Chicago Helicopter Tours FAQs

Q: Who are your pilots?
A: You will most likely fly with Nick or Chris. Check out their profiles here.

Q: What if I want a ride or tour that is not currently listed as one of your standard or signature tours?
A: We can collaborate with you on creating a custom tour. We can go anywhere within a 25 mile radius of Palwaukee/Chicago Executive Airport.

Q: How many people can I bring with me?
A: The helicopter seats four people at a time, one being the pilot. That leaves three seats for you and two others.

Q: Are there any restrictions on who can ride?
A: You must be 16 or older, with valid photo ID, or accompanied by an adult. There is a 250 pounds per seat weight limit. Children must be at least 3 years old and cannot sit on a lap. Intoxicated passengers cannot fly.

Q: What is the best thing to wear as a passenger in your helicopter?
A: Flying in the helicopter is kind of like riding in a car in a couple ways. You will have to wear a seatbelt. In winter we have cabin heating to keep you warm. In summer we sometimes remove the doors to keep you cool, which kind of feels like riding in a convertible. (Don’t worry; you will not fall out.) To play it safe, dress in layers. If you want to take pictures, consider wearing something dark to reduce the glare of your clothes’ reflections in the plexiglass.

Q: Will I get to wear a headset like the pilot does?
A: Yes. All passengers get to wear pilot headsets for two-way communication. This lets you hear what the pilot has to say, talk to other passengers and ask questions.

Q: How can I assure that I get a window seat?
A: Unlike other helicopter operators we do not have middle seats. All our seats are window seats. You may want to call “shotgun” on the single seat next to the pilot or sit with a loved one in the back seats.

Q: How high do you usually fly?
A: We fly between 700-1000 feet above ground, high enough for a fantastic view and low enough to stay out of O’Hare’s air space.

Q: To remain safe around the chopper, what are the dos and don’ts?
A: Don’ts: Never run around the back of the helicopter, the hot exhaust might burn you, the tail rotor (almost invisible when spinning) may chop you in pieces. Never drop any objects from the helicopter. If you lose an item (smartphone, sunglasses) from the helicopter, you may hit someone or something on the ground or possibly damage the tail rotor of the helicopter, and the tail rotor matters a lot.

Dos: Follow the instructions given to you by the ground crew and the pilot. You don’t need to duck while boarding the helicopter. Bring a camera. Have a great time.

Q: In case of an emergency, is the helicopter prepared to make a water landing?
A: Our helicopter is equipped with pop-up floats, so it can safely land on water, if it ever has to.

Q: What model helicopter do you fly?
A: We fly an American made Robinson R44 Clipper I equipped with pop-up floats. The helicopter has a Lycoming piston engine. The R44 can fly as fast as 150 mph and as high as 14,000 ft. Learn more about the helicopter here.

Q: Do you also offer tours from other metro Chicago airports?
A: Not yet. However we do offer flights from our sister site Midwestern Helicopter in Kenosha, WI, where we also offer flight instruction.

Q: Can you give my friends and I a ride to Soldier Field or Wrigley Field on game day?
A: Unfortunately, no. To keep everyone safe, the FAA issues temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) on game days. We have to stay away from those venues well before and during the game.

Q: Can you fly over my campus?
A: We can fly over Northwestern University as part of the Northern Chicago Tour and Loyola University campuses as part of the Lakefront Tour, as well as many of the high school campuses within 25 miles of Palwaukee.

Q: Why are these tours so pricey?
A: You might be surprised to learn that a high percentage of our fees merely cover operating costs. The helicopter runs on pricey low lead “av gas” (aviation gas). Also, for optimal safety, many parts of our helicopter are replaced often, more often than one might replace similar parts in cars. The cool news is, because the helicopter soars between 100 and 130 miles/hour, you will see a lot in a short amount of time. Also, you will be much closer to the ground and tall buildings than you would be in most airplanes.

Q: Do you have frequent flyer rates?
A: Yes. If you fly more than 10 hours/year, we can cut you a deal. If you buy a large number of gift certificates, perhaps as corporate gifts or incentives, we can cut you a deal. If you are a photographer, real estate agent or other professional, who needs to fly on a regular basis, contact us and we can cut you a deal.