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Why no heli tours over Yosemite and Yellowstone?

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#1 chris pochari

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 03:23

I've always wondered why some national parks, Grand Canyon and Hawaii have such a developed heli tour industry whereas others such as Yellowstone or Yosemite just to name a few have no air tour industry what so ever. Is it because of regulations, national parks or FAA? Or could it be due to a lack of infrastructure and also the very high altitudes? My understanding is the Grand Canyon is at high altitude, so what stops air tours in other National parks? I just mentioned Yosemite and Yellowstone but many others such as Glacier national park, Zion, Grand Teton etc come to mind as well. 

Any thoughts?


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#2 Hobie

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 07:27

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#3 WolftalonID

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 12:04

You mean you have never seen a photo flight over these parks? :)
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#4 chris pochari

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 19:04

You mean you have never seen a photo flight over these parks? :)

I mean there are no air tours like Grand Canyon, Hawaii etc. I was in Vegas for HAI 2018 and I must have seen twenty EC130s fly over from the Grand Canyon, there is nothing like that in any other National park. Imagine if every National park had an air tour industry as developed as Hawaii or Grand Canyon how many jobs there would be for low hour pilots!



#5 Eric Hunt

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 19:23

 

 

 Imagine if every National park had an air tour industry as developed as Hawaii or Grand Canyon how many jobs there would be for low hour pilots!

 

Imagine how many noise complaints would come from the greenies/hikers/campers/rangers/wild bears in the woods trying to have a quiet .... well, you know.

 

In Oz many national parks are no-fly areas.



#6 Hobie

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 20:26

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#7 overtorque

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 21:07

Disregarding obvious noise complaints, I bet another big reason is that there just isn't a large enough aviation industry in the area to support it.


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#8 chris pochari

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 00:16

 

Imagine how many noise complaints would come from the greenies/hikers/campers/rangers/wild bears in the woods trying to have a quiet .... well, you know.

 

In Oz many national parks are no-fly areas.

I never took a stance on noise, i'm simply saying that without the Grand Canyon or Hawaii there wouldn't be much of a heli tour industry, and no jobs for new pilots. Considering the preoccupation with finding jobs on this forum I'm surprised to see people with negative opinions of the air tour industry. Offshore has a grim future due to peak oil demand, EMS is oversaturated and will see little growth, utility is depressed especially in Canada due to the commodity slump and other areas of the rotary industry such as surveying, crop dusting and ENG face disruption from drones. The air tour industry at least seems to have a bright future, considering the growth of international tourism. 



#9 r22butters

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 10:22

I never took a stance on noise, i'm simply saying that without the Grand Canyon or Hawaii there wouldn't be much of a heli tour industry, and no jobs for new pilots. Considering the preoccupation with finding jobs on this forum I'm surprised to see people with negative opinions of the air tour industry. Offshore has a grim future due to peak oil demand, EMS is oversaturated and will see little growth, utility is depressed especially in Canada due to the commodity slump and other areas of the rotary industry such as surveying, crop dusting and ENG face disruption from drones. The air tour industry at least seems to have a bright future, considering the growth of international tourism.


The Grand Canyon and Hawaii (especially Hawaii) aren't jobs for new pilots, they're jobs for pilots with at leat 1,000 hours (a lot more for Hawaii) and that's if you're one of the lucky few chosen from the two hour line at Helisuccess to talk with Papillon!?

If Yosemite opened up like the Canyon it would too most likely only be for pilots fortunate enough (or unfortunate, depends on how you look at it) to get to that somewhat magic number of 1,000?

,...plus you have to deal with the general public, so, you know, there's that:(
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#10 chris pochari

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 18:39

The Grand Canyon and Hawaii (especially Hawaii) aren't jobs for new pilots, they're jobs for pilots with at leat 1,000 hours (a lot more for Hawaii) and that's if you're one of the lucky few chosen from the two hour line at Helisuccess to talk with Papillon!?

If Yosemite opened up like the Canyon it would too most likely only be for pilots fortunate enough (or unfortunate, depends on how you look at it) to get to that somewhat magic number of 1,000?

,...plus you have to deal with the general public, so, you know, there's that:(

Better than 2000 hours for EMS



#11 r22butters

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 22:24

Better than 2000 hours for EMS


EMS isn't anywhere near a job for a new pilot, so 2,000 hours is understandable,...if not a bit low from what I've read?

Taking fat tourists out for the same ride around the block (in between trips to the buffet) over and over again "should" be a job for new pilots, so 1,000 hours to do it is quite ridiculous!
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#12 chris pochari

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 23:22

EMS isn't anywhere near a job for a new pilot, so 2,000 hours is understandable,...if not a bit low from what I've read?

Taking fat tourists out for the same ride around the block (in between trips to the buffet) over and over again "should" be a job for new pilots, so 1,000 hours to do it is quite ridiculous!

If the operator has Hull insurance the insurance companies usually require 1000 hours or they'll have to pay a very high percentage of the hull value per year. Tour operators flying under part 135 have to carry 2 million in liability so I imagine that also increases the hour requirements. Plus the airport requirements, which can be quite high sometimes. Really it's the part 91.147 tour operators that give jobs to new pilots, a lot of small mom and pop single ship piston tour operations operate under part 91.147. I'm not aware of the insurance requirements for part 91.147, it's probably less than Part 135. The hour requirements reflect the demands of the insurance companies more than operators, at least that's what I've heard. 



