how long can a police helicopter fly

In today’s article, we will be dsicussing the topic; How Long Can A Police Helicopter Fly? There are many benefits of owning a helicopter, including getting to work on time when living 100 miles (ca. 161 km) away from your office. The main advantage of owning a helicopter is freedom. Once you have permission and some space, you can set your course for any destination. So how long can a police helicopter fly for? how far can a helicopter fly in 15 minutes or how long can a helicopter hover? Read this post to find out

How Long Can A Police Helicopter Fly

Best Places for a Helicopter Tour

It may seem excessive, but some places in the world are simply best explored by scenic flight. At many sights and cities of great scale and magnitude, the view from the ground just doesn’t reveal the full picture! Take it from us, each of the following 10 once-in-a-lifetime flights are worth the splurge. Just be sure to grab a window seat.

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

This two-kilometre sheet of falling water forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, where the Zambezi River plunges into a deep gorge. Seen from the ground, it’s one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls – the water’s mist and rainbows can be seen from over 20 kilometres away – and the view from the air, where the full scale of the falls is apparent, is even more astounding. Entry-level scenic flights concentrate on the falls themselves, but an upgrade gets you further downstream to the Batoka Gorges and a couple of minutes of game spotting in the Zambezi National Park, where elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and giraffes roam.

Who Flies There: United Air Charters operates from Livingstone on Zambia’s side of the falls and offers both long and short flights.

Denali National Park, USA

This remote national park in the far reaches of the Alaska is home to the country’s tallest peak – Mt. McKinley – plus glacial rivers, gorges, taiga forests and alpine tundra environments. Oh, and moose, caribou, grizzly bears and wolves. There’s just one road that winds around the park’s six million acres, so it’s no wonder why many tourists take to the air to cover the most ground. Helicopter or fixed-wing airplane tours allow explorers to see Mt. McKinley and other Alaska Range peaks up close, and most flights include a landing on a glacier for a quick snowball fight.

Who Flies There: Fly Denali is the only company with a permit to land on glaciers within the borders of the national park – other companies land on ice outside of the park’s boundaries.

The Grand Canyon, USA

This famous piece of carved land stretches for 277 river miles as the Colorado River winds through the deserts of Arizona, eroding the earth away up to one mile deep and 18 miles across as it flows along. Most visitors to the Canyon don’t make it past the South Rim, where a road allows for easy access – and crowds. But an airborne trip over the canyon can also include aerial views of the Vegas Strip, the Hoover Dam and the Mojave Desert, and some helicopter companies have permission to land in the canyon for a riverboat ride or a stroll on the adrenaline-rush-inducing Skywalk.

Who Flies There: Sundance Helicopter Tours takes off from Las Vegas and has a special relationship with the canyon’s local Native American tribe.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world’s largest coral reef stretches for 2300 kilometres along the coast of Queensland, and there are plenty of tour companies operating from different points on the mainland to visit sites like the outer reaches of the reef, Green Island, the Low Isles, Whitehaven Beach and the Heart Reef. Sharks, turtles and rays can even sometimes be spotted from the air, and some companies include snorkel or dive stops on anchored pontoons. Longer flight paths can also pass over the Daintree Rainforest, the Mossman and Baron gorges and the Cairns Highlands.

Who Flies There: GBRHelicopters offers short scenic flights from Cairns and Port Douglas, reef experiences and personalized tours.

New York City, USA

There may be no better way to get your mind around New York than from the air. The Big Apple can take tourists days to criss-cross and cover, but from above, the city’s grid pattern and distinct neighborhoods become clear. Helicopter tours leave from almost the very southern tip of Manhattan Island and whiz past, at the very least, the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and views of Lower Manhattan’s skyline which includes the new One World Trade Center building. Longer trips can include the Manhattan, Brooklyn, George Washington and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium and New Jersey’s Palisades cliffs.

Who Flies There: New York Helicopter offers a 25-minute tour that ticks off all of the above NYC must-sees.

