Welcome!

I'll be your pilot for a scenic helicopter tour where you get to enjoy the sights, relax, and have a memorable experience.

I have over seven years of experience and over 500 hours flying these helicopters, including Robinson R-44s, R-22s, R-66s and Bell 206B2 and 206B3 JetRangers. This experience has been gained flying over 27 different aircraft over more than a dozen major cities and hundreds of smaller cities in two continents over these last few years.



Ehud's Helicopter Passenger Briefing 101 - THE BASICS

Everything before this note is revised to keep current. Otherwise, this was last revised 2015-12-28 2359z to make it current.

The Purpose of our Flight

The purpose of our flight is for you to have fun. Everything in this summary is geared toward that end. More details below, but really if you read "The Quick Summary" and "What to Bring" that's good enough. I'll cover some of the rest in the aircraft.

The important parts of this briefing will be given orally prior to flight.  You do not need to memorize or even read this.  It is for your enjoyment and information, not required reading.

The Quick Summary

What to Bring

Note: If you need sunglasses or a cap or water, just tell me the night before. Sorry, I don't have spare shoes in your size.

What not to Bring

What not to do

The rest of the stuff

You do not need to read this unless you're interested

Getting Sick

Most people find helicopter rides more comfortable than the car ride to the airport. Don't expect helicopters to be like small planes or big boat cars. You'll feel great! If not, just tell me and we'll fix it ASAP.  

Safety and Enjoyment

The Goal - Expanded

The goal is for all of us to have a good time, enjoy the flight, and see interesting things. When this is not happening you need to speak up -- I'd rather have a short happy flight than a long miserable one.

The R22 helicopter is more "cozy" than the car we took to the airport, but usually people are more comfortable and do not get sick. Even people who get carsick fly fine in a helicopter.

Helicopters are what I fly for fun but not what you do. That means if YOU are not having a good time we need to get you safely to the ground... and I will fly later :) Okay? If you are not comfortable either flying OR saying "I'm not having fun" you need to rethink if you want to try and fly. Being a passenger on a luxury airliner is one thing (you have to do it to get to far away places) but in a private helicopter you have a choice :) Exercise it :)

If you are not having fun then it is a great idea to tell the pilot (me) and let's call an end to it. I'm not into torturing my passengers, and you're not into being tortured. If you are we can discuss that on the ground.

The R-22 vs the R-44

The R44 has 4 seats.  The R22 has two seats.  If there are only two of us and there is an R22 available, we'll fly in that.  It only costs $250/hr so it's easier on the budget than the R44 ($500/hr). Note: these are not retail prices but are discounted for friends/family first time out.

As of Q4 2013 in Tucson and Las Vegas I have access to both R22s and R44s.   Depending on various factors we'll use the most suitable aircraft.

I'll be in the right-hand (pilot) seat and you'll be in the left-hand seat (or in the back in the R44). When you want to see something I'll orbit it so you can see it best. 

What to wear


What to bring

What to expect

The Intercom

You'll have a headset (that's two ear-pieces and a microphone). What we say (and air-to-ground) will be heard in the ears. What you say (in the microphone) will be heard by me but not Air Traffic Control. Adjust for comfort and relax :) I will plug it in for you, so really all you have to do is put it on your head and place the microphone close to your mouth, almost touching...

With one exception do not ever interrupt other people talking, even if it's Air-traffic-control. Just pretend someone hit the "PAUSE" button on our conversation. Resume after the interruption.

What this means is if ANYONE ELSE is talking then STOP IMMEDIATELY and wait... and when there's no talking... wait another second or two to make sure I don't want to respond to something someone said... and then resume :)

If I hold up a finger it likely means "STOP TALKING NOW, PLEASE."

Exception

If you see that we're about to hit or be hit by a bird or another aircraft use your hand and finger to point to it and YELL "Bird!" or "Plane!".  I will veer away.   That way you're not trying to figure out if you want to say "Bird at 10 O'Clock" or whatever, and then I won't also be trying to figure out if you mean 10 O'Clock or 11 O'Clock or up high or lower or what.

The startup and stuff

More STUFF YOU DO ***NOT*** NEED TO KNOW -- The startup tests

I explain these as I do them but thought I'd pre-explain in case you care :)

That's it!

Special Requests

When flying with passengers I try to make soft gentle sweet lovely maneuvers. However, should you feel that you want maneuvers that are not quite that sweet let me know. I will never do anything that is dangerous, but just like driving other people around... when you drive family you drive differently.

In simple words PLEASE TALK TO ME!!! Tell me what you want. If you're happy say so. If you're not, say so. If I ask you why, please tell me so I can correct it!!!

We also may have specific goals for this one flight, but diverting here or there won't hurt anything or anyone. This means if you want us to go two miles north and overfly your house JUST ASK!!! Nobody will be hurt. Worst case we'll either not be able to do it, or Air Traffic Control won't let us. BEST case we WILL do it :) So ask!

Safety Repeated or Danger! Danger! Rotors Spinning!

I will tell you this before we fly, and it will be a calm discussion with plenty of time for questions, so don't memorize this, just ensure you understand it.

What if there is a problem?

First, please remember that helicopters are safer than the roads on which you traveled to get to the airport.

If there is a problem it will be taken care of. That's MY job.

The worst case -- which is not bad at all -- is an autorotation. That does not mean spinning :) It just means having the air rotate the rotor as we make our descent to a touchdown. It's not dangerous, and we practice it more often than regular landings! Do not be afraid nor freaked out nor worried. Your job is to relax, enjoy the scenery, take pictures, and above all else... relax :)

How to get to the helicopter?

CURRENT: 2014-12-19:

TUCSON: CACTUS HELICOPTERS on South Plumer/East Elvira Rd (2101 E Elvira Rd):

Take Valencia west past Campbell (how you get to the passenger terminal at the airport) and take the next turn south - Plumer Ave and go east on Elvira on the small private road to a Southwest Heliservices Hangar.

OLDER:

TUCSON: ARIZONA AEROTECH/DOUBLE EAGLE: Arizona Aerotech flies out of the Double Eagle Aviation stables. Take Valencia West to Old Nogales Highway South. Take Apron road (across from Circle K) and then wend your way north and east to Double Eagle Aviation.

TUCSON: Executive Terminal (base of tower, S Plumer Ave):

You want to park at the base of the Tucson International Airport Tower. This is at the end of Plummer Avenue. Here is a two minute video showing exactly how to get there from when you're approaching the airport on Tucson Boulevard.

Once you've parked, make your way to the cushy sofa lounge in the Executive Terminal. Here's a one-minute video showing exactly how to get there.

LAS VEGAS: North Las Vegas Airport: Take Rancho drive north of US95N to Airport Drive. Right on Airport Drive then immediate right then first left into parking lot.

Final comment about pictures

I've given lots of people rides... but to be honest, I have no pictures that I've taken. That means if you take pictures it would be really cool if you could share those. Facebook, Picasa, and MMS messaging reduce the resolution of the pictures. So if you can share the actual pics, that would be cool :)

That's all folks!

Enjoy the ride!

E

P.S. Here are some pics of other helicopters I took...

Example kneeboard for a flight

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Helicopter Passenger Orientation by Ehud Gavron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Use VLC to listen to KTUS TWR/APCH/GND/CD :-)

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