A tourist wearing a headset takes a picture on her phone as she looks out the window of a helicopter.

Are Helicopter Tours Safe?

You see helicopter tours flying around some of the most popular tourist hotspots. Signs and flyers advertise their exciting experience with views you won’t find anywhere else. Some will even offer budget-friendly specials to attract customers. However, saving a few bucks will likely be the last thing on your mind when putting your life in another person’s hands.

Today, we’ll explore helicopter tours and whether they’re safe enough to trust with your life. Let’s get started! 

A tourist wearing a headset takes a picture on her phone as she looks out the window of a helicopter.

What Are Helicopter Tours?

Helicopter tours are a common sight around some of the best tourist spots. These services offer short flights that typically last 15 to 30 minutes around cities, wildlife, and the most incredible landscapes imaginable. These tours provide an exciting adventure for tourists to enjoy a unique view of the area without having to fight crowds.

A popular helicopter tour in New York City takes you to view the Statue of Liberty.

Because helicopters can easily access some locations, you can see places that aren’t as easy to reach. You can enjoy some epic views without hiking miles to the top of a mountain.

Where Can You Take a Helicopter Tour?

You can take helicopter tours worldwide in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil, Victoria Falls in Zambia, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Tour by helicopter is an amazing way to see the landscape of Kauai.

However, if you’re looking for some of the best helicopter tours in the United States, you’ll find them in New York City, the Grand Canyon, and all over Hawaii. Helicopter tours are typically near popular tourist destinations.

Are you one of the tourists killing the coral reefs?🪸

Are Helicopter Tours Safe?

Helicopter tours are safe, but you’re only as secure as the helicopter is maintained or as good as the pilot’s abilities. There have been some well-known helicopter accidents in recent years, which leads many to feel that helicopter tours are unsafe. We’d like to say that helicopter tours are safe, but the stats don’t necessarily agree.

Research from the National Transportation Safety Board reveals that 54 commercial helicopter crashes occurred on the Hawaiian islands from 1984 to 2022. Of these 54 crashes, 57 people died.

However, statistics show that crashes and fatalities are declining as authorities enforce more and more restrictions and requirements. 

How Risky Is a Helicopter Ride?

Helicopters are no different than any other type of transportation; things can go wrong unexpectedly. Some things are simply out of the helicopter tour company’s control, but having an experienced pilot can minimize the risks.

Having an experienced pilot can minimize the risks of a helicopter ride.

In general, there are 9.84 crashes per 100,000 hours of flight time. Compared to the 7.28 crashes per 100,000 hours for airplanes, it’s easy to see that helicopters are much more dangerous than airplanes.

However, choosing a reputable company that hires high-quality pilots and maintains their choppers for your helicopter ride will reduce potential risks.

How Many Helicopter Deaths Occur Per Year?

Helicopter deaths have been declining in recent years. The number of fatal accidents has dropped by more than 20%, with a 2.6% reduction in overall accidents. In 2020, 94 helicopter crashes occurred in the United States, compared to 121 the previous year. Of those 94 helicopter crashes, 19 were fatal.

Not only did 2020 show a decline in helicopter crashes and deaths, but the United States went 107 days without an accident involving a fatality. Awareness around helicopter safety has helped to reduce these critical numbers. If numbers continue to trend downwards, more and more people might be willing to consider enjoying helicopter tours.

Why Do Helicopters Crash More Than Airplanes?

There are several reasons helicopters crash more than airplanes. For instance, helicopters are often for riskier situations. Many rescues and other hard-to-reach locations involve helicopters getting near objects and other dangerous conditions.

Helicopters often fly much lower than airplanes while navigating. A minor error during these situations could mean certain death to the pilot and any passengers.

Take-offs and landings are very dangerous for both airplanes and helicopters.

Due to how helicopters get used, this often requires more frequent landings and take-offs. Take-offs and landings are very dangerous for both airplanes and helicopters. So the more you do them, the more you increase the chances of an accident. Planes often land on long runways with very few objects that pilots must avoid.

Helicopters often crash more than airplanes because of weather conditions, too. Inclement weather can affect planes and helicopters, but most helicopters cannot fly high enough to avoid the weather. As weather can be unpredictable, the weather conditions can change quickly and create a dangerous situation for helicopter pilots.

Is a Helicopter Tour Worth it?

A helicopter tour is a great way to experience an area and make memories with your loved ones. The odds of being involved in a helicopter accident aren’t exceptionally high, so you generally do not need to worry.

However, you should always do your best to read reviews and make an informed decision when selecting a helicopter tour service. You’re putting your life in their hands, and since you only get one, you don’t want to trust just anyone with it.

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