After "first-person" traffic reporting failed due to anchors' expletive-laced dispatches from the middle of 10-car-thick jams, news teams turned to the helicopter for a better vantage point. Today's Groupon gives you a hovering overview of trafficless vistas: for $99, you get an introductory helicopter lesson from Specialized Helicopters in Watsonville (a $199 value). Since there's only room in the cockpit for you, an instructor, and one Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone" cassette single, this Groupon is not good for guests.
Specialized Helicopters provides lessons and tours for California's aeronautically inclined, as well as whirly-bird's eye views of the Monterey Bay and its surrounding areas. The Heli Intro-Flight experience lasts two hours and 20 minutes, broken into an hour and a half grounded class, 20 minutes of flight time, and 30 minutes of pre and post-flight instruction. The ground course prepares potential pilots for the demands of mid-air physics and rotorcraft mobility; like high school and court-mandated etiquette refreshers, it's necessary to complete the free, required reading before coming to class. Classes are offered at 10 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month, and once students successfully pass a written exam (which can be repeated if necessary), the transition from upstanding but grounded citizen to airborne chopper operator begins. If a student aces the class and flight times are available that day, they can ascend as soon as possible. Otherwise, flight times can be scheduled for the next available opening.
Specialized Helicopters has a spotless safety record, and its instructors have a combined total of tens of thousands of hours of flight time. The aircrafts and training techniques are cutting edge and up to date. Ideal for finally making good on long-ignored New Year's resolutions or unintentionally fulfilling family pilotry prophecies, flying a helicopter gives you the power to equally defy gravity and skeptical co-workers' expectations.
Maximum weight of 200 lbs. Class and flight by appointment only.
In addition to flight-training experiences and flight lessons, Specialized Aviation's professional pilots guide thrill-seekers on exhilarating scenic tours of the skies. The 20-minute helicopter whale-watching tour offers splendid views of marine life—including blue, humpback, and gray whales—from well above the water line in Monterey Bay.