Papillon Grand Canyon National Park Chopper Rides to the South Rim
Papillon Helicopters, one of the biggest suppliers of air tours on this planet, flies to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. This is a quick account of my awesome trip.
There had been six of us. We remained at El Tovar in Grand Canyon Village, which is based in the boundaries of the National Park. I strongly suggest this particular hotel. It may be pricey, but it's worth it because you are seconds from the rim's edge.
I think you are able to make arrangements with Papillon to be picked up. Otherwise, you are able to organize a pick up at the transportation desk inside the Bright Angel Lodge. I leased a Chevy Tahoe for our getaway. I packed the gang inside and made the 10-minute drive to Grand Canyon Airport.
The airport is located just outside Tusayan. You can't overlook it. There's a lot of activity. Helicopters as well as planes arrive and depart from it frequently. The Papillon terminal is the largest. I parked the SUV and got us checked in (incidentally, the coffee there is delicious!).
The climate is very pleasant. I met plenty of fellow travellers from Germany, Canada, and also the United Kingdom. The reception is cozy. We had been up late last night so I slipped in a power nap. I woke up to my sister tugging on my jacket and telling me it was time to fly.
Helis hold up to six individuals (if you weigh more than 275 pounds you may be asked to buy what they refer to as a "comfort seat."). As this was family, I upgraded each of us to the EcoStar 130, which features 25% more cabin room, theater-style seating, as well as a 180-degree wraparound windshield for far better views.
I also reserved us on the prolonged flight. Papillon Helicopter's typical South Rim chopper flight is half an hour. That's plenty for the majority of people. I estimate that what you see in half an hour would need several days on the ground. But I desired more (it isn't every day you fly the canyon), so I went with a excursion that gave us between 45-50 minutes of airtime.
Take off was amazing. Our chopper, nose forward, roared from the runway as well as made a low-altitude trip over Kaibab National Forest, which hosts the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the world. In ten minutes, we said good-bye to the edge and found ourselves front and center in the Dragoon Corridor, the widest and deepest section of the Grand Canyon.
It was an incredible sight. The Colorado River was beneath us. So was the Temple of Ra. The buttes and spires were unique. There wasn't a cloud on the skyline. Our pilot described that our field of vision was approximately 140 miles in comparison to 30 for folks on the surface! The chopper powered on to the stately North Rim. Here we turned back, taking in Hopi Point and Grand Canyon Village as we made our descent.
Papillon documents all flights using digital cameras on the exterior as well as inside of the chopper. I recommend you buy a copy of your getaway on DVD. I did so. The quality was excellent. I made duplicates for everyone. They loved it. Certainly a great reminder of our heli excursion.
Papillon Helicopters Grand Canyon South Rim excursion gets two thumbs up from us. This was a excursion of the South Rim. I'm glad we did the extended trip. The extra airtime was worth the cost. Our guide was great and entertained us with facts and anecdotes of the region. He made the destination come alive for us. This had been certainly a trip highlight for my clan as well as me. We'll undoubtedly be doing this air trip again.
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