Being able to fly tours is one of the most fun parts of my job. I love sharing the Twin Cities with people from the air. Part of my job is making sure that your tour is as safe and enjoyable as possible, and a big part of that is making sure the weather cooperates for us to enjoy the flight.
There are several things that we want to avoid when flying our tour. The first is rain. Rain reduces our visibility and is hard on the aircraft, so we try to avoid it whenever we can. Another obvious hindrance to our flying is the presence of thunderstorms. The intense winds, lightning, hail, and rain are all things we want to avoid. Thunderstorms don’t always mean a tour needs to be cancelled, though. Oftentimes, a thunderstorm can roll through, and a postponement of just an hour or even 30 minutes will bring better weather.
Just because it’s a cloudy day doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t fly, either. Oftentimes, the skies are overcast, but the cloud ceilings are high and won’t impact us at all. If the cloud ceilings are low and fog persists however, this will prevent us from flying. Low visibility is not only difficult for safe flying, it’s also no fun when you can’t see what is in front of you.
One of the most common questions I get is how will the wind affect the tour. The answer, surprisingly, is not a whole lot. Even on relatively gusty days, the R44 is designed to absorb and handle bumps and turbulence very well. Oftentimes, people forget there is any wind at all. On rare occasions, high winds will persist and will prevent us from flying.
It’s also not just warm weather that is good for flying. We fly in the winter too! Taking a tour in the wintertime is a completely different and beautiful experience. And don’t worry about the cold—our helicopters actually perform better in the winter than in the summer. And the cabin will be kept nice and warm with the onboard heating system.
Of course, if any of the above adverse weather conditions exist at the time of your scheduled tour and we are forced to cancel the flight, we are happy to work with you to reschedule the flight to a time when there is better weather. Though the weather is completely out of our control, we will do our best to accommodate you and make your tour an event to remember.
See you in the skies!
Flight Instructor, MN Helicopters