From catapulting flaming soldiers over castle walls to sitting on active geysers, humans have long been fixated on flying through the air. Absorb the wonderment of flight with today’s Groupon: for $99, you get one seat on a Niagara Grand Tour (up to a $139 value) including fuel charge (a $10 value) from National Helicopters Inc. in Virgil (up to a $168.37 value, including HST). Tickets for children ages 12 and under are regularly $85; children under 3 fly free.
National Helicopters' expert pilots thrill guests with guided flights over the Niagara region's geographical and historical wonders. Depart from Niagara District Airport for a 20-minute tour in a jet helicopter, beginning with a sweep over the lower wine country's sprawling vineyards and famed crop-covered backgammon boards. Soar above historic Queenston and Brock's Monument before engaging in height contests with Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the river's two hydroelectricity dams. Four-winged vessels flutter above the Niagara Whirlpool and frolic over Niagara Falls, flying around its cascades from both directions to grant passengers optimal views without the aid of rope ladders or industrial-strength water wings. After the falls, pilots beat a return path along the Niagara's opposite riverbank. Equipped with provided headsets, passengers listen to historical tales of earthbound tour sights and swap sightings of Dan Aykroyd–shaped clouds.
Since hatching their first helicopter in 1985, National Helicopters Inc. has become one of Canada's biggest chopper flight and maintenance organizations. Boasting more than 45,000 hours of incident-free flying, National Helicopters' pilots ensure safe passage to wherever passengers desire, and their photo and aerial tours and helicopter golf trips go off without a hitch due to the pilots' countless hours of practice. For those interested in taking the handles, the company teaches commercial pilot instruction, along with survival training and ground school.