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Grand Canyon Airlines

Washington DC...
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Grand Canyon Airlines

We will be visiting the South Rim in mid-May.

We are considering taking the 45 minute flight on their twin turboprop airplane. I know there is much debate about this but I believe their planes are much quieter than any commercial helicopter. They apparently changed the prop from a 3-bland to a 4-blade to make that quieter.

Think the helicopters might still go below the rim of the canyon but this isn't an issue for us as we will be doing the overnight mule ride down to the river.

I think this trip may cover more area than the helicopters -- out to the east, over the North Rim/plateau, and then back. Also I believe the helicopters have tinted glass so that makes picture taking more difficult. This plane has large, clear windows (and air conditioning).

I was thinking of reserving for a 3 PM flight as there will be more shadows that might make the view better than mid-day but the sun will be still fairly high in the sky since the sun sets at about 7:25 then.

Any suggestions, please.

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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1. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

I would do a morning flight to get the smoother air over the canyon, and before the colors wash out mid day. As the day wears on and the canyon heats up, the air gets more unstable.

The newer Ecostar helicopters are pretty quiet,you might want to look into that. And no they do not fly below the rim.

I like the helicopters because they fly lower than the planes. If you do the 50 minute tour versus the 30 minute tour, you will see much more of the canyon.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

Morning flights are better for color and less turbulence. Helicopters offer better visibility than planes IMO. None are permitted below the rim.

Evanston, Wyoming
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for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

As usual, Dez40 and RedRox have given good advice armed with the correct information. Here's my 2 cents:

<<their planes are much quieter than any commercial helicopter>> Not necessarily. The Eco-Star EC130 helicopter, the newer helicopter, was expressly built for the air tourism industry. One of the specifications was that it be quieter than any aircraft previously flown over the Grand Canyon. See below for a video you might find useful.

<<Think the helicopters might still go below the rim of the canyon>> They fly at 8,000' ASL, so that's 1000' above the South Rim but even with the North Rim. The airplanes are required to fly 1,000' higher.

<<I think this trip may cover more area than the helicopters -- out to the east, over the North Rim/plateau, and then back>> Yes and no - you can do a 45-50 minute helicopter flight that will be virtually identical in length and routing to the Grand Discovery Airplane Tour. However, the airplanes, by virtue of having a higher flight altitude, will give you more of a "bird's eye" perspective of the canyon as it relates to the surrounding landscape.

<<I believe the helicopters have tinted glass so that makes picture taking more difficult. This plane has large, clear windows (and air conditioning)>> Both Grand Canyon tour aircraft have air conditioning, and windows conducive to picture taking. Here's a video that discusses the difference between planes and helicopters ->: http://youtu.be/HW-SWsVeqLA Another video you might find useful is this one ->: http://youtu.be/VCjDWZwJ67s It features an executive of Papillon Helicopters discussing the features of the Eco-Star EC130 and why it is so well suited to aerial sightseeing.

<<I was thinking of reserving for a 3 PM flight as there will be more shadows>> Yes, there will be more shadows, but there will also be more wind, which means more turbulence. Try to reschedule your flight for the morning, 8 or 9 AM. Cooler temperatures equal smoother flights.

Long story short, whether you choose a plane or helicopter, either one will be a great experience that will show you areas of the Grand Canyon you couldn't otherwise see. Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Cape Town Central...
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4. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

What's the best value for money option?

Flight from Vegas or from Grand Canyon airport?

Helicopter or aeroplane?

Cape Town Central...
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5. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

What's the best value for money option?

Flight from Vegas or from Grand Canyon airport?

Helicopter or aeroplane?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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6. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

The economics are simple it costs less to maintain the turboprop & it carries more passengers...researching and personal choice now becomes the OP's responsibility...carracar

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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7. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

No helicopters fly from Vegas to the south rim at the National Park.They go to the west rim on tribal land. The views there pale in comparison to the National Park.

You can fly in an airplane from Vegas to the south rim, then add a helicopter option to fly above the canyon.

The best value is to see the real Grand Canyon at the National Park, whether by air or ground.

Consider renting a car and spending a night at the canyon, to see it at its best, at sunset and sunrise.

www.grandcanyonlodges.com

Evanston, Wyoming
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8. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

@ Robert B: "bang for the buck" wise, Grand Canyon Airlines' Grand Discovery Air Tour is the best value for the money. You see a lot of not only the Grand Canyon but the surrounding landscape by virtue of being 1,000' higher than you would in a helicopter. This tour departs from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN) in Tusayan/Grand Canyon Village South, just outside the South Rim park entrance. Flights are conducted on 18-passenger deHavilland Twin Otters; duration is about 45-50 minutes and prices start at $120 for advance booking. Here's a video featuring testimonials from guests who took this particular tour, which also has some good aerial footage ->: http://youtu.be/hIAczob8Owk

Edited: 04 June 2012, 17:37
9. Re: Grand Canyon Airlines

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