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Helicopter tours FAQs

We understand that before booking a helicopter tour you are bound to have lots of questions.

We list them below and answer them as well –

What are helicopter tours?

Helicopter tours are short flights, lasting between 7 minutes to 35 minutes (sometimes more!), to see cities, tourist attractions, wildlife, or mountains from the top.

This bird’s eye experience is an opportunity to enjoy the thrill of your life and hence is only for the adventurous.

Sometimes these helicopter trips include a landing, in the middle of a desert, winery, snow, etc.

How long do helicopter tours last?

Different kinds of helicopter tours have different durations. The shortest tours are 7 minutes long, where you take off, see a city from the top and get back down.

In bigger cities such as New York, Paris, London, etc. such aerial city sightseeing tours can also last 30 to 45 minutes.

Helicopter tours, which include a landing and a quick picnic, can last easily over two hours.

Are helicopter tours worth it?

Of course, helicopter tours are worth it.

When you are on board a helicopter, you can see the ground clearly and seem to float at a speed that is slow enough for you to enjoy the view.

Most of us have been on airplanes many times but never been on helicopters, and that is why one heli tour is a must.

All of the action scenes we have seen in movies and TV serials happen on helicopters. Wouldn’t you want to feel like James Bond for a day?

How safe are helicopter tours?

Helicopters tours are very safe, and that is why they are much in demand. But having said that, crashes do happen.

The fatality rate in helicopter crashes is 1.3 deaths per 100,000 flight hours, versus 1.4 deaths for passenger aircraft.

If you take a flight from one place to another, you can take a helicopter tour as well.

Can kids go on helicopter tours?

Yes, kids of all ages can accompany you on helicopter tours.

Usually, children aged three years or younger must be seated on the lap of an adult. Kids older than three years must buy a tour ticket and sit in their seats.

Helicopter tour with kids
Image: Travelingmom.com

What is the best time for a helicopter tour?

All the times are equally suitable for a heli tour and have their advantages and disadvantages.

Some tourists prefer to fly in the morning because it frees up the rest of the day for the next activity.

Others prefer helicopter tours during sunset, for the stunning visuals it offers.

Some others opt for night helicopter tours so that they get to see the city glittering.

Sunset helicopter tour in mountains
Image: Gc.tours

What happens to a helicopter tour on a bad weather day?

Before take-off, the pilot takes the final call taking into consideration three parameters – wind speed, visibility, and cloud height. There may be other variables as well, which help him/her decide.

If the tour gets canceled, the heli tour company leaves the decision to the tourists – they can either refund or accept another tour day.

Are helicopters safer than small planes?

We feel helicopters are much safer than smaller planes.

All helicopters can autorotate successfully to the ground in an emergency and land in a small area, but an airplane will need a runway.

A helicopter flies closer to the ground (between 500 ft and 1000 ft above the ground), and during an emergency, it can get to the ground faster.

Unlike smaller airplanes, helicopters are built for excellent maneuverability, because they get sent on dangerous missions.

What is better for touring – helicopter or small planes?

Helicopters are more agile and have a small turning radius, which makes them perfect for aerial viewing.

Since choppers can slow down and sometimes even hover, tourists get to pace their sightseeing, and also take great photos.

All of this isn’t possible with fixed‐wing airplanes.

What to wear for helicopter rides?

While dressing up for a helicopter tour, it is essential to wear weather-appropriate clothes.

In summer, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes so that you don’t get too must heat from the sun coming in through the helicopter windows. That’s why you must also wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

During the colder seasons, dress in layers because when you go up, the temperature drops further. It is better to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and bring along a jacket.

If it is too cold, bring along a coat, scarf, and gloves.

How many people sit in one helicopter?

Most of the tourist helicopters are either four-seaters or six-seaters, with one seat next to the pilot in the front.

All these seats offer excellent views.

How are the seats arranged in a helicopter?

Different choppers have different seating arrangements.

Four seater helicopters have two seats in the front row and two in the back, all facing forward. One of these seats is taken by the pilot.

Five seater helicopters usually have three seats in the second row.

Seven seater helicopters can have two configurations. 

They can have two seats in the front, two seats in the rear facing backward and three seats in the rear facing forward.

Or they can have three front seats and four back seats, all of them facing forward in a stadium style seating arrangement.

How are the passengers seated during the helicopter tour?

During a helicopter tour, the seating arrangement gets determined by the weights of individual passengers.

This optimum weight distribution helps the pilot keep the helicopter balanced during the flight.

That is why you are requested to provide weights of all the passengers while booking helicopter tour tickets.

What is the passenger weight limitation for helicopter tours?

The total weight per seat gets determined by the type of helicopter you will be flying.

For bigger helicopters, passengers may not exceed 159 Kgs (350 lbs), and for smaller helicopters, the limit is 113 Kgs (250 lbs).

When a tourist is above the weight limit, some chopper tour operators charge a fee for an additional comfort seat. This additional fee depends on the price of the tour you booked.

As per FAA regulations, all passengers and their carry-on items get weighed before take off.

Which is the best seat in a helicopter for photography?

Tourist helicopters are photograph friendly, and all window seats provide good visibility.

Having taken the tourists on umpteen number of tours, the pilots are also experts in selecting flight paths, which help passengers on both sides of the heli to same stunning views.

Some operators offer special flights just for professional photographers.

Can we pick the helicopter seat where we want to sit?

The seating in the helicopter gets determined by the weights of all passengers traveling in the bird.

You can request a specific seat, but if it doesn’t fit the pilot’s calculations of weight balance, you may not get it.

Do helicopter tours have onboard narration?

Some of the helicopters have an onboard narration, but it is not always guaranteed.

However, experienced pilots double up as guides, and you can ask them questions.

You will be advised not to disturb the pilot with questions during the take-off and landing phases of the tour.

Onboard narration on helicopter tours
Image: Baatraining.com

Can people with motion sickness go on helicopter tours?

Helicopters can change direction suddenly, and they also have a swooping motion, which can make some people sick — especially those who are prone to motion sickness.

However, there are three precautions you can take to have a good helicopter ride don’t book the trip on a rough weather day, take motion sickness medicine before the tour, sit in the front of the helicopter.

Can pregnant women go on helicopter tours?

Pregnant women must avoid helicopter tours during the first three months of pregnancy and after the 36th week.

Can pregnant women go on helicopter tours?

However, we highly recommend you consult your doctor before booking a helicopter tour.

Can people afraid of heights or closed spaces go on helicopter tours?

A heli tour is a beautiful experience, and everybody must go at least once in their lifetime.

But it is also essential that you take care of yourself and that is why we don’t recommend you going on a chopper if you are afraid of heights or closed spaces.

Can people who use wheelchairs go up on a chopper tour?

Yes, people with mobility issues can also go up on a helicopter tour.

Just that while booking your heli tour tickets, you need to mention this under the ‘Any special requests’ field.

The tour operator’s staff will help you get in and out of the helicopter and also handle your wheelchair when you are high up in the air.

Go ahead and book your helicopter tour.

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