Helicopter tour companies choose the helicopters they use very carefully, as a lot is riding on them.
These helicopters need to offer excellent performance so that they can swoop and dive over famous landmarks and navigate deftly over the landscape. They also need to provide comfort, so that guests can relax and enjoy themselves. The view offered to passengers is also very important – after all that is what the guest is paying for! Many tour helicopters have large windows and seating arrangements that allow guests to see as much as possible.
Here are a few of the helicopter models that are most commonly used by helicopter tour companies:
The A-Star is a helicopter that offers one of the best performances in its category. It is built in the USA and it can accommodate five or six passengers in its forward facing seats. This helicopter offers excellent manoeuvrability and it is commonly used by law enforcement agencies and air medical services. The 3-bladed rotor system makes for a smooth flight.
This helicopter is commonly used by tour companies around the world. For example, Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours in Hawaii uses A-Star Helicopters equipped with passenger microphones, noise-cancelling headsets and inside cameras.
The Eco Star is considered to be one of the safest and most comfortable tourism helicopters in the world. It is a very quiet machine thanks to the Fenestron Tail Rotor, so there will be much less flight noise during the tour itself. Also, the helicopter is designed with large wrap around windows to maximise the view.
The Ecostar also offers a 23% larger cabin than the common A-Star model. It can seat seven passengers, with raised “theatre style” seating in the rear for a better view.
The Bell 206 is a versatile and hardworking helicopter that is commonly used for firefighting, law enforcement and oil and gas rig support – as well as helicopter tours. It has a two bladed rotor system and an excellent suspension system that ensures it will deliver a smooth ride. Up to seven passengers can ride comfortably and the club seating set up allows for face to face conversations. Passengers will get excellent photo opportunities through the patented Vista View windows.
This state of the art helicopter has low skids for entry and exit as well as patented Vista View windows for exceptional photo opportunities. It is the ideal balance between performance, speed, comfort and manoeuvrability. This helicopter has a Rolls Royce turbine engine and the ability to cruise a 259km per hour.
The cabin is spacious and seats up to five passengers and the seating arrangement can be reconfigured to suit any situation. The Bell 427 is based on the 407 but it has a longer cabin and eight seating places.
The Robinson R44 is an ideal helicopter for tours, as it is known for smooth handling, reliability, safely and comfort. The spacious cockpit contains two rows of seats as well as one passenger seat next to the pilot. Every seat is a window seat and the cabin has an open design, which means that passengers will enjoy unobstructed views. The helicopter also has a two way intercom system that allows for communication between the passengers and the pilot.
This is a small helicopter that has seating for 3. It is lightweight and versatile and it can manoeuvre very smoothly through the air, dipping down so that passengers can get an up close glimpse of the famous landmarks. This helicopter’s ability to hover and land anywhere makes it ideal for accessing very remote terrain that cannot be reached in any other way.