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Should you do a private helicopter tour if you’re afraid of flying or heights?

A private helicopter tour can be an incredible experience, with the opportunity to see astounding sights and famous landmarks from the perfect vantage point in the air. You’ll make lifetime memories with a London Helicopter flight.

However, if you have a fear of heights or a fear of flying, the thought of a helicopter flight could fill you with dread, rather than enjoyment.

Helicopter flight

Should you do a private helicopter tour if you’re afraid of flying?

While some people believe taking a flight on a private helicopter may help to cure their fear of flying, others could think of nothing more terrifying.

‘Flying’ on a flight simulator may help to assuage any fears, as you can get used to the experience without going on a ‘real’ flight.  Once you have experienced a flight simulator, you may feel ready to move on to a ‘real’ flight in a private helicopter.

If you do choose to experience a tour, some key points to be aware of include:

  • Space – the cabin of a helicopter is a lot smaller than standard planes, so bear this in mind if feeling constricted contributes to your fear of flying
  • Seating – the front seat of the helicopter is the most ‘exposed’, as you have the widest field of vision. Consider sitting further back in the cockpit if it is your first flight and gradually build your confidence
  • Noise – a helicopter flight can get quite noisy with the air drag and the sound of the rotor blades. Wearing the headphones provided – or a pair of earplugs – may make you feel more comfortable
  • View/visibility – you will be able to see much more from a helicopter than you can from a plane
  • Bumpy/swooping feeling – helicopter flights are often not as smooth as those in an aeroplane, due to the smaller size of the aircraft

If you do have a fear of flying, choosing a private helicopter tour rather than a public one is a good idea, as this will mean that it is only you and your chosen guest (s) onboard. If you choose a public flight, you’re likely to have to share the cabin with others, which may not be advisable if you are particularly nervous.

Always advise your helicopter flight operator ahead of time if you or any of your group are afraid of flying, as they can ensure the pilot is aware. They can then ensure that they explain all aspects of the flight and the take off and landing process to you, which may help to alleviate your fears.

Should you do a private helicopter tour if you’re afraid of heights?

A fear of heights and a fear of flying are different things. For many, a fear of heights is not really to do with being up high, rather they fear falling from a height. Understanding the physics of what keeps an aeroplane or helicopter in the air can help with rationalising the fear, so it may help to learn the basics of how aircraft take off, fly and land.

It has been suggested that vertigo tends to occur primarily when you can actually see what’s attaching you to (or separating you from) the ground, such as when you’re walking over a high bridge, or climbing a mountain, as you can instantly see how far it is to ‘fall’. Based on this thought, many who are afraid of heights are not afraid of flying at all, as there is no visible ‘attachment’.

If your fear of heights is particularly prevalent when you are in an open space, such as climbing a ladder or a tall building, you may be perfectly fine in a helicopter – the only way to know for sure is to take that flight.

Also remember that many pilots are afraid of heights!  They are often more likely than average to have this fear, as their sharp visual imagination – essential to becoming a skilled pilot – can actually exacerbate a fear of heights.  

The pre-flight safety briefing is also the ideal time to ask any questions or discuss any particular concerns you may have with regards to your flight, prior to take off.

If you have any concerns or queries, please contact us prior to your flight.

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