Glacier Country, New Zealand

On the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are uniquely positioned between snow-covered mountain tops and sea-level rainforests. The Franz Josef Glacier extends for 12 miles and is one of the fastest moving glaciers on earth, but has been on the retreat for the last several years and is now most easily accessed by helicopter. Heli-tours will include snow landings on either of the glaciers, and some flights will take in both the Fox and the Franz Josef. Upgrades include trips to New Zealand’s highest peak – Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Who Flies There: Alpine Adventures has locations at both the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, and offers tours or either or both glaciers, as well as both Cook and Tasman mountains with landings in Westland National Park.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The granite mountains that surround Rio’s Corcovado Bay, including the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado with its famous Christ the Redeemer statue, just beg to be seen from above. Not to mention that a flight is the perfect way to survey the in-the-works Olympic Village and the Maracana Stadium where the 2016 Opening Ceremonies will be held. The white strips of the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches just don’t seem that crowded from the air, though the city’s biggest slum – the Rocinha Favela – does.

Who Flies There: Helisight offers tours from six to 60 minutes long leaving from two sites in the city.

Kauai, USA

The oldest of Hawaii’s islands also hosts one of the state’s most inaccessible interiors – the key to unlocking Kauai’s most beautiful sights lies in the skies above. Flights generally circle most of the island to take in the rugged and remote cliffs of the Na Pali coast, the famous Waimea Canyon (often called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and the Waialeale Crater with its 5000-foot walls and matching wispy waterfalls. Other popular sites include the Manawaiopuna waterfall which became famous for its appearance in Jurassic Park, and Hanalei Bay.

Who Flies ThereJack Harter Helicopters has been flying around the island since 1962 and offers 60- and 90-minute tours that depart from the Lihue Heliport.

Cape Town, South Africa

Similar to Rio’s geographic propensity for a good helicopter ride, Cape Town’s mountainous coast and striking natural features are the perfect backdrop for a scenic flight. While short itineraries take in views of the city, the flat-topped Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and the historic Robben Island, longer trips head south to Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Fish Hoek suburbs, the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Cape Point itself – the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula.

Who Flies There: NAC Helicopters offers four different tour itineraries focusing on the immediate and greater city, the area’s major bays and the further reaches of the Cape Peninsula.

The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Some of Australia’s most iconic natural attractions – the Great Ocean Road and its famous rock formations – come alive for those who tackle the cliffy coast from the top down. From land, visitors can drive to a succession of parking lots to view small parts of the coast at a time; the landscape’s jagged erosion makes it impossible to see beyond nearby cliffs in parts. But by air, all becomes apparent. The over 250 kilometres of the road host islands, rainforests, gorges and beaches – typical flights can cover the legendary Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast, Port Campbell National Park, London Bridge and the Bay of Islands, Cape Otway and the Loch Ard Gorge.

In this article, we will be discussing the topic how long can a police helicopter fly. Police forces usually turn to helicopters when there is no other alternative as they are expensive to operate, says David Learmount, from the aviation news website Flight Global.

But sometimes there is nothing else that can do the job, he insists.

The helicopter that crashed into a Glasgow pub being lifted clear
Image captionThe crash in Glasgow was the second aviation crash in a British city

“You cannot get away from a police helicopter. There is nothing like it for surveillance.”

And helicopter pilot Richard Banham, who was trained by the British Army, says “helicopters’ versatility really comes to the fore with the police”.

As with the Police Scotland aircraft that crashed, the Metropolitan Police in London uses a three-man crew of a pilot and two police officers for its flights.

The Met’s three helicopters are most commonly used to help officers on the ground search for suspects who are hiding, using thermal imagining equipment and a spotlight – according to its website.

And sometimes police officers on board take photographs – normally by leaning out of a door attached to a harness – to assist in the planning of operations and for use in court.

How Long Can A Police Helicopter Fly?

Helicopters are also useful during vehicle pursuits. By hovering above a chase and filming the scene below, the police’s lead pursuit car is able to pull back from a suspect, helping to prevent any potential collisions, the Met says.

Technology is another important factor. Like other forces, Essex Police’s helicopter has an automatic number plate recognition system that can read number plates and indicate any crimes associated with the vehicle.

Elsewhere, the aircraft can also help police to find missing people.

Dyfed-Powys police force says it can take 12 police officers 454 hours to search one square mile, at a cost of £4,500. But it says a police helicopter can do the same job in 12 minutes at a cost of just £160.

Despite this benefit, cost remains a big consideration.

The NPAS replaced localised police helicopter operations in England and Wales in 2012 in an attempt to cut the costs of running the air service from £63m a year to £48m a year, closing seven bases operating aircraft across county borders from 23 locations.

Despite the closures, Brian Greenslade of the Association of Police Authorities told the BBC air support remained an “essential tool” in the fight against crime.

Helicopter safety

A 2011 Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Grimsby Telegraph shows it cost Humberside Police £1,600 per hour to operate its helicopter, prior to the NPAS forming.

And a 2010 FOI request suggests North Wales Police’s helicopter cost a total of £1.7m to run over the course of a year.

The Met Police says its current annual budget to run its air support unit, including the maintenance of its three helicopters and staffing costs, is £7m.

In an effort to show what the helicopters are being used for, some air support units tweet what they are doing on a daily basis.

A recent tweet from the Met’s team reveals it generally deals with 8,000 tasks per year, making it the country’s busiest air support unit.

So How Far Can Helicopters Fly?

As a general rule, helicopters usually fly around 2.5 to 5 hours before they have to stop and refuel. This translates to a distance of roughly 250 miles, which means that they can fly a lot farther than many people realize before they have to stop. However, this can vary depending on the type and size of the helicopter as well as many other aspects that you have to take into consideration.

How Far A Helicopter Can Fly Depends on The Type Of Helicopter

Looking into how far helicopters fly without having to stop means first learning about the types of helicopters, the amount of extra weight being carried, and the size of the fuel tank.

All of these things can affect how long helicopters remain in the air before having to land to refuel. Many helicopters with no reserve are able to fly at 5000 feet for nearly 600 miles at a time.

Of course, there are also many types of helicopters, including commercial, private, and military ones, so in essence there is no hard-and-fast rule regarding the length of time or distance that a helicopter can fly without stopping.

7 Types of Military Helicopters×

Civilian helicopters, for example, usually have an average speed of 150 to 175 miles per hour while military helicopters can be even faster.

Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne at Airfield
Editorial TeamLockheed AH-56A Cheyenne at Airfield. This is the longest range helicopter with a flight range of 1225 miles.

Today, the fastest military helicopter is the CH-47F Chinook, which can fly at 170 knots or roughly 195 miles per hour.

In the civilian world, the Airbus Helicopters’ H155 helicopter is the fastest and has a speed of approximately 200 miles per hour or 174 knots.

Overall, the absolute fastest chopper is the Eurocopter X3, which can fly at roughly 295 miles per hour or 255 knots.

How High Can A Helicopter Fly?

Most helicopters stick to the 5000-foot range, mainly because it is the perfect range when they’re looking for the flexibility to fly safely without the fear of crashing into something.

Some high-performance helicopters can fly up to 10,000 feet. If they make it to the 14,000-foot range — which some of them do — the passengers usually need an oxygen supply.

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
Editorial TeamThe Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey has the second longest range with 1011 miles.

If you’re curious about the record for how far up a helicopter has been able to fly, that record was set by a man named Fred North in 2002 when he reached 42,000 feet with his AS 350 B2 Squirrel helicopter.

Some interesting statistics when it comes to determining how far helicopters fly include:

  • The longest helicopter flight is 2213 miles; the chopper was a Hughes OH-6 Cayuse.
  • Single-rotor helicopters generally travel 40 to 50 miles every 15 minutes.
  • The average speed for helicopters is 150 to 200 miles per hour.
  • Helicopters generally cost $200 to $750 per hour to operate depending on their gear, maintenance, fuel, and operating costs.

