some first-timers start panicking during taking off and then don’t enjoy their trip at all. 

The trick is in knowing that take off turbulence is normal, and the moment the helicopter gains altitude, the ride will be smooth again. 

This video is about turbulence in airplanes, but the same principles apply to helicopters as well. All you need to do is sit tight and enjoy.

See available helicopter tours & read reviews

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