What’s the Best Hour for a Helicopter Tour? 5 Factors

A helicopter tour of Southern California is a unique and romantic way to see the sights of this famous and historic area. But what time of day should you head out for your airborne sightseeing trip? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, here are five key factors to help you find the right time so that you enjoy your time in the helicopter.

1. Weather Issues

Any air travel is highly dependent on the weather. So you want the best and most conducive weather for your trip. Many pilots find that the winds are at their calmest during morning and evening hours. But these hours — particularly in the morning — might also allow for fog or cloudy conditions over the ocean. Keep these factors in mind as you schedule your appointment.

2. The Sun’s Position

The sun will obviously be a defining part of your tour, no matter what time you choose. An evening tour could be a much more romantic flight time as the sun sets over the majestic Pacific Ocean and all the coastal landmarks. The sun might, though, get in the way of some photos — especially if you want to take one in the direction of the setting sun. A high sun could, instead, provide clearer lighting.

Photographers often recognize the value of the golden hour just before sunset and just after dawn. These are times when natural sunlight is softer, leading to a different look in photographs than at other times. Depending on what you want to record, you may want to take this into consideration.

3. Your Sightseeing Goals

What do you want from your tour? Nighttime tours can be magical and beautiful, causing many people to opt for the dark hours. But you won’t be able to see things as clearly, leaving out details like architecture and coloration. If this is your only chance to see the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles or the rugged Malibu coastline, are you okay with potentially sacrificing your views?

Daytime tours, on the other hand, may not provide the romantic first view you want of the city. Visitors to any city are sometimes disillusioned by the mundane aspects of daily city life. In this case, focusing on the colorful city night lights could be the best introduction possible.

4. Air Restrictions

Talk with your tour service about potential restrictions as to where the pilot may take you. While certain areas — such around airports or government institutions — commonly have restricted airspace at all times, other sights are occasionally restricted during particular events.

If there is a baseball game, for instance, you may not be able to get close to Dodger Stadium. Similarly, temporary restrictions may be put into place when a VIP is being transported or there is a hazardous emergency.

5. Your Schedule

Even with all these factors, your choices may be limited by your own schedule. If you want to take your spouse on a romantic ride for your anniversary, you may have to be back before that big party your family has planned. Or you might only have an evening off from work.

A helicopter ride is supposed to be fun, so don’t ruin that enjoyment by stressing about fitting it into your schedule just to try to get the perfect shot.

Balancing all these pieces of the puzzle will help you pick a great time to go up in the air. Ask for suggestions from an experienced tour company and its pilots. At Lite Flight Helicopters, we know the Los Angeles area well. Call today to talk with our pros about the best times for your own tour goals.