Sometimes you want to take a sightseeing tour and driving around will just not do. When this happens, think helicopters. Detroit is home to more than a few companies that use helicopters for industrial or corporate jobs, but not for rides. But, when you ask each and every one of those commercial firms, they will all tell you that the two services listed below are the definite go-to companies when it comes to sightseeing and helicopter rides.
Magnum Helicopters, LLC
6250 N. Service Drive
Waterford, MI 48327
When you talk to some of the helicopter companies that do industrial work in Michigan, they will tell you that one of the best air services for sightseeing and helicopter rides is Magnum Helicopter. Being based in Waterford, MI, the area that can be covered in a flight that lasts for approximately 45 minutes and ranges from downtown Detroit out to Ann Arbor and beyond.
When you fly in a helicopter, the view provides the perfect opportunity to take pictures and really study the ground and sights below. As with the other helicopter service in the Detroit area, Magnum flies Robinson Helicopters, which are considered to be among the best “choppers” in the world. Included in the fleet is the R-22, the R-44 Raven I and Raven II and the Robinson R-66 Turbine, which when it fires up, provides a sound that will only add to the experience.
One of the more interesting flights to take is over the downtown area of Detroit where Comerica Park and Ford Field are located. It is one thing to see these sports venues from the ground, but from the air, you’ll truly get a sense of just how large they are. Along with this is the fact that by following along the Detroit River, you are given a wonderful look at the Renaissance Center and the Canadian shoreline. A 45-minute flight costs $500 for up to four riders, making the per-person cost much more reasonable.
Heliflight of Michigan
2676 Industrial Row
Troy, MI 48084
If you would like to zoom through the sky in a chopper called the Blue Streak or the Black Knight, then Heliflight of Michigan is the service you want to go for. Located in Troy, it is easy to get to for an afternoon or morning helicopter tour of the area. Heliflight is known in the area for its pilot training programs and is considered by many to be one of the best flight services around. Face it, when you have any one of the Oakland County Sheriff aviation pilots singing your praises, you know that you are doing something right.
The two main helicopters used by Heliflight for tours and rides are the Robinson R44 Clipper, which is the “Blue Streak,” and the Robinson R22 Beta II, the “Black Knight.” Both of these state-of-the-art choppers can cruise at speeds up to 130 mph and have a climb rate up to 1,000 feet per minute, which could make for an exciting ride. But for tours and rides, they are comfortable and stable platforms that put the passengers in the air with a view not available when flying in small fixed-wing aircrafts. Rates for the rides begin at just under $300 for an hour-long excursion.
Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.