MAVERICK / Mustang Helicopters
TOUR REVIEW: 10/07/2014
I just returned from another awesome trip to Las Vegas to do further research on helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon. I call it research but it’s really just to have fun. On this trip, I arrived at Mustang Helicopters in Henderson which is a short 20 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. Of course as part of the tour, they provide complimentary transportation (within a 5 mile radius of the Las Vegas Strip) to and from the terminal in elegant busses.
In case you forgot, Mustang Helicopters is a division of Maverick Aviation Group, which also owns Maverick Helicopters, so they adhere to the same rigorous maintenance, safety, and pilot training programs that have earned them a spot in the ‘Best of Vegas 2014 – Las Vegas Review-Journal Poll’.
The first thing that caught my eye as I entered the facility was a very shiny model of a Turbomeca Ariel 2B1 helicopter engine as another statement of excellence. I got an immediate feeling of competence the moment I entered. If they put this much pride into the front end, you know it follows through to meticulous practices throughout.
Check-in was a breeze. They were expecting me and prepared with the appropriate documentation and an easy sign in procedure. Step on the weight scale, remember we said that the weight load and distribution for a helicopter is important, sign any relevant papers, watch informational videos about traveling in a helicopter and have a seat to wait for your pilot to call your name for boarding. A professional photographer comes out to take a picture of you standing by the helicopter just before boarding. My pilot was Daniel Green but we called him Danny. He quickly learned and remembered the names of all 7 passengers boarding the flight that day and found out where they were from. We had 2 women visiting America from Australia, a couple from Oklahoma on their anniversary, another couple from Scotland and me by myself because I can’t get my wife to fly in a helicopter anymore.
A pilot pre-check and up we went! On our way to the Grand Canyon, we flew over dry desert landscape, past the huge solar farm that powers a portion of Las Vegas, on to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam (a very impressive view of man’s ability to tame the natural flow of things), Fortification Hill, and all the while listening to Danny narrate geological facts and some history about Las Vegas.
Upon crossing the Grand Wash Cliffs, we started our decent into the depths of the geological history of the Grand Canyon. 3500 ft. down past close up views of layers of millions and millions of years of intriguing formations was awe inspiring. We scooted along the muddy Colorado River to the perfect landing spot on the Hualapai Indian Territory. Although this is part of the Grand Canyon, it is not part of the national park therefore US Government restrictions do not apply. Mustang Helicopters as well as all the other companies that land in the area pay a hefty fee to the tribe for the privilege of touching down. I must say the whole operation seemed ecologically responsible. What you bring in you take back out, even to the point of no restroom facilities available on site.
We found 3 picnic tables with shade where Danny brought out a light snack and champagne for those who wished to partake. 30 minutes of roaming around taking pictures, talking to each other and taking in the immense stature of the Grand Canyon walls and powerful flow of the river.
Here’s a Mustang feature I really liked: as we boarded the helicopter for the return flight, we changed seating. Those in the back moved into front seat positions giving everyone an opportunity to experience the real thrill of gliding through the air. Although the pilots do try and rotate all of the passengers through the front seats, it is not always possible. Each group is unique and sometimes safety of flight will not allow the passengers to be rotated. One more stop was made at the fuel farm before returning to the Henderson Terminal.
When the blades stopped spinning, we de-helied and walked toward the terminal. That’s when you give thanks for being back on solid ground and are more than happy to reward your pilot for his ability to get you there and back by giving a gratuity. I encourage you to be as generous as possible. Even though you probably think a helicopter pilot makes a ton of money, I’m sure the extra is well appreciated.
Once inside the terminal, we had the opportunity to purchase the professional picture taken before take-off. They also have a DVD of the actual flight if you are interested in a purchase.
I’m happy to say that Mustang gets high marks for providing a first class adventure.
PHIL DAVIS - Publisher of The Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour Guide
REVIEWS FROM PASSENGERS
Thank you for a fantastic trip to the Grand Canyon, a day none of us will ever forget. The whole day was an incredible experience, from the driver, to the reception staff, to your wonderful pilot, thank you so much.
From: Annika S., Sweden
Thank you Pilot Mat and Maverick Helicopters for a fantastic experience. I was a little bit worried before the ride -never flew a helicopter before. However your fantastic team and especially brilliant pilot Mat made me forget my worries in a second.My family and I had a wonderful time and a memory for life, Especially our 16-year old son - even though he tried to look cool ;) A very professional and overall serious impression, all joy..And again : a special thank you to the pilot for brilliant guiding and story-telling though whole flight!
From: Brent & Sarah W, Warwickshire UK
Thank you Maverick for a memory that we will never forget. Special thanks to our wonderful pilot Justin W. who alleviated any nerves we had about flying in a helicopter. Also his information on the area and his great music playlist all made the experience so amazing. We will never forget this trip. Thank you all so much, you were recommended to me by a friend and we will do the same to anyone we know who is thinking of visiting the Canyon.xx