Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Is the helicopter safe?
    A: Of course it is, otherwise we wouldn’t be riding in it. The FAA governs every aspect of helicopter operations to a higher standard than most airplanes. Parts, maintenance, mechanic qualifications, and pilot qualifications, all fall under the purview of the FAA.
  • Q: What happens if the motor quits?
    A: The same thing that happens in your car or in an airplane. You won’t be able to finish your trip. If you are going down the road and you car motor quits, you coast over to the side of the road and call someone to come pick you up. In a helicopter you glide down to earth and call someone to come pick you up.
  • Q: What would happen if the engine were to quit?
    A: The same thing as an airplane. Contrary to common belief, the blades will not stop spinning. The pilot would enter “autorotation” and the helicopter would glide down and gently sit down with little or no ground run. All the systems and controls would continue to work normally.
  • Q: Can helicopters legally land anywhere like they do in the movies?
    A: Almost. The FAA places no legal restrictions on their operations other than the flight must be conducted in a safe manner.
  • Q: How many people will your helicopter carry?
    A: That depends on a lot of things. Primarily weight. If you need a lot of fuel for a long flight, less people can go. Any helicopter can carry more small people than large ones. Obviously, larger helicopters can carry more.
  • Q: How much notice do I need to give in order to schedule the helicopter?
    A: We schedule the helicopter on a first-come, first-serve basis, so call as early as possible.
  • Q: I know that weather is a big factor in airplane operations. Do those same weather constraints apply to the helicopter?
    A: No. The FAA mandates minimum weather conditions for the operation of fixed-wing aircraft. Because of their versatility and inherent safety, the FAA has waived the weather minima for most helicopter operations. Again the only requirement is that they conduct their operations safely.
  • Q: Does a helicopter have to abide by the same regulations as an airplane?
    A: No. The FAA recognizes that since helicopters are much more meneuverable and can land almost anywhere without causing problems if they were to have a problem, they allow them to fly almost anywhere they want.
  • Q: What are the qualifications of our pilot?
    A: He has a Commercial pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. He is highly trained, and has been thoroughly tested. He undergoes annual training and must practice emergency procedures regularly. Each year he must receive additional training and be retested.
  • Q: Are helicopters harder to fly than airplanes?
    A: Well, although they require a different skill set than airplane flying, all in all, they aren’t really that much different than flying anything else.
  • Q: Why do helicopters cost so much compared to the same size airplane?
    A: Helicopters have lots of moving parts compared to airplanes, and those parts are much more expensive. Because of this, They are more expensive and much more maintenance is required to keep them in good condition than an airplane. Also, because of the missions that helicopters perform, insurance costs more.
  • Q: How much weight can a helicopter lift?
    A: Our Jet Rangers can lift up to 1200 pounds, about 600 of which is fuel when it is full. Our Robinson will lift about 835 pounds, 300 of which is fuel. Some heavy-lift helicopters can carry up to 20,000 pounds.
  • Q: How far can these helicopters fly on a tank of gas?
    A: Both the Jet Rangers and the Robinson will fly about 350 miles on a full tank of gas.
  • Q: What kind of engines do helicopters have?
    A: The Jet Rangers have a Rolls-Royce 250-C20B turbine engine, which produces 420 shaft horse power. Turbine engines are commonly referred to as jet engines. They have no pistons, valves, cams, or crankshalves. Their major components are the compressor, burner, turbine, and gearbox. They burn jet fuel and turn very fast. At normal operating speeds, the engine is turning about 52,000 rpm. The Robinson has a Lycoming O-540 which produces 260 shp. This is a 540 cubic inch, aircooled, 6-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, conventional piston engine, much like the one in your automobile.
  • Q: How fast are the blades turning?
    A: The main rotors turn about 400 rpm, and the tail rotor about 3,000. Gearboxes and transmissions reduce the engine rpms, which are much higher, down to the operational rpm.

Helicopter Fun Fact

Helicopters can fly in any direction, including backwards!