Founded by a quartet of Austin helicopter enthusiasts, Helo Austin offers services ranging from aerial photography to shuttles to cities and airports throughout the state. Helo Austin's main draw, however, is its various helicopter tours. Read on to learn about a few.
51Tour: Downtown Austin's parks, lakes, music venues, and historic buildings are on display during this 15-minute flight.
Lakes and Hill Country Tour: This 35-minute tour provides stunning views of Texas Hill Country along with Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis.
Romantic Sunset Tour: This intimate 60-minute flight—ideal for a proposal or anniversary—offers guests breathtaking views of the sun setting.
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Parking is plentiful, so guests can feel free to bring their vehicles.
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If you don't know what a gyroplane is, you'll find out within minutes of stepping onto the grassy field at Lone Star Magni Gyro. Just look skyward, and soon enough you'll see something that looks like the predecessor to the helicopter (this is, in fact, true).
Each two-seater gyroplane is thrust forward by an engine-driven propeller, reaching speeds of up to 115 miles per hour. The gyroplanes at Lone Star Magni Gyro are some of the safest in existence, as the company's pilots and engineers routinely innovate new standards that exceed the requirements set forth by worldwide aviation organizations and Steve the Safety Guy™.
So, here's the big question: do you actually get to fly one? The answer is a resounding yes. First-timers can take a gyroplane up—with an instructor's assistance, of course—on a scenic flight, while pilots-in-training can strap in for certification sessions. It's not difficult to get the hang of a Magni gyro, seeing as how it's equipped with modern technology that makes it faster, more stable, and less argumentative than the gyros of old.
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Zooming at over 80 knots just 100 feet above the ground, the helicopter creates a gyrating shadow that skims rapidly over the Texas brush. Tethered safely inside the chopper but leaning out the wide-open cabin doors are several HeliBacon clients, each wielding a loaded AR-15 rifle and scanning the ground for signs of movement. Just as the shadow passes over a patch of tall grass, a group of wild hogs emerges and splinters in every direction. Rising in unison, the AR-15s level and lock onto the sprinting animals and fell several, effectively paring down the numbers of this invasive and destructive species.
The sport of hog-hunting has gone airborne not because pigs have learned to fly but because farmers need as much help as possible controlling the wild-hog population, which ruins acres of crops. Rather than air-dropping cease-and-desist letters, HeliBacon hands the duty over to civilians looking for a memorable hunting experience. The hunt begins with a safety course that covers shooting fundamentals and safety precautions. Once the helicopter lifts off, it cruises for two hours or more while hunters nab as many hogs as they can.
HeliBacon also offers a number of other aerial services, from providing tours of local cities to photographing businesses or real estate from the air. The company further assists local farmers in crop pollination, land surveys, and cattle herding.