#13 r22butters

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 23:45

Most of those part 91 tour operators want 500 hours, so you're getting closer.

Sad to say its generally only flight schools giving jobs to new pilots, and that's only if you continue on to instructor training.

Still, from what I've seen cfis to A LOT of photo flights, so I guess that's something new pilots could do at Yosemite,...if there was a school within R22 distance?
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The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#14 chris pochari

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 00:05

Most of those part 91 tour operators want 500 hours, so you're getting closer.

Sad to say its generally only flight schools giving jobs to new pilots, and that's only if you continue on to instructor training.

Still, from what I've seen cfis to A LOT of photo flights, so I guess that's something new pilots could do at Yosemite,...if there was a school within R22 distance?

From what I understand Part 91 only requires the PIC to have 150 hours (part 135 is 500), the other 350 hours must be either insurance or the operator's preference. 



#15 METT-TC

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 11:45

I suspect that the remoteness of the locales and lack of areas to land has a good portion to do with no (or little) viable air tour industry in many of those locales. Denali has (or had) a couple helos outside the park entrance during the summer and it is remote. But it also has a VERY significant cruise line package presence in what we call "glitter gulch"/built up hotel area outside the park entrance.

 

Yosemite has several significant towns on the west side, but none that would be labelled vacation destinations. Mammoth Lakes is vacation worthy on the east side, but not a significant $$$ locale. Then landing in (nope) / or near the park is another issue. Yellowstone and others suffer even worse.

A somewhat viable tour business could be built up in some of these locations, but it would not be low hanging fruit like Vegas to GC / Hawaii, and would take deep pockets to establish imo.


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#16 Wally

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 15:37

The Grand Canyon and Hawaii (especially Hawaii) aren't jobs for new pilots, they're jobs for pilots with at leat 1,000 hours (a lot more for Hawaii) and that's if you're one of the lucky few chosen from the two hour line at Helisuccess to talk with Papillon!?


A 1000 hour pilot is a NEW pilot. Not freakishly unusual to fly more than that in a single year. You don't think that a single year is enough, do you?

Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#17 Azhigher

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 17:28

Better not give those tour jobs to new pilots, instead let's keep them local to train the next generation. Once they do 1000+ autos then and ONLY THEN should they be allowed to fly giant figure 8's in the sky.

 

/s



#18 chris pochari

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 17:45

I suspect that the remoteness of the locales and lack of areas to land has a good portion to do with no (or little) viable air tour industry in many of those locales. Denali has (or had) a couple helos outside the park entrance during the summer and it is remote. But it also has a VERY significant cruise line package presence in what we call "glitter gulch"/built up hotel area outside the park entrance.

 

Yosemite has several significant towns on the west side, but none that would be labelled vacation destinations. Mammoth Lakes is vacation worthy on the east side, but not a significant $$$ locale. Then landing in (nope) / or near the park is another issue. Yellowstone and others suffer even worse.

A somewhat viable tour business could be built up in some of these locations, but it would not be low hanging fruit like Vegas to GC / Hawaii, and would take deep pockets to establish imo.

Great points



#19 BH206L3

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 17:23

Well, I didn't want to weigh in on this because I really don't care about it. The Canyon tours got started really by accident in the mid-1960's it was a different time, people were more tolerant of such things, they are pretty much grandfathered in now. Hawaii has the volcanos. Both places have a huge tourist base to draw from. My guess Yellowstone because of a very short season, is not very economic. Yosemite is the same. You could try, my guess it would cost more money than most would want to spend for very little gain. Most tour type operations come and go on a regular basis. And yeah I know you young pilots are looking to build time, and it's like pulling teeth. I understand that. The bottom line if you can't make a profit then there is no point. Flight Instruct, get on with Temsco, or one of the operators at the Canyon or Vegas and go from there. no easy path and I don't think it's going to get any easier for you anytime soon. I don't buy the pilot shortage business, I been hearing about that one for the almost 43 years that I been flying both airplanes and helicopters. It's a tough road to walk being a professional pilot.


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#20 chris pochari

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 19:01

Well, I didn't want to weigh in on this because I really don't care about it. The Canyon tours got started really by accident in the mid-1960's it was a different time, people were more tolerant of such things, they are pretty much grandfathered in now. Hawaii has the volcanos. Both places have a huge tourist base to draw from. My guess Yellowstone because of a very short season, is not very economic. Yosemite is the same. You could try, my guess it would cost more money than most would want to spend for very little gain. Most tour type operations come and go on a regular basis. And yeah I know you young pilots are looking to build time, and it's like pulling teeth. I understand that. The bottom line if you can't make a profit then there is no point. Flight Instruct, get on with Temsco, or one of the operators at the Canyon or Vegas and go from there. no easy path and I don't think it's going to get any easier for you anytime soon. I don't buy the pilot shortage business, I been hearing about that one for the almost 43 years that I been flying both airplanes and helicopters. It's a tough road to walk being a professional pilot.

You make a good point on how the tour operations in Grandcanyon and Hawaii were essentially "grandfathered" in. They got started before the regulations were put in place and the FAA couldn't just shut down the entire industry. Whereas other national parks never had a tour industry to begin with even before the regulations. 


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