One of the reasons why different helicopters have different abilities to fly at various lengths and heights is because of their fuel tank sizes.

Obviously, the smaller tanks accommodate less fuel, which means that particular helicopter won’t be able to fly as far or as high.

The Sikorsky S92 helicopter, which is a larger model, is able to fly at 160 miles per hour for more than 600 miles.

Legal Requirements That Influence A Helicopters Flight Range

Just as with airplanes, helicopters have to obey certain laws and rules set by governmental and aviation authorities. Rules can change from one situation to another and can be affected by factors such as:

  • Flying in busy areas, such as commercial airports
  • Flying on private property, such as that belonging to some businesses
  • Whether or not bad weather is present
  • Flying from one border to another or one country to another
  • Whether or not you have to go through customs

In other words, helicopters are held to certain legal requirements and therefore cannot just take off and do whatever they like.

Because of this, how far helicopters fly is affected by the laws that chopper pilots must abide by when planning their trips.

Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne
Editorial TeamThe Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne is the longest range helicopter with a flight range of 1225 miles.

Other Factors That Affect the Range Of A Helicopter

As you have undoubtedly already figured out, determining how far helicopters fly means realizing that the numbers are affected by things such as the payload and how much fuel you have in the tank.

Because in-air refueling is expensive and often complicated, most helicopter pilots come down frequently to refuel that way.

Two to five hours at a time seems to be the average that a helicopter can fly without refueling; again, these are average numbers.

In addition to the Sikorsky S92, the EC155 also has the possibility of flying for roughly 600 miles without stopping.

Choppers such as the Apache Attack helicopter are able to fly for around 1200 miles without stopping.

You have to realize that a lot of things come into play when it comes to how far or high a certain helicopter can fly.

Best Places for a Helicopter Tour

February 18, 2019 

SHARE

It may seem excessive, but some places in the world are simply best explored by scenic flight. At many sights and cities of great scale and magnitude, the view from the ground just doesn’t reveal the full picture! Take it from us, each of the following 10 once-in-a-lifetime flights are worth the splurge. Just be sure to grab a window seat.

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

This two-kilometre sheet of falling water forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, where the Zambezi River plunges into a deep gorge. Seen from the ground, it’s one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls – the water’s mist and rainbows can be seen from over 20 kilometres away – and the view from the air, where the full scale of the falls is apparent, is even more astounding. Entry-level scenic flights concentrate on the falls themselves, but an upgrade gets you further downstream to the Batoka Gorges and a couple of minutes of game spotting in the Zambezi National Park, where elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and giraffes roam.

Who Flies There: United Air Charters operates from Livingstone on Zambia’s side of the falls and offers both long and short flights.

Denali National Park, USA

This remote national park in the far reaches of the Alaska is home to the country’s tallest peak – Mt. McKinley – plus glacial rivers, gorges, taiga forests and alpine tundra environments. Oh, and moose, caribou, grizzly bears and wolves. There’s just one road that winds around the park’s six million acres, so it’s no wonder why many tourists take to the air to cover the most ground. Helicopter or fixed-wing airplane tours allow explorers to see Mt. McKinley and other Alaska Range peaks up close, and most flights include a landing on a glacier for a quick snowball fight.

Who Flies There: Fly Denali is the only company with a permit to land on glaciers within the borders of the national park – other companies land on ice outside of the park’s boundaries.

The Grand Canyon, USA

This famous piece of carved land stretches for 277 river miles as the Colorado River winds through the deserts of Arizona, eroding the earth away up to one mile deep and 18 miles across as it flows along. Most visitors to the Canyon don’t make it past the South Rim, where a road allows for easy access – and crowds. But an airborne trip over the canyon can also include aerial views of the Vegas Strip, the Hoover Dam and the Mojave Desert, and some helicopter companies have permission to land in the canyon for a riverboat ride or a stroll on the adrenaline-rush-inducing Skywalk.

