Frequently Asked Questions
What time of the day should we plan our flight? The best time to fly is in the morning as the air is cooler and smoother in the mountains. Aircraft performance is also improved. Plan your water activities in the afternoon when it is warmer. This also goes for boat and red bus tours. Plan to do your flight at the beginning of your trip as it will give you an overall orientation of the area you are visiting and it also gives you an opportunity to have your flight rescheduled by us if we have a weather day.
What are the facts about aircraft over Glacier National Park? In 2000 the National Air Tour Management Act, NATMA, was created by Congress. Congress only authorizes the FAA as the sole authority over the airspace of the United States so in spite of whatever any ‘authority’ states, it is only the FAA that controls airspace. There has been recent changes as it pertains to Glacier National Park by the implementation of management plan that intends on phasing out all air tours. However, contrary to much inaccurate information floating around the Internet, it is not illegal to fly over the park.
The fact is that air tours can be flown over the park if they remain above the minimum altitude as required under the Act. Furthermore, charter flights are not prohibited from flying to destinations that would take them over the park while en route.
Is there only one air tour operator that can fly over Glacier National Park? No, there are several that are authorized despite the claims by other operators.
Is a helicopter or airplane better for doing an aerial tour? Yes, both, it depends on one’s budget. Our helicopters have huge touring windows, and the visibility is incredible, in our helicopters you have vertical visibility and we can more safely get closer to the sights due to their operating profiles. Our helicopters are state-of-the-art quiet technology, actually quieter than airplanes therefore we find that our helicopters are less intrusive on wildlife and people on the ground.
Airplanes are great too, and we also offer tours in 7-8 passenger high-wing aircraft that provides outstanding visibility. All our aircraft have new interiors, new paint, no scratched windows, Bose headsets, and are maintained to the highest FAA requirements.
What are the options for wedding venues? We are always working on imaginative ways to help you celebrate your special day. We have our own venue locations that are only accessible by air or other remote locations that we can help put together for you. Check with us as we are always adding new ways to make for incredible experiences.
Can we call to make a reservation? During the day we are very busy with operations and flights. Our immediate attention is always on the customers that we are accommodating at the time. Often, we are not able to answer the phone during operations. You are welcome to leave a message but we always give priority to reservation requests that come in from our online booking system. Unless it is of an urgent matter we will only respond to phone messages at the end of the day by text as it is often very early or late when we have the chance to review them.
How do you reconfirm our flight and give us directions to your place of departure? We will re-confirm your flight the night before, this is usually after 6 PM. We will do so by email only. Please be aware that we do not make phone calls as we want you to have written directions as it has less room for error. There are areas, particularly in the park that have spotty cell and internet service so you should take that into consideration when traveling and making plans. We are not responsible for your inability to receive our messages.
What is your cancellation policy? If we cannot operate the flight due to weather or other circumstances there is no cancellation fee, however, we will attempt to reschedule your flight, at your option, to another time of the day or another day. IF, you cancel your reservation within 72 hours of a confirmed reservation and we are able to conduct your flight there is a 50% cancellation fee that will be charged.
Do you have any day-trip packages that we can land and do some activity and relaunch again? