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Helicopter over Grand Canyon - which company wont kill me ?

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Helicopter over Grand Canyon - which company wont kill me ?

Old 11th Aug 2009, 04:14
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Grand Canyon

Flew with 'Sundance' last year. They are one of the firms that can land in the Canyon. Flight out over the Hoover Dam on the way out and down the strip on the way back, with breakfast in the Canyon for two for little more than the cost of an hours Hu269 hire.
Just felt a little uncomfortable at times being used to having 'escape routes' in a single.
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Old 29th Nov 2010, 11:17
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Grand Canyon

Hi does anyone fly or have contacts Grand Canyon? I will be there in late December, would possibly like to do a flip over the canyon. Will be staying Southern Rim if i am not mistaken. Looking at prices etc also would be great to chat to the guys about jobs etc
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Old 30th Nov 2010, 02:32
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If you're going to the South Rim check out Papillon and Grand Canyon Helicopters as well, they're in the same neck of the woods.. At Maverick you'll meet the pilot before you fly (probably), at Papillon/GCH there are more passengers and you might catch a glimpse of the pilot before boarding the heli, but if you're going there looking for work just ask to speak with Chief Pilot or one of the lead pilots. December may be a bit early for hiring, but then again maybe not, it depends on how many pilots left after the 'season' and how many tourists are forecast to come for a peek at the ditch.
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Old 19th Jan 2013, 18:02
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Please any advice on who to use for a Grand Canyon tour and which type of tour is the best?

Thanks in advance
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Old 19th Jan 2013, 21:44
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I flew with Papillon late 2011 booked through Viator. Was a great day out because we liked the itinerary and ranch etc. They don't land in the canyon but the ranch is probably better in our opinion. 4 Helis all took off and landed together. The Heli did feel old and shook a lot and I honestly felt lucky to be alive once we arrived but that was probably because my wife doesn't enjoy flying and i was thinking how bad it would be if something did actually happen to us. In a twist of fate it was the same day that the Sundance Heli crashed which left us feeling quite empty and glad to be safe afterwards.

We would have flown with Maverick but their tour didn't tick all of our boxes as we wanted a full day out and not just a flight there and back again.

Last edited by VH-XXX; 19th Jan 2013 at 21:45.
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Old 19th Jan 2013, 22:07
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Thanks for that, we are looking for a shorter tour, and just want to see the main sites, also considering a booking just for two people, I guess available at a cost?
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 09:44
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I took a fabulous tour with Sundance helicopters in March last year and can recommend them highly. If you book with them see if you can get Tony Ferrari (yes that is his real name) as your pilot.

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Old 20th Jan 2013, 18:26
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I vote for Papillon. They are a first class outfit with first class equipment. Their chief pilot runs a very tight ship. I've had the pleasure of getting to know their operation and I'd trust my family with them any day.
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 01:21
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I went with Papillon also. Was hoping for an EC130 but got an old Longranger. The flight was enjoyable but the sun caused a lot of haze across the canyon so couldn't see too clearly at times. I did the "longer" and "lower" flight but we barely seemed touched the top of the canyon.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 10:39
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Grand canyon tour company booking advice


My Girlfriend and her family are travelling to the States in December. She wants to book them on one of the helicopter tours of the Grand canyon. We've read of some safety concerns after some crashes and incidents. Would you guys be able to recommend a safe and very professional outfit for them to book with?

I've no experience of helis, being a plank driver so all advice great fully received.

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Old 15th Nov 2013, 14:19
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A quick search in this forum quickly comes up with this.
Helicopter over Grand Canyon - which company wont kill me ?
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 14:36
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The big three are all well-respected operators:

Maverick Helicopters - EC130 B4/T2
Papillon Grand Canyon - EC130 B4/T2 / AS350 B2/B3e / B206L-1/L-3
Sundance Helicopters - EC130 B4 / AS350 B2

The most controversial operator in the Canyon, Heli-USA, recently filed for bankruptcy.

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Old 15th Nov 2013, 19:01
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Thanks for that
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 00:31
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We took a trip in September down to the canyon floor. Highly recommended.
B2. Our two kids got to sit in the front, when we dived over the rim, the grin on my sons face will remain with me forever.

It was a package tour, bus to the airport, fixed wing to Grand Canyon West, then Heli to the canyon floor then a short boat ride on the river.

Lunch was at the Indian run restaurant/cafe on the rim. Remarkably it is located right on the edge of the rim without barriers fences or ropes. Outdoor tables with an uninterrupted view, the edge just meters away.

We just made it back in time for a show, beware the time as the bus snakes around to all the hotels.

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Old 17th Nov 2013, 11:09
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If you are not ready for the helo

Note: all my information is related to the south rim of the canyon

There is a lovely train ride out of Williams, AZ (30 miles west of Flagstaff) that takes daily trips to the canyon. It is a nice peaceful ride of about 1.5 hours. Food and refreshments available as well as entertainment and a good old fashioned train robbery. You arrive at the canyon and are taken on buses for guided tours which we thoroughly enjoyed on our first visit. There are viewing areas that only buses are allowed to drive into although you are free to walk to any and all. We had plenty of time to stroll etc after our tour. The train delivers you directly into the village and that is where you depart from about 4 hours later. There is also a wild west show in Williams in the morning before the train departs the station. We will be taking some relatives on the train trip this Christmas season. We live very near the canyon and visit there several times a year. I highly recommend it to everyone. It is a truly international experience as you will see when you arrive there. There are many great overviews but our favorite is called Lipan. Breathtaking views of the canyon in both directions and the river rapids far below. There are several nice places to eat and surprisingly not all that expensive. If you are in the Flagstaff area for a day or two, there is also a wonderful meteor crater about 1 hour east of Flagstaff that is worth seeing. Sedona, Arizona is beautiful as well and 40 minutes south of Flag. There is a company in Sedona that flies tours and they have some very nice packages to fly into the canyon as well as around the Sedona area which is breathtakingly beautiful. In addition to Bell's, they also have airplanes, C210's I believe, that fly tours for the non heloists among us. Sedona also has unique shopping and many artists live in the area and have studios open to the public. Some very high dollar things as Sedona is a playground for the wealthy. Last year at the canyon in addition to the great views, we saw a 2000 pound elk with a huge rack that decided to lay down right next to the sidewalk in the village. It was 20 feet from the trail relaxing while thousands of folks walked by snapping pictures. There are many lovely picnic areas as well. Bring good walking shoes, jackets etc as the weather is a little unpredictable in the winter. Questions about the area? Ask away.


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Old 27th Nov 2013, 18:13
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Grand Canyon excursions.

Hi All,

I am seeking any recommendations for a pleasure flight for my wife and I in the first week December touring the Grand Canyon. What would you suggest to maximise a once in a lifetime trip, including company names.

Thank You.
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Old 27th Nov 2013, 20:29
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I did the Sunset tour with Maverick that was recommended by a local person. I have to recommend the company highly. Exceptionally professional and the trip unforgettable.
The Sunset tour is recommended as you return to see the lights of the strip.

Hope you enjoy
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Old 28th Nov 2013, 11:59
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Flew with Papillon way back in 2002. Even with over 5000 hrs on SAR I was still impressed with the descent to the canyon floor followed by a non-alcoholic BBQ lunch. The only slight disappointment was that the landing area was towards the western end of the canyon and not as spectacular as the eastern end. The Squirrel was a bit crowded with 6 pax plus pilot and it was slightly disconcerting when we took off only to land on the rim to refuel!
Things may well have changed as to which part of the canyon is visited so worth while checking before you book.
Fully concur with suggestions re Sedona, Meteor Crater, Route 66 etc wonderful part of the States.
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Old 26th Jan 2014, 15:56
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Maverick Helicopter Tours - Grand Canyon

Hi Guys,
My wife and I are currently looking at booking a couple of weeks in the US over the Easter Holidays to explore the West Coast. One of the things we are considering is the two day 'Detours' Grand Canyon tour who offer as an addon a flight with Maverick Helicopters. Before I book anything I wanted to come and get your expert opinion on the company and the tours they operate. Any feedback appreciated!
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Old 26th Jan 2014, 16:11
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I have absolutely no connection with Maverick, and my flight with them was a few years ago now, but I thought they were absolutely superb. The helicopter they were using then (NOT A Jetranger!) was absolutely perfect.

I was a professional helicopter pilot for many years and the flight over the Canyon was absolutely unmissable! You won't be disappointed. Book the longest flight you can afford, because it will probably be the highlight of your holiday!
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