Who Flies There: Sundance Helicopter Tours takes off from Las Vegas and has a special relationship with the canyon’s local Native American tribe.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world’s largest coral reef stretches for 2300 kilometres along the coast of Queensland, and there are plenty of tour companies operating from different points on the mainland to visit sites like the outer reaches of the reef, Green Island, the Low Isles, Whitehaven Beach and the Heart Reef. Sharks, turtles and rays can even sometimes be spotted from the air, and some companies include snorkel or dive stops on anchored pontoons. Longer flight paths can also pass over the Daintree Rainforest, the Mossman and Baron gorges and the Cairns Highlands.

Who Flies There: GBRHelicopters offers short scenic flights from Cairns and Port Douglas, reef experiences and personalized tours.

New York City, USA

There may be no better way to get your mind around New York than from the air. The Big Apple can take tourists days to criss-cross and cover, but from above, the city’s grid pattern and distinct neighborhoods become clear. Helicopter tours leave from almost the very southern tip of Manhattan Island and whiz past, at the very least, the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and views of Lower Manhattan’s skyline which includes the new One World Trade Center building. Longer trips can include the Manhattan, Brooklyn, George Washington and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium and New Jersey’s Palisades cliffs.

Who Flies There: New York Helicopter offers a 25-minute tour that ticks off all of the above NYC must-sees.

Glacier Country, New Zealand

On the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are uniquely positioned between snow-covered mountain tops and sea-level rainforests. The Franz Josef Glacier extends for 12 miles and is one of the fastest moving glaciers on earth, but has been on the retreat for the last several years and is now most easily accessed by helicopter. Heli-tours will include snow landings on either of the glaciers, and some flights will take in both the Fox and the Franz Josef. Upgrades include trips to New Zealand’s highest peak – Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Who Flies There: Alpine Adventures has locations at both the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, and offers tours or either or both glaciers, as well as both Cook and Tasman mountains with landings in Westland National Park.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The granite mountains that surround Rio’s Corcovado Bay, including the iconic Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado with its famous Christ the Redeemer statue, just beg to be seen from above. Not to mention that a flight is the perfect way to survey the in-the-works Olympic Village and the Maracana Stadium where the 2016 Opening Ceremonies will be held. The white strips of the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches just don’t seem that crowded from the air, though the city’s biggest slum – the Rocinha Favela – does.

Who Flies There: Helisight offers tours from six to 60 minutes long leaving from two sites in the city.

Kauai, USA

The oldest of Hawaii’s islands also hosts one of the state’s most inaccessible interiors – the key to unlocking Kauai’s most beautiful sights lies in the skies above. Flights generally circle most of the island to take in the rugged and remote cliffs of the Na Pali coast, the famous Waimea Canyon (often called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and the Waialeale Crater with its 5000-foot walls and matching wispy waterfalls. Other popular sites include the Manawaiopuna waterfall which became famous for its appearance in Jurassic Park, and Hanalei Bay.

Who Flies ThereJack Harter Helicopters has been flying around the island since 1962 and offers 60- and 90-minute tours that depart from the Lihue Heliport.

Cape Town, South Africa

Similar to Rio’s geographic propensity for a good helicopter ride, Cape Town’s mountainous coast and striking natural features are the perfect backdrop for a scenic flight. While short itineraries take in views of the city, the flat-topped Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and the historic Robben Island, longer trips head south to Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Fish Hoek suburbs, the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Cape Point itself – the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula.

Who Flies There: NAC Helicopters offers four different tour itineraries focusing on the immediate and greater city, the area’s major bays and the further reaches of the Cape Peninsula.

The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Some of Australia’s most iconic natural attractions – the Great Ocean Road and its famous rock formations – come alive for those who tackle the cliffy coast from the top down. From land, visitors can drive to a succession of parking lots to view small parts of the coast at a time; the landscape’s jagged erosion makes it impossible to see beyond nearby cliffs in parts. But by air, all becomes apparent. The over 250 kilometres of the road host islands, rainforests, gorges and beaches – typical flights can cover the legendary Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast, Port Campbell National Park, London Bridge and the Bay of Islands, Cape Otway and the Loch Ard Gorge.

Leave a Comment