Clambering into the seat of a helicopter to go for a sky-high tour above any location is an invigorating experience, and something that everyone ought to do at least once during their lifetime. Of course, a common misconception about hopping aboard one of these vehicles is that it's an experience designed solely for thrill-seekers, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Whilst riding in a helicopter is undoubtedly thrilling, it can't be considered in the same context as a roller-coaster or fairground ride. This is something that provides you with an opportunity of a lifetime. Helicopter tours are suitable for everyone in good health, and if you're having misgivings about hopping aboard, all you need to do is know how to prepare yourself in the right way, and what to expect when you're up there.
What to Expect
Keep in mind that there will be a good amount of noise during your flight. However, many helicopter tours will provide you with headphones which allow you to communicate with fellow passengers and your pilot, and will also ensure that the noise is kept to a minimum. It's always handy to bring aboard a pair of ear plugs just in case.
Remember that your pilot will be there to reassure you every single step of the way. They may politely ask you to remain silent during take-off and landing to allow them to concentrate to the best of their ability, but otherwise feel free to discuss absolutely anything with them. It's not just their job to fly a helicopter after all, it's also their job to make sure that you enjoy yourself too. This is a tour for fun after all.
What's also useful to know is that the whole sensation is not at all like an airplane or theme park ride. Riding in a helicopter is more akin to the sensation you experience in an elevator, only this time you'll be moving from side to side as well as up and down. Don't worry about speed; it won't feel as though you're going particularly fast when you're up there.
Before You Ride
Before you jump aboard, engage with your pilot and talk to them. If you mention that you're having misgivings or are a little afraid of the prospect of being extremely high up, they'll go easy on you and make sure not to swerve or turn too rapidly. They can tell you what sort of route they'll be taking, what you can expect to see when you're up there, and what the sensation of the whole ride will be like.
If you're prone to motion sickness, ask your pilot if it's possible for you to sit in a forward-facing seat or alongside the pilot themselves. This won't always be possible as the helicopter needs to be balanced in terms of weight, but every pilot will always do their best to accommodate your needs. If you're particularly concerned about facing forward, then you can ask to hop on a flight where it would indeed be possible.
Weather plays a big part in what sort of sensation you'll experience during your helicopter ride. Many tours companies avoid taking flight in problematic weather, but others are more open. If you're feeling particularly nervous, it's certainly within your best interests to wait for a clear, sunny day with minimum wind, as this will provide the smoothest flight experience.
In Your Seat
Dressing appropriately can help to ensure that you're comfortable when you finally get into your seat. Wearing long trousers and a light jacket is recommended, and any loose jewelry should be left at base. Long hair will need to be tied it back in a ponytail.
It's always a great idea to take some pictures or video whilst you're up there, but if you're feeling a little too apprehensive you can always pass the camera along to a fellow passenger to take some footage for you. A good idea is to use a camera that doesn't require you to peer through a viewfinder, as this can create nausea.
Bring a small bottle of water aboard for the trip to sip at regular intervals, and bring a handful of chewy sweets to chomp down on during take-off. This will help to keep you relaxed and prevent the onset of motion sickness by maintaining your inner ear balance.
When you get into your seat, find your comfort zone, rearrange your legs, take three deep breaths, and buckle up your seat belt. The pilot will thoroughly explain the emergency procedures, and make sure that you're listening intently whilst they do. If this discussion makes you feel a little intense, it's handy to remember that helicopters are remarkably safe.