Helpful tips on chartering a helicopter
Chartering a helicopter is not an everyday task for most people, this post will help you to better understand the process of getting up in the air with a helicopter. Below is a list of questions you should ask any helicopter operator.
- Where are you going?
Always have your flight plan written down to pass on to a helicopter company so they can better quote you on a flight. ie; where and when you want to go, how long you may be on the ground if doing a return trip, etc…
- When and where does the helicopter tour depart?
Be sure to know when and where the tour leaves and how early to get there to check in to avoid missing it and forfeiting your deposit or fee.
- Will you cancel the flight in the event of bad weather?
Heavy rain, snow, wind, and thick clouds can all affect the pilot’s ability to fly the helicopter safely. Ask under what circumstances the tour might be canceled and what the policy is in terms of rescheduling or getting a refund.
- How should I dress for the helicopter flight?
Wear seasonally appropriate clothing, dress in layers, and wear comfortable, secure shoes for your tour. If your going to be flying to a higher altitude it might pay to take warmer clothing. Avoid loose hair and jewelry.
- What should I bring with me on the flight?
You will probably want to bring a camera or video camera, but you should not have loose items such as hats, a purse or backpack, or anything that could get in the way or interfere with the operation of the aircraft. Ask about weight limits for the flight and any specific restrictions.
- What type of helicopter will be used for the trip?
Ask about the model of the helicopter, how long it has been in service, and the safety record for the aircraft.Single Engine Helicopters
Single engine helicopters are less expensive to charter and are ideal for short trips, such as goods transfers and short private trips.Twin Engine Helicopters
Twin engine helicopters often have more interior space, have a faster ground speed, and more stability. They’re perfect for corporate, night (VFR), or VIP trips.
- How much experience does the pilot have?
Pilots should have several years of training and flying experience so that they can safely operate the helicopter for the tour.
- Last but not least, how much will it cost?
Always ask for a quote when chartering a helicopter, this will give you a good guide to how much it will most likely cost to charter the helicopter for your requirements and alleviate any nasty surprises later on.
- You will not want to be in a helicopter for 10 hours. The helicopter is not designed for long distance travelling and is not comfortable for flights more than three consecutive hours long.
- Expect to pay a cancellation fee if you cancel less than 36 hours ahead. Most business are well scheduled and cancellations can cost a company nearly the entire cost of the flight.
- During the landing, don’t talk. The pilot is using all of the available information to land and will be talking to control towers, other aircraft or ground personal.
- The pilot is in command. He or she is interested in one thing; a safe return.
- Get a landowner’s permission before departing if you can. Noise is rarely an issue, unless you are taking more than one flight a week from the same location.
- Helicopters can fly about 2.5 to 3 hours in the air before refuelling. The average speed is about 100 mph (160 km/h). That means 200 miles (320 km) is a good maximum distance you would want to travel. Exceptions can always be made such as refueling stops etc.
- Do not walk behind the helicopter. Most ground accidents are caused by walking at the back of the helicopter. Always listen to the pilot, loadmaster or ground crew around a helicopter for you safety.
- If you need to extend or lengthen your flight, it will cause people behind you to be late or miss flights. Please be considerate and consider a return flight if someone is scheduled after you.
Always talk a the company and ask if there are any special conditions or policies. Flying in a helicopter has lot’s of benefits over fixed wing aircraft such as not requiring a long airstrip to land.