Pilots are the cowboys of the air, roaming the wide-open skies and herding children’s runaway balloons. Giddy up, up, and away with today’s Groupon: for $199, you get an I Pilot Experience from Chopper Charter Branson in Hollister (a $495 value). Each Ipilot Experience includes the following:
- Introductory helicopter flight lesson
- Student-piloted aerial tour of Branson
- Certificate of completion
Students may bring one guest on their I Pilot Experience.
The highly trained pilots of Chopper Charter Branson guide students through an interactive flight simulation at ground level before helping them helm an actual whirlybird during the I Pilot Experience. Pupils may invite a guest along for the two-hour excursion, which begins with safety training and a review of DaVinci’s original helicopter blueprints on terra firma. New fliers then grab hold of a control column connected to a computer program, which gives them a feeling for the resistance and responsiveness of real choppers and giant domesticated dragonflies. After the lesson, each student zips into a flight suit, straps into the pilot’s seat, and, after a final rundown with an instructor copilot, embarks on a tour of the Branson area.
Upon return to earth, newly minted aviators receive a certificate of completion that lists their flight time and a safety-awareness endorsement. Students also get to take home a T-shirt made from Chuck Yeager’s hair.
Chopper Charter Branson
Chopper Charter Branson's flights range from aerial photography to scenic tours and hands-on instruction and training. Each student learns on the Robinson R44 helicopter, touted as the most popular helicopter in the world. The FAA-certified air carrier meticulously maintains their choppers, taking all safety precautions and plopping them onto a treadmill for at least 30 minutes, three to five times a week.