Gearing up for your first helicopter ride can be exciting (and a little nerve-wracking)! As your flight date approaches, you may find yourself with a handful of burning questions about what the experience will be like, what to wear, and how you can prepare for your first helicopter ride. Read on for our top six tips for first-time helicopter passengers to make your first flight a great one.
The first step after you arrive for your ride will be a helicopter safety briefing
Before you step foot on a helicopter for the first time, your pilot will share a short introduction to helicopter flight, which will take about 30 minutes. During this time, you’ll learn basic safety instructions such as how to buckle and unbuckle your seatbelt in case of an emergency.
Whether you’re nervous about flying or have questions about your helicopter ride’s specific course, you’ll have a chance to ask questions directly to your pilot before take off. If time permits, you and your instructor may take a safety walk to inspect the aircraft and begin the preflight checklist.
Understand the pilot will determine where you sit
The seating arrangement for your first helicopter ride will likely be determined by the pilot. All passengers must have their height and weight measured, which will impact where the individuals are asked to sit for the duration of the flight.
There are height and weight limits when taking a helicopter ride. Weight is the most significant; all passengers must weigh 300 pounds or less. The number of passengers on board the aircraft will also determine where each one will be seated, depending on the measurements taken for each person. Independent Helicopters’ private helicopter tours as well as our R44 discovery flight can accommodate up to three passengers.
Choose comfortable clothing to wear
Your first helicopter ride is not the time to try out a new (and potentially uncomfortable!) outfit. You’ll want to enjoy every second of air time, so it’s important to choose clothing that is both familiar and comfortable.
The inside temperature of the helicopter will mimic that of a car. Each aircraft is equipped with air conditioning for warmer days and heat for the cooler seasons. Just as you would for a plane ride, dressing in layers is always a good choice!
Most helicopter companies will require passengers to wear closed-toed shoes, so it’s best to leave your flip-flops and sandals at home. Avoid high heels, scarves, or hanging jewelry. You can always bring a change of clothes if you have a romantic meal or night on the town planned for after your flight.
Don’t forget your camera!
The first time you take to the skies aboard a helicopter ride is an experience unlike any other. Capture the moment (not to mention incredible views) aboard your first flight with your phone or camera.
A camera or phone are some of the only items you’ll need to bring with you for your first helicopter ride, although a pair of sunglasses wouldn’t hurt either. You will be provided with noise-cancelling headphones to wear for the duration of the flight.
If you’re flying with us, your route may take you over breathtaking natural landmarks such as Shawangunk Mountains and Mount Beacon in the Hudson Valley, Lake George or the Albany and Saratoga Springs regions in upstate New York. Or, take in views of the iconic New York City skyline. For those flying during leaf peeping season, you’ll want to capture the vibrant fall foliage during your private helicopter tour.
Tell your pilot if you’re celebrating a special occasion
The views aboard a private helicopter tour make an epic backdrop a romantic celebration. Be sure to let your pilot know if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or planning a proposal. He or she can help make your occasion even more memorable by helping you plan a custom route or upgrading your flight with insulated wine tumblers and a bottle to share. (Yes, having a drink is allowed as a passenger!)
Schedule your first helicopter ride with a trusted company
While many companies have great safety ratings, it’s important to conduct research before scheduling your first helicopter ride. The experience is sure to be one you’ll never forget, so choose a company that gives you peace of mind, allowing you to take in the exhilaration and excitement during your first flight!
All Independent Helicopters pilots undergo rigorous training and hold certified pilots licenses. Our aircrafts are closely monitored and inspected to avoid possible hazards during flight. On average, we conduct 2,000-3,000 flights per year, ranging from charter and tours to powerline patrol, photo flights, and pilot training instruction. We also hold the Helicopter Association International (HAI) Operator Safety Award for zero incidents each year for every year we’ve been in business.
As you prepare for your first experience on board a helicopter, remember to enjoy the moment. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of weightlessness as you soar through the sky. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on our schedule of events, learn more about helicopter flight training, or schedule your own private adventure.