So you have decided to book a helicopter tour of the Twin Cities area—great choice! There are several decisions that are up to you, such as when you would like to fly, what time of day you would like to fly, and what you would like to see on your flight. With all these options, we can accommodate almost any request.
By far, the most popular tour is the twin cities tour, and with good reason. This 30 min tour takes you up close to both the Minneapolis and St. Paul skylines and offers breathtaking views!
What is a Temporary Flight Restriction?
One thing to consider when booking a tour that involves Minneapolis is what professional sporting events are going on that day. Any Twins, Vikings, or Gopher football games that are home and in the city will trigger what we call in aviation a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR).
Temporary Flight Restrictions started being used for sporting events after 9/11 for the increased safety of all those people gathered in one place. In fact, next time you find yourself at one of these events, you can feel at ease knowing the authorities are watching the skies above you.
The TFRs for these sporting events often stretch three miles wide and up to 3,000 feet above the ground. They often last from several hours before the game to several hours after, and prohibit us from flying anywhere near the Minneapolis skyline. Often, only emergency medical personnel and law enforcement are allowed to fly through the restriction under close supervision.
So How Will This Affect Your Tour?
Well, if you booked a tour for a time during one of these restrictions, we won’t be able to fly around Minneapolis. By all means we can fly and see other cool locations in the area, but unfortunately, the city will not be one of them.
If you are thinking of booking a tour and you would like to see Minneapolis, check the game schedules online beforehand, and pick a day when the teams are playing an away game. Or, for example, if there is an evening game, schedule a tour with us for that morning to ensure we can see the city.
What Else Causes a TFR?
Did you know sporting events aren’t the only things that trigger a TFR? Events like natural disasters, VIP movement, mining blasts, space shuttle launches, and the President all create a Temporary Flight Restriction that prohibits aircraft from flying in that area for a specified period of time. In fact, the President always has a temporary flight restriction around them, wherever they go.
All of this information is to ensure that you get what you want out of your helicopter tour. With just a little bit of planning, we can make whatever occasion very special for you!
See you in the skies!
Flight Instructor, MN Helicopters