"Up In The Air" Blog
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1st Time Helicopter Experience
09/16/2018 – By: Tyler G
Remember growing up and wondering what it would feel like to drive a car? Imagine you’re 6 years old, and you go on a road trip with your family and you’re just amazed at how your Mom or Dad operates that machine. This might not be the best analogy, and being in a car vs. a helicopter ride are two completely different things. What I’m getting at though is: a first time helicopter ride is very hard explain.The best way to understand it is to actually experience it first hand, in the flesh. If you’re reading this and have never gone on a helicopter ride, then this blog is for you. If you’re reading and have, well, feel free to read on and compare my first experience with yours.
Growing up whenever I imagined what it feels like to fly in a helicopter, I automatically compared it to an airplane. Why is this? I’m assuming I’m not the only one who has ever made this comparison because they BOTH FLY! Now, I’m not going to break down the physics of how they’re two different machines, but I will compare the two in terms of what it feels like.
Most people get at least SOME type of first time flying nerves. In my opinion, flying in an airplane was way scarier than the helicopter. I’ve flown numerous times now on an airplane, and every time I still get some nerves whenever the airplane lifts off the ground to take off. I don’t know why, but that minute transition from being on the ground to thousands of feet up in the air will always keep me awake. Now, with a helicopter, I actually enjoyed lifting up into the air. Obviously we weren’t climbing to the altitude of what an airplane usually does, but the transition from being on the ground to the air was smooth with ATX Heli Tours. I sort of imagined it as a balloon slowly advancing up.
Going into my tour with ATX Heli Tours, I’ve always pictured the ride to be smoother than an airplane, but I was actually astonished at how smooth a helicopter was in the air. It sort of felt like we were just on cruise control coasting towards downtown Austin. There was hardly any bumpiness through the whole 45-minute trip! Okay, I will admit, the first time we made a tight turn, I tensed up a bit, but after that it actually became relaxing. ATX Heli Tours has radio communication headphones for the entirety of the tour for all the passengers, but since I was flying solo with just the pilot, Glen, most of the tour was silent. There is something about just coasting over downtown Austin in a helicopter with nothing but the sound of the rotary blades and the air outside the windows. It’s truly a relaxing feeling.
As I’m sure this would be the same answer for a lot of people, I think my favorite part of the helicopter tour was the view. This is another HUGE difference between an airplane and helicopter; at least it was with ATX Heli Tours! Their helicopter, The Raven 44, has so much window room. What do I mean? The design of this helicopter is basically windows (for viewing purposes) 360 degrees all around (almost)! At some points in the tour I simply forgot I was in a helicopter because you don’t see much helicopter, but more blue sky, and whatever you’re looking at from above. Out of all my expectations for the helicopter tour, the view is what surpassed everything else. This is something that’s definitely hard to explain, so I suggest you book a Helicopter Tour with ATX Heli Tours to see what I saw, for yourself! You won’t regret it, I promise.
The Lake Pflugerville Tour
09/08/2018 - By: Tyler G
The $60 Lake Pflugerville Tour offered by ATX Heli Tours is the perfect tour for someone just wanting to know what a helicopter ride is all about. It is the shortest tour that the company offers, but the minimal time does not lack in what you’ll see, or getting familiar with a helicopter. ATX Heli Tours flies out of Austin Executive Airportfor their tours including this one. This is a micro-airport compared to Austin-Bergrstrom International Airport, but it’s perfectly convenient for a locally owned helicopter tour company and their customers. The airport is not hard to find (being located just off of HWY 130), and you even might have a chance to catch a glimpse at Matthew Mcconaughey or Sandra Bullock as they fly out in their private jets.
Upon arrival, your ATX Heli Tour pilot will greet you and shuttle you to the landing zone where take off occurs. The pilots are extremely courteous offering you a water bottle before the flight. Another cool thing is that the pilot let’s you take AS MANY photos/videos as you want. Unlike commercial airplane’s “airplane mode” rule, your pilot with ATX Heli Tours will encourage you to take photos and videos. The maximum amount of passengers that the helicopter holds is 4 (including the pilot), so getting the right angles when you’re up in the air and preparing for takeoff isn’t difficult. They also encourage you to tag them on their social media Facebook and Instagram pages.
