*Pictured Above: Just one of many photos I took from the Niagara Helicopters on June 4, 2015
Yesterday I did something I never imagined was going to happen as part of my day. I went on the Niagara Helicopters!
As many local residents are now aware, the Niagara Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters have partnered up; unveiling 4 brand new H130 aircrafts. This new fleet of helicopters will be used for sightseeing, aerial surveillance and charter flight.
According to Romain Trapp, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Helicopters, they are the quietest helicopter on the market and will reduce noise by 50%. Its Fenestron tail rotor and automatic variable rotor speed control result in a significantly reduced external sound.
**Click here for the whole story on the partnership.
Due to the arrival of these new helicopters, I wanted to go and take some pictures of the aircraft and post them on our Clifton Hill – Niagara Falls Fun Facebook page, to show our viewers these new vessels for any future trip planning activities. Not only was I able to take pictures of the Niagara Helicopters, but they were nice enough to offer me a tour — so I jumped on the chance, and I’m so glad that I did! Having worked within the tourism industry for a number of years, this is one of those Niagara Falls attractions I had yet to try.
My Experience on the Niagara Helicopters
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I’m not going to lie, I was a little apprehensive at first as I’ve never been in a helicopter before, and I’ve watched too many action movies with helicopters with no doors. I assure you, it is NOTHING like that! Each helicopter holds six passengers plus the pilot, for a total of seven people…and yes, it is all enclosed!
I was originally scheduled to ride at 10:30 am, but the cloudy conditions said otherwise. The Niagara Helicopters will not ride in cloudy or dark conditions due to visibility. Not only as a safety factor, but to make the most out of your pictures. I was told to periodically keep calling back for the weather condition updates. By 1:00 pm I received word that they were ready the fly, so off I went with my camera for the chance of a lifetime!
The Niagara Helicopters is located at 3731 Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls (at the Niagara River Parkway). Phone number: 905-357-5672 or 1-800-281-8034
When I arrived and received my ticket, you are welcome to tour their souvenir store that offers merchandise such as “Made in Canada” souvenirs (clothing, books, maple products, jewellery, etc.), convenience items such as stamps, film and batteries, phone cards, and (of course) who would want to leave this experience without some helicopter-themed goodies? They offer die-cast models, postcards, DVD’s of the flight, and much more.
Once you have received your ticket, you may line-up at the boarding dock at any point. There is no set schedule — you simply line-up when you are ready, and one of the four helicopters on flight will pick you up. Each helicopter leaves between every 2-10 minutes (depending on the number of passengers waiting). The flight covers 27 kilometers (17 miles) with a flight duration between 9-12 minutes. Due to the fact that the Niagara Helicopters opened a little later in the day because of the weather, and there was a Korean tour group ahead of me, I had a little bit of a wait at approximately 20 minutes — not a big deal at all. I enjoyed watching the helicopters land and take off.
In no time, it was my turn, and I handed over my boarding pass and was seated up front with the pilot. There is an assistant that helps you in the helicopter, buckles you in, and hands you headphones to not only drown out the noise, but to also play commentary on what you are seeing as you fly; complete with trivia and facts about the Niagara Helicopter ride.
The commentary is available in 12 different languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Thai, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
The helicopter gently lifts off from the Victoria Avenue location, with awe-inspiring views of the Niagara Region beginning to appear below.
Beginning with the Sir Adam Beck Generating plant and the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, the tour follows the Niagara River from the Whirlpool area (look for Whirlpool Aero Car crossing the gorge), over the Whirlpool Rapids and the Rainbow Bridge. Then, you cross over the floral beauty of Queen Victoria Park, and soon the helicopter passes by the American Falls and the Skylon Tower. Then the helicopters followed the curve of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which was incredible to say the least! Rainbows appeared (which I captured on camera). The helicopter then leveled off and continued along the route back to base.
Features of the Niagara Helicopters Experience include:
- The ride of a lifetime
- Individual headsets with taped commentary available in 12 languages
- Family & Group rates available
- Large windows, ideal for the avid photographer
- On-site services include cafe, professional Niagara photo services, & gift shop
- All major credit cards accepted
- Gift certificates available
Flights depart daily from 9:00 am until sunset, weather permitting.
Below is a quick video of the pictures that I took and a couple of moments of video to share during my experience. Enjoy!
When I exited the helicopter you enter into a room that features pictures of you on take off. There are photographers that take your picture before you board the helicopter, and also after you are all buckled in and awaiting flight. These pictures are processed immediately afterwards and they are available for purchase by the time you exit the ride. You may take home one of these picture souvenirs as a memory of your flight. However, if you do not wish to purchase a photo, everyone is given a certificate of flight that is signed and witnessed.
This was without a doubt, one of my favourite things to do in Niagara Falls and I encourage everyone to try it out!
For more information or to book your flight in advance, visit them online at www.niagarahelicopters.com
**Walk-in’s are welcome.**
Pictured Above: Me and my certificate of flight!