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Travel Tip: Scenic Helicopter Safety

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A lot of destinations tout helicopter tours as a way to see the sights from a different perspective. But how can you make it a safe trip?

Helicopter safety is serious stuff. In 2010, there were 134 civil helicopter accidents, with 44 fatalities. The good news? That’s the lowest number of accidents in at least 5 years.

It starts by choosing your tour operator wisely. Pilots first have to get their private pilot license followed by a commercial, and do an flight with an instructor every other year.

But safety is your responsibility too. Remember that you should only approach the helicopter through the front right or left. Never walk up from behind. After landing, always wait for a pilot cue to exit.

Most sightseeing helicopters can fit six passengers, which means two people are stuck without a window seat. Don’t move around in flight to get a better view; instead, bring a pair of binoculars.

Secure all your belonging prior to departure. Accidents can happen when purses or lose items can blow away. And if it’s lost, don’t even think of reaching outside the helicopter to grab it.

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