The $60 Helicopter tour gives you a view of Lake Pflugerville like you’ve never seen before. Ironically, being a resident of Pflugerville for a short period of time, I had not seen Lake Pflugerville the way most people do first: from the ground. I actually saw the lake from the air for the first time, and though it’s not a HUGE lake, it was still stunning to see from up above. When I finally did visit the lake (the normal way) again, my expectations were set way too high because the excitement just wasn’t the same as it was from the air.
PS. Even though, I’d save up a bit and take your significant other on a romantic sunset tour if you’re proposing. Just Saying…
ATX Heli Tours In 3 Words
09/02/2018 - By: Tyler G
Experience – Affordable – Safety
ATX Heli Tours was founded because Owner’s Glen Crawley and Kenny Garth wanted to show Austin, TX area residents and visitors a whole new perspective of the city they’re apart of. When people think Helicopter Tours, they think of places such as New York, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc.; but what about Austin, TX? The City of Austin is among the top 10 fastest growing cities in the U.S. Suburbs such as Pflugerville, Round Rock, Georgetown, and Cedar Park are rapidly growing as well. Austin, TX is rich in culture, art, and most famously, music that draw in hundreds of Thousands of visitors yearly.
Ken & Glen have 20+ years of combined experience piloting and operating a helicopter, and they know the excitement and adventure helicopters entail. Their goal with ATX Heli Tours is to give people that adventure and show them a different side of Austin and surrounding areas that can only be seen from in the air. People, who choose a helicopter tour with us, choose more than a fun day of doing something unique. Our guests choose an experience that will be nothing short of exhilarating, and a memory that will last a lifetime. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience when embarking on a tour with ATX Heli Tours.
It’s no secret that aviation can be expensive. Creating a commercial business based in the aviation industry proves just as true. Helicopter’s can easily run upwards of $500,000 and that’s just the initial purchase process. Insurance, maintenance, and storage add to those costs even higher. Glen & Ken (owners of ATX Heli Tours) have approached the helicopter touring business from a different angle though. As expensive as it is to get a helicopter business off the ground (no pun intended), the owner’s know that the average individual can be hesitant to pay upwards of $1,500 - $2,000 for a helicopter tour, which can easily be the cost in cities such as NYC and LA.
ATX Heli Tours wants it to be affordable, but also want to provide an outstanding experience. That is why, our starting rate for a helicopter tour is $60/person. How can we survive with rates this low you might ask? Well, the $60/person tour is centered on Pflugerville, TX (a suburb of Austin). With the operating location of ATX Heli Tours, it is easier and more affordable for us to give tours at that price because we are operate very close to Lake Pflugerville. We do indeed have more elaborate tours available that cover Austin, TX and Lake Travis for example; but someone who is on a budget that wants to experience a helicopter ride can have a magnificent view over Lake Pflugerville for just $60. Giving our guests options is what we’re all about.
It’s not crazy to question a person’s hesitance with flying. To agree to another person flying them and loved ones in a helicopter and insuring safety takes a reasonable amount of willingness and trust. Being in the service industry, ATX Heli Tours understands that, and that’s why safety is our #1 priority over anything else.
To operate a helicopter (and a helicopter tour company I might add), you must comply with United States law in passing tests that are under the F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Administration). Obviously these guidelines are there to protect our society, and ATX Heli Tours is up to date and complies with all of them. At ATX Heli Tours, we don’t stop at the F.A.A. We go above and beyond to make sure our helicopters and pilots uphold a certain standard that takes doubt away and lets our guests enjoy their helicopter tour 100% of the time. To put it simply, ATX Heli Tours promises a smooth, carefree ride with every tour.
ALL of ATX Heli Tours pilots are subject to random drug test screenings. To become an ATX Heli Tours pilot, that individual must have over 500 hours flight time training under their belt. We also do daily maintenance checks on our helicopters. Most of all, our helicopter, the Raven R44 is the industry standard in commercial helicopter tours. It has won numerous awards for safety and dependability in recent years. When someone books a tour with us, we want to be certain in giving him or her the experience that they deserve, and that experience starts with a safe ride.
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