fly in a heli

What’s it like flying in a helicopter?

So you’ve been bought a helicopter experience from but what’s it really like flying in a helicopter? If you’ve never experienced rotary flight before, you could, understandably, be a little nervous before take-off.

With the help of those that have flown in a helicopter already, we’ve put together a rundown of what to expect when you go flying in a helicopter for the first time.

Flying in a helicopter is like nothing else!

It might be stating the obvious, but if you’ve only ever flown in commercial jet airliners before, prepare yourself for a very different experience when you fly in a helicopter. We won’t go into the science of how helicopters fly, but needless to say, they are the pretty unique in that they can take off vertically, fly forwards, backwards and in any direction.

And it’s this flexibility that makes flying in a helicopter so different to aeroplanes, with very different sensations too.

How do you get into a helicopter?

For a start, you have to climb into a helicopter. There’s no air-bridge walkway or steps like you use to board your typical Airbus or Boeing. There are little footplates, but you do have to take a good step up to get in the cockpit of a chopper.

flying in a helicopter - Bell Jetranger

Fly in all different sizes of helicopter – from small two seater trainers, to executive Bell JetRangers like this beauty!

How big are the helicopters you fly in?

Helicopters come in all sorts of sizes. Some are simple two-seater training aircraft, in which case you’ll be sitting up front right next to the pilot. Others are executive-type choppers that can seat up to five passengers. You have to remember it’s pretty compact inside there, so when fully loaded it’ll be cosy!

What does it feel like to take off in a helicopter?

Helicopters don’t need runways to take off. Many of our helicopter ride experiences take off from helipads, but choppers can take off and land easily on suitable on grassy areas – we’re talking on the front lawns of that fancy hotel you’re going to have lunch at, for example.

So taking off in a helicopter is a very unique feeling. For starters, when the rotor blades start turning, you’ll be surprised just how noisy it is inside there. That’s why you’ll be given an intercom headset to wear during your flight, so you can hear the pilot and talk to them.

It seems you’ll be sitting there for ages whilst the rotors whirr away. That’s because from start up to getting up to speed to be able to take off takes quite a while. During this time you may hear the pilot asking Air Traffic Control for permission to take off and once clearance has been given, you’re heart will be in your mouth as you anticipate the moment you’ll take off.

Before you know it, the helicopter will seem to just lift and float away from the ground below you and the sounds seems to abate somewhat as you get airborne. You’ll soon get used to the new sensations of being in a helicopter, so you can get down the business of seriously enjoying flying in it!

helicopter take off

Headset on, rotor blades on and ready for take off in your helicopter!

What can you see whilst flying in a helicopter?

Helicopters boast great visibility all round, thanks to having lots of glass in the cockpit. Even if you’ve got the middle seat you’ll be afforded superb views. You’ll be able to look out of the front, the sides, down below you and even above your head for panoramas as you fly.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll be flying a whole lot lower than your airliner at full cruising height of around 30,000ft. If you opt for a London sightseeing helicopter tour, regulations state that helicopters have to fly the ‘London lanes’ (which are dedicated helicopter routes that follow the Thames) at around 500ft, which just adds to the thrill of flying in a helicopter in our book and means you can see everything on the ground!

Flying in a helicopter is an amazing experience, albeit one that can be a bit nerve-wrecking to start with if you’ve never been in one before. Hopefully this blog piece will give you a better idea of what it’s like to fly in a helicopter, so you’ll be able to concentrate on the great bird’s eye views and enjoying yourself when you’re flying in one.

flying high in a heli

Now you know what it’s like to fly in a helicopter, you’re ready for those bird’s eye views!

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