Friday, 12 November 2010

11 Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour Tips

The Grand Canyon is epic in scale. It's 190 miles long, averages a mile deep, and encompasses 1,900 square miles. If you view it from the ground, you'll see 45 miles. From a helicopter, you'll see more than 140 miles. That's a threefold increase in how much canyon you can see in a day. Flying is the best way to enjoy this natural wonder to the max. Before you pull out the plastic and book an air tour, read my 11 need-to-know tips about helicopter tours. They'll ensure that your flight is smooth from start to finish.

#1 Book your tour in advance. Helicopter tours are insanely popular. Especially from Las Vegas, NV. Making advanced reservations guarantee that you fly on the day of your choice.

#2. Read the small print of your tour reservation cancellation policy prior to booking your flight.

#3. Know which rim you'll be visiting. West Rim or South Rim. These are the two rims that host all helicopter tours in the National Park. The West Rim is 120 miles east of Las Vegas. The South Rim is located in Arizona, just west of Flagstaff, AZ.

#4. Helicopter tours start at $200 per person.

#5. Try to fly during the morning, which gives you time to reschedule in the event there's bad weather.

#6. Bring cameras, binoculars, video cameras etc.

#7. Telephone or email your helicopter tour company when you arrive at your destination and confirm your reservation.

#8. Remember to get a picture of your group next to the helicopter and/or with your helicopter pilot.

#9. Don't spend the entire tour glued to your viewfinder. It's impossible to experience the "moment" and record/photograph every minute of it. Listen to the pilot for cues. What you missed en route you can get on the way back.

#10. Ask if your tour operator records your flight. This is a great way to supplement your own picture-taking efforts.

#11. Videos of the flight cost extra. They are not bundled into the price of your package.

Helicopters leaving from the Las Vegas area can reach the West Rim in 45 minutes. In addition to flying to the bottom (this is the only place where you can do it), you can include a float down the Colorado River on a pontoon boat or admission to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that extends 70 feet past the edge and lifts you 4,000 feet above the river. Top of the rim, check out the authentic Hualapai Indian Village. There's also a free shuttle service that stop at select viewpoints. Key landmarks include Eagle Point, Guano Point, and Hualapai Ranch.

South Rim helicopter tours depart from Grand Canyon Airport, located 10 minutes from the main Park entrance in the town of Tusayan. There are no direct helicopter flights from Las Vegas. To get there, you must take a short-hop airplane flight or a 5.5-hour bus ride then transfer to complete the helicopter portion of you package. Helicopter tours last 30 minutes and fly from the Kaibab Plateau into the Dragoon Corridor until reaching the North Rim before turning back. Aircraft are not allowed to fly below the rim or land on the bottom.

Travelers "in-the-know" understand that helicopters are the only way to see as much of the Grand Canyon as possible in a short amount of time. These 11 tips are useful before, during, and after you book a tour. Give them a quick review and I assure you that you'll experience the helicopter ride of a lifetime

1 comment:

  1. Wow. It's a great night view.

    Jeff @ Helicopter Trips - Lone Eagle Aviation Services