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Robinson R44 helicopter ride over water

What is a helicopter ride

Helicopter rides are the bare-bones, nothing else but a quick circuit out of town before the helicopter comes back in to land.

While a helicopter ride can be classified as a tour, flight or trip; helicopter rides tend to focus on the basics. Where a tour would include doors off or landings; rides for the most part are just that. Helicopter rides are over fast with those who only want to experience a helicopter ride for the first time.

Little in the way of service, flight time or things to see with a helicopter ride, but the experience is extremely fun all the same.

Helicopter rides focus on short, swift flight times at less cost; where a helicopter tour would be an hour or more if you're landing on a remote area.

Rides that depart rural sites will mean the paying passenger will see less out of the window, with a timeframe only allowing for mostly countryside sightseeing.

If taking a helicopter tour, they're arranged in a way where time is taken to ensure you visit all major landmarks - including a landing if its available.

When a short helicopter ride arrives back at the landing site; all passengers depart with nothing else happening.

Helicopter rides or tours can mean many things, depending on the helicopter company who is operating your ride/tour.

If you wish, simply refer to it has a helicopter flight as that is a more broad term to explain all types of helicopters rides, tours, trips or charters.

Basic helicopter flight only

Helicopter rides can be distinguished from other types of helicopter flights in that they are for a quick pleasure ride only.

Helicopter tours have a set flight path with passengers intention to see the sights; such as castles, mountains, lakes and cities.

In heli rides, the way they work is that there's no purpose to the flight.

Its been arrange for the sole purpose with those who wish to take a flight in a helicopter for the experience, rather than fulfilling a special tour from the air.

Helicopter pleasure flights are available a plenty, with the opportunity to ride in a small heli with few seats, or a large helicopter with up to 6 to 7 passenger seats.

Its also worth noting, helicopter rides are usually classified as such in the UK, whereas the term helicopter tour is used elsewhere, especially in the USA.

Short, swift ride

If you've ever taken any city, river or walking tour before, then you'll know these tours can take up to an hour or a whole day - which is true for a helicopter tour.

Whereas a ride in a helicopter can taken as little as 5 minutes to 12 to 15 minutes only.

Basically, nothing much can be seen in a short helicopter ride so focus is put back on the helicopter day experience, by fulfilling a helicopter flight dream.

Short helicopter rides can be expensive, but compared to a long haul helicopter tour, they're a cheaper method for flying in a chopper.

Take a helicopter ride that is short for fulfilling your dream of flying in a helicopter, where the twin-engine, turbine powered machines are designed for longer hauls.

If its a really quick trip, I can guarantee the helicopter is use is a Robinson R44; which will benefit you as in the window views are amazing, with a little shaking action in wind.

Helicopter Ride vs. Helicopter Tour

The difference between a helicopter ride and tour is the purpose of the flight; while rides tend to be short, helicopter tours take in the sights for up to one hour.

When taking a helicopter ride the flight will be very limited in regards to extras.

But with a helicopter tour, expect the maximum helicopter tourism experience. Including but not exclusive to recorded narration or pilot narration.

Little time is spent in a helicopter ride, with helicopters in use tend to not be set up for features like narration.

Helicopter tours are expensive because you're flying up to an hour or more; whereas short, swift flights of a ride is not worth the extra.

One big difference between a helicopter ride versus a helicopter tour is location; the city or town where they depart out of.

Operate out of tourist sites vs rural areas

If you're taking an extended helicopter tour, you can be sure its in the United States, Canada, New Zealand or Australia where the most fascinating tourist destinations are.

Helicopter tours are not just limited to mountains, canyons or lakes either.

Tours can operate in big cities or capitals with a departure location that takes in all major landmarks; such as London, New York or Paris.

On the otherhand, helicopter rides are not worth the time over big cities as the limited flight time is over too quick.

So therefore, expect helicopter rides to have more remote, often rural airfield sites rather locating in expensive to operate city heliports.

Example of a helicopter tour is over the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone; where a ride will be limited to only seeing countryside or a town or village you're flying near.

Big cities cater for big helicopter tour operators at great expense, all while flying out hundreds of passengers a day.


Helicopter rides are the bare minimum for anyone who wishes to experience the flight in a helicopter, which is open to all.

Rides are short, swift with no focus on taking a tour of any kind; so the flight path will be a quick circuit over the countryside - so not deviating too far from departure point.

Cheaper to experience if departing in rural area or town, with more savings on the ride if the helicopter is a single-engine, pistol powered one.

Depending on who is flying with you, helicopter rides, flights or trips are shared.

So it doesn't become a helicopter ride or tour if the flight is arranged for a group; then it becomes a helicopter charter.

What exactly is a helicopter ride does not always mean what I have outlined.

In fact, depending on the helicopter tour operator; it could mean many things. So just take this advice with a pinch of salt.

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