A 10-year veteran of the Denver and Jefferson County Sheriff's offices and a retired National Guard Chief Warrant Officer and combat veteran, TYJ Global Helicopters' Mike Fyola has logged more than 6,000 hours as a helicopter pilot. During that time, he piloted medical evacuations as well as search-and-rescue flights, but also shuttled governors, Congressmen, and sightseers. Along with his wife, Gina, Mike leads instructional flight sessions high above Denver and the surrounding mountains in their Schweizer 300C helicopters. The duo specializes in high-altitude flight training and charter services and also offers flight training for private-pilot, flight-instructor, and cloud-wrangling certification.
Suspended within a glass and steel bubble, passengers soar over red-rock foothills and misty mountaintops. In the distance, they can glimpse the towering steel buildings of the Mile High City. The sun glints from a golden dome, and abstract façades of modern architecture reach toward clear, blue skies dotted with clouds. Though their ears are shielded by headsets, the passengers can hear the hum of the helicopter’s blades as they slice through the air. Customers also get a chance to try their hand at piloting a helicopter on one of the simulators.
Colorado Heli-Ops's team of extensively trained pilots ferries passengers on aerial tours such as these that fly over some of their state’s most historic sites and breathtaking scenery. The sleek metal hulls of Robinson R44 helicopters provide limousine-like luxury with plush leather seats. On-staff photographers can professionally capture tour memories with high-powered lenses affixed to digital cameras.
Colorado Heli-Ops's instructors also use their mechanical birds to train clients for private and commercial pilot’s licenses or help them brush up on more specialized skills through programs in high-altitude and mountain flight. To enable preflight preparation and let students observe the flight patterns of digital geese, staffers operate an FAA-certified Frasca Truflight H simulator and Merlin Turbine simulator.
The whitewater rafting wizards and zip-line zealots at Royal Gorge safely chaperone brave outdoorsmen and women along rushing rapids and adrenaline-fueled zip-line courses. With at least four years of experience buckled behind their life preservers, expert guides provide knowledge and know-how to novice and seasoned rafters. Half-day rafting trips depart daily at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for 10-mile adventures down liquid-filled crevices lined with 1,200-feet-tall cliff faces and underneath one of the world's highest suspension bridges. Paddlers discipline class-three, -four, and -five currents for tormenting their self-bailing vessels and gossiping about them to babbling brooks. Royal Gorge provides wetsuits, helmets, life jackets, splash-jackets, and river boots for safe trips downstream, as well as a safety kayaker to help rafts through intense stretches and keep an eye out for creekside tollbooths.