One part of this job that I absolutely love is getting to fly people on tours of the area. I fly people who are visiting, locals who have been here their entire life, and nearly every walk of life in between. Often times this is someone’s first interaction with a helicopter. Some people are excited, some people are a bit nervous, and lots of people have questions on what they can expect once on board the helicopter. I would like to take this opportunity to explain a little bit about how the experience will unfold.
Upon arriving and meeting your pilot, there is just a few important items to cover before taking to the skies. At MN Helicopters we fly the Robinson R44 for our tours, one of the most common and recognizable aircraft on the market. We can take up to 3 people at one time and we may configure you based on weight. Don’t worry though, there is not a bad seat in the house! The R44 helicopter is known for its excellent visibility and sight lines. The seat belts work just like those on a commercial airplane, and are very easy to operate. Just click in to buckle, and lift all the way up on the tab to release. Once we get running each passenger will have noise canceling headphones that will allow you to talk comfortably to each other and the pilot, while minimizing noise from the aircraft. Feel free to talk to each other, and talk to the pilot. Don’t worry—no one can hear you! While the pilot may be busy talking to air traffic control and you can hear other aircraft talking, everything you say stays in the helicopter.
One of the most common questions I get is if the ride will be turbulent. You can actually expect the ride to be very smooth. Even in high winds, helicopters are designed to handle the air very well, and the experience is much different than it would be in a small airplane. In fact, the comment I hear most after flying, second to “that was amazing,” is “the ride was much smoother than anticipated.” The ride will also be comfortable because we can control the temperature. On hot summer days we can keep the cabin cool with air conditioning, and on cold winter days we keep the cabin nice and warm with the onboard heating system.
Unlike commercial aviation, using your cell phone onboard the helicopter is actually encouraged! Take as many pictures and videos as you wish, you won’t want to miss capturing the beauty of the downtown buildings or local nature. In fact, unlike an airplane we are able to fly safely much lower than an airplane can. Usually we cruise at around 1,000 feet above the ground. From this altitude, the views will be spectacular.
For those that come excited, they never leave disappointed. For those who come a little bit nervous, they always leave with a smile on their face. So what are you waiting for? Book your scenic helicopter tour today for an experience you will never forget! I look forward to seeing you.
See you in the skies!
Flight Instructor, MN Helicopters