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What to wear on a helicopter ride

No need to over think what you might have to wear during your helicopter ride or tour; in fact you should only be focusing on what you're comfortable wearing.

What you wear on a helicopter tour would be clothing you would wear at home, which should be perfectly acceptable and so would workwear if you wear a shirt, tie and a blazer. One thing you'll have to make an exception for is what you're wearing on your feet, with close-toes trainers preferred.

Helicopter services won't stop you flying with inappropriate shoes; though it can be difficult getting in and out of a heli with sandals without losing a shoe or two.

Consider wearing rubber-soled shoes that are closed-toed like trainers or sneakers.

Dress for the season or the climate in the country you're resident or a visitor. Then wear what the weather permits well traveling in a car on that day - then you should be fine.

Weather in the air is not much different to what it is on the ground; with only a two or three degree difference the higher you climb in the helicopter.

More in important then ever is dressing for an 'air only helicopter flight' or what will be appropriate clothing for a landing tour in the Grand Canyon or on a glacier.

If you want to know what to wear for any other special occasion, or how you should conduct yourself in certain attire, if in a helicopter for a wedding or prom, for example - then be sure to learn more on those pages.

Dress as you would in car

In the lead up to your helicopter ride, over the coming days or weeks, pay close attention to the condition inside the car every time you drive.

One thing most people will do is turn on the air conditioning or open the window to allow a breeze in when its hot or humid outside.

Well in the winter, during a car trip the windows stay closed, well the heater is turned on.

And that's exactly how it is in a helicopter. Helicopters can get cold in chilly days well heat up in the summer sun.

If you're happy turning up at the heliport with the clothing you're wearing in the car, this should be adequate enough for the helicopter flight.

Weather on ground similar in air

What the weather condition is like on the ground would be similar to that when high up in the air, inside a helicopter.

Don't go overboard by assuming the weather high up will be cold or chilly; its common misconception but its not always true.

During hot summer days the heat in the helicopter may be similar to that when driving in a car; well in the winter wearing warm clothing is vital for your flight.

That's assuming the helicopter does not have climate control, or else you may get to hot or cold, just as you would in a car.

Operators DON'T supply clothing

When arriving at the heliport do everything you can to wear appropriate clothing well avoiding the need to not need extra's.

Helicopter companies don't, nor have the resources to supply you extra clothing you may need, or indeed lend you footwear, hats or gloves if its going to be chilly in flight.

Therefore, its more important then ever to contact the heli service in advanced so they can suggest all items you bring along to play it safe.

All things you don't need can be left in the car or looked after by the helicopter company.

What you don't want to happen is leaving something behind you do need in order to keep warm as the flight goes on.

Avoid bringing belongings

When traveling by car, then its essential all accessories you would otherwise take out with you on a normal day should be left at home or in the car.

Helicopter tour companies will only allow you to bring sunglasses or a small purse or wallet you can put in your pocket.

If it doesn't fit in a pocket then its not permissible and will have to be left behind.

Local people taking flights have little trouble; its tourists or visitors that are likely to run into the problem - so for that reason try to keep accessories in your hotel room or hostel.

Under no circumstances do helicopter services allow you to carry on accessories: such as backpacks or handbags.

No heavy, large puffy coats

Under no circumstances will a heli tour service allow you to wear a big, puffy track coat; as it will course a nuisance to other passengers, well compromising your safety.

When wearing a big coat it would no doubt spill over to the passenger next to you, thus resulting in you spoiling there enjoyment well reducing there visibility.

Its also possible the coat would be so large it may be difficult for you to fasten your seatbelt without making adjustment.

Where circumstances permit, large puffy coats or jackets are for those taking skiing heli rides or if you're being transferred to a mountain or glacier where coats are needed.

On rainy, cold days, layer up with a jumper before wearing a thin, windproof jacket.

Close-toed shoes

After studying dozens of helicopter tour and charter companies, we've come to a simple conclusion; all heli services would prefer you wear flat soled, rubber close-toed shoes.

If you're taking a simple helicopter ride, you'd probably be allowed to carry on wearing what you have on your feet on the day when you arrive at the heli terminal.

What we would say is though slip-on shoes or sandals are the biggest nuisance to heli services for several reasons:

  • Slip on shoes will make it hard for you to climb in and out of the helicopter without losing a shoe as you attempt to find your seat.
  • Sandals would be unsuitable for helicopter landing tours, with most environments requiring close-toed shoes for protection.
  • Heeled shows could result in you loosing your footing as you step on the thin, narrow skid as you climb up into the chopper.

All concerns mentioned are not reinforced by law, or tend to be questioned by the heli services, so they shouldn't deny your flight if you do turn up without good footwear.

If wearing suitable footwear, you needn't worry about anything as you'll be able to climb, walk or sit without fear of loosing a shoe, for example:

  • Trainers or sneaker will make it easier for you to climb into the helicopter thanks to the lace tied up shoe and rubber grips.
  • Hiking boots or walking shoes will be highly recommended as you take heli tours that requires a landing - such as in the Grand Canyon or glacier.

If you're taking a helicopter charter, the likelihood of wearing smart, casual wear increases; so for men they would wear less grip shoes, well women tend to wear heels.

Don't worry, helicopters put on for charters tend to have low baring helicopter landing gear such as wheels, so entering and exiting shouldn't cause any concerns.

Warm jumper, zip through or cardi

What top you wear is a little more vital then trousers or pants, hat or gloves as going over board to keep warm may result in you overheating.

Whatever jumper or cardi you're wearing comfortably well driving to the heliport in the car, then it should be suitable for wearing during your heli flight.

Once you're wearing it in flight, there's no removing it one you're belted in. Its not permissible for passengers to unbuckle there seat belts once all checks are complete.

Talk to the heli company in advanced; quite often the type of helicopter in use will have climate control, so they can turn on air conditioning in the summer, or heat in the winter.

You don't want to be caught in helicopter climate control, so don't layer up to much, or don't dress down in case the air conditioning is switched on overhead.

You'll also need to consider the wind or chill that may pass though a small open gap in the cockpit or a passenger side window.

Comfy pants, jeans, dresses or skirts

One major piece of clothing you shouldn't get wrong well taking a helicopter ride is what you would wear on your bottom half.

For gents, jeans, shorts, trouser or sweat pants are all perfectly acceptable, regardless of how fashionable or basic they may be.

Heli services want you to be comfortable during the duration of your trip, so make sure what you wear is comfortable well sitting down for a long period.

Ladies, continue to wear your favourite pencil skirt or leggings; well the light dress you're wearing on a hot summer's day is perfectly acceptable.

However, bare in mind it can get windy approaching or exiting a helicopter well the rotors are still in motion, so you'll need to overlap your skirt or dress to prevent it blowing up.

Headwear shouldn't compromise communication

Headwear is a hit or miss when it comes to being allowed onboard helicopters. And well they can be a nuisance, often they're essential for staying warm.

Quite often a simple watch cap or beanie hat would be permissible for passengers, well certain heli tour services don't allow it for safety concerns.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters have concerns about hats being warn around the heliport, but less so well wearing a hat well on board, so it might be band all together.

Hats are not allowed to be worn around the helicopters as they can fly up into the rotors and damage the aircraft - Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

But like most heli services, they may be willing to hold onto your hat until you return from your helicopter tour.

Likewise, Smoketown Helicopters of Pennsylvania, USA, have the same concerns, saying: hats are not allowed to be worn around the helicopters in fear it might fly up into the rotors.

All headwear must not compromise the headset you'll be wearing on your tour, there must be clear communication between you, the pilot and other passengers at all times.

Well certain hats could prevent this; a standard thin beanie should allow clear voices to pass through the material of the hat in question.

Dark colours to avoid window reflection

If you are thinking about taking photographs out of the helicopter window, its advisable to wear dark clothing to avoid reflection in the glass window.

If taking pictures through glass there will almost certainly be a refection in the window with or without bright clothing, so try and reduce the refection a little by wearing dark clothing.

That also goes for bright coloured hats, though you should be perfectly fine with bottoms.

One thing people don't consider is the emblem, logo or crest on the left side breast of the shirt, jumper or jacket.

If you're wearing light clothing with a dark crest, that's all you'll see; likewise, a bright crest on dark clothing will tend to show up on pictures.

To avoid all this, take a serious helicopter ariel photography session with a door-off helicopter ride to help produce clear, clean images every time.

Clothing for helicopter adventure landing sites

When taking a helicopter adventure tour in the USA, New Zealand or similar countries that offer such services, you will expect to land on the ground during you flight.

Weather in cities with a heliport location can change dramatically to the area you're flying to; so its advisable to wear warm or less clothing to the area you're going to walk, rather than what the weather is doing where you're flying from.

Take Heli Services in New Zealand, they're likely to land on snow covered mountains so will advice you wear hiking boots:

Wear comfortable outdoor clothing suitable for wearing on the snow. Occasionally the temperature can be 5-10 degrees cooler on the snow than it is in the village - Heli Services

Likewise, taking a helicopter tour in Hawaii's tropical islands, the helicopter landing adventures environment can vary from sandy, wet ground to stone covered:

In case of Blue Hawaiian Helicopter they advice to wear a sweater as it could get chilly at their landing sites - even for a tropical island.

Remember to bring a sweater in case it's chilly.

If you're based in the UK, Ireland or Europe; landing adventures are less common so you don't need to worry about landing tours there, unless otherwise stated.

Respect the rules of the heli tour company

Before setting out to the heliport in question, contact the helicopter company in advanced to advise on what you should wear or bring along.

Helicopter tour companies would assume you'd turn up as a tourist; consider clothing custom to the locals which should be appropriate well taking the weather into consideration.

If the company doesn't like something you're wearing; they can request you remove it if they consider it to be a safety hazard or a nuisance to the pilot or other passengers.

Rules apply to all passengers so there's little allowances for certain guests over the others.

Restrictions on clothing, accessories or belongings are set as they can be hazardous, so the rules serve a real purpose.

Conclusion

Helicopter tour services are quite open about there clothing policy; so be sure to check out there web site or phone them before setting off for your helicopter tour.

To play it safe, they will want you to wear a jumper, trousers or pants, shorts or skirts; well they strongly advice you wear rubber sole, close-toed shoes - no sandals or slip-on's.

What you wear when casually laying about at home or going to the shops is perfectly fine to wear, well only making exception in footwear.

Windproof jackets are preferred over big coats, well over-sized coats will be denied.

If sitting in the front seat next to the pilot, then there clothing policy may change well being different to what passengers wear in the back.

To put in straight, wear what is comfortable and try not to bring accessories along with you as you'll have to leave it behind.

Well certain helicopter ride companies permit certain things, others completely object to it; so there's certain rules for one company, with very different rules set out for another.

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