Things to do in Colorado : Helicopter Tours

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Connecting Breckenridge with neighboring resorts of Keystone and Copper Mountain as well as the towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Dillon

HELICOPTER TOURS

Helicopter Tours









Royal Gorge Helitours
719-276-9038


Exhilarating music plays in your headset as your helicopter lifts vertically off the helipad. You feel a sense of freedom and thrill only found in a helicopter! Seconds later, your experienced pilot guides you over the canyon rim to reveal a breathtaking drop of nearly one thousand feet to the raging Arkansas River below. This is no airplane ride. You flight is surprisingly smooth as you take in the world famous suspension bridge. Hanging a majestic 956 feet high and spanning a quarter mile across the gorge, this perspective demonstrates the incredible accomplishment of this structure. From the scenic touring to the ultimate vertical adventure, we have something for everyone.

Tour pilots Eli Plavney and Will Sanders have years of Colorado helicopter touring experience in the Pikes Peak region. Come let them show you the ultimate helicopter thrill of the Royal Gorge Canyon and bridge from a helicopter!" Three years ago, we took a ride with then pilot Mike Pond. Here's a taste of what that felt like.

For the past 17 years, Mike Pond has provided thrill seekers with a unique perspective of the Royal Gorge that can only be experienced from the seat of his Bell Long Ranger jet helicopter. From the slightly less than mild short trip around the bridge, to the hair-raising wild full length tour of the Gorge, Mike has something for everyone.Walk-ins are welcome at the little helipad, located near the top of 8-Mile Hill, west of Caņon City. Anticipation is the word of the day for guests that await their turn as the sound of rotating blades rattle the windows as the bright red chopper touches down just outside the doorway.

Strapped into the front seat across from Mike, the engine revs and suddenly we're airborne, heading south toward the east end of the Gorge. Classic rock music plays through my headset as Mike prepares his guests for the thrill to come. "We're nearing the east edge of the Gorge and then we'll have a 1,500' drop to the bottom". He's already warned us that if the trip gets too intense, just let him know and he'll mellow it out, ...but we've come for the Full Monty and none of us are quite ready to chicken out...yet!

Instantly we're pointed straight to the heavens, climbing fast, right before Mike noses the chopper into an impossibly steep dive that puts my head against the ceiling and my stomach in my throat. A yell of encouragement comes from one of the backseat passengers as we zip downward at nearly 150 M.P.H. toward the Arkansas River. Me, I'm pressed against the back of the seat, my body straining against the safety belt, and can only blurt out a few guttural animal sounds as we careen toward the river, straight toward the deck, before the chopper pulls up and leaves us feeling weightless in the seats.

Passengers in rubber rafts below us, oblivious to the stomachs rolling above them, wave their paddles to the air as we begin another ascent. This time we head over to a small saddle where the Royal Gorge Bridge comes into view. But that breathtaking scene is simply the calm before the storm and it doesn't last long before we begin climbing again!Circling up through the Gorge, mere feet from the steep rock walls, I wonder what exactly is keeping my shoes from punching holes through the floorboards and how I'll ever get the color back into my knuckles as the chopper gains enough altitude to skim over the south side of the bridge. And then it's another hard roll to the right, and the helicopter darts through an incredibly narrow ravine that leads us back to the river and home to the helipad.

It is truly a thrill seekers dream come true, a roller coaster ride sans the track, where every twist and turn comes at the whim of this pilot with over 40 years and thousands of hours of flight experience. It's not a ride for the weak hearted, that is, unless you ask for it to be, but then you'll have cheated yourself from experiencing the thrill of a lifetime!


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