Everything You Need To Know Before Your First Sightseeing Helicopter Ride

Taking a sightseeing helicopter charter tour of a city when on vacation is a great way to spend your time and allows you to view the city from a new vantage point. There are plenty of things you should know, however, before arriving for your helicopter charter.

Is there a weight limit for helicopter tours?

While every charter company has its own set of rules, many prohibit passengers weighing over 250 to 300 pounds. A helicopter is a small aircraft and needs to be properly balanced for the pilot to be able to maneuver safely.

Furthermore, the pilot needs to ensure that the helicopter does not exceed its gross weight operating capacity, as doing so is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) violation. If you have someone in your party at or over that weight limit, call to talk to your charter company in advance to discuss options. 

Do helicopters fly in the rain?

Helicopters do fly in the rain, and you can still enjoy a bird's-eye view in inclement weather. Each pilot, however, reserves the right to cancel the flight due to the weather. Rain, snow, thunderstorms, and fog can all affect flying conditions and visibility   

What should you wear on a helicopter tour?

Wear comfortable clothing for your helicopter tour. This includes dressing in layers to avoid overheating in the small space. You should not wear dangling objects like scarves, hats, and jewelry. It is also advisable to wear long hair in a ponytail. 

Typically, a charter company will ask you to refrain from bringing a backpack or large purse on the helicopter as well. Most have a locker system to store your items until you return. 

Will you get motion sickness on a helicopter sightseeing charter?

The take-off and landing of a helicopter are very different than that of an airplane. Some people do get sick from the quick altitude changes. If you have a sensitive stomach or are nervous about motion sickness, it is advisable to take an over-the-counter product to combat motion sickness before your tour. A forward-facing seat may also help.

Can you take pictures or record your helicopter ride?

You are more than welcome to take pictures as well as video footage during your tour. Be conscious, however, that the helicopter windows may be reflective and difficult to photograph through. Be sure to ask a staff member to take a before and after photos of you and your family. too. 

Can you take a helicopter tour while pregnant?

Like travel by airplane, it is advisable not to travel by helicopter during a woman's third trimester. Talk to your doctor before taking a helicopter sightseeing tour.

Do helicopters have doors?

Some helicopter models have doors, and some do not. If this makes you uncomfortable, call your charter in advance to ask what type of helicopter they will be flying. It is not advisable to travel on a helicopter without doors for children under 10 years of age. 

Can your children come with you on a helicopter ride?

Children are welcome on most helicopter sightseeing tours; however, they must sit in their own seats. Lap riding is not recommended. In fact, the FAA strongly advises against carrying children on your lap during helicopter flights. 

Can you bring a car seat on a helicopter tour?

Car seats that have the "FAA-approved" stamp on them are acceptable and safe to use during a helicopter sightseeing charter.  Be sure to notify your sightseeing company in advance that you will have children traveling in car seats and plan to arrive early to supervise the car seat installation. 

Helicopter sightseeing charters are a fun way for the whole family to experience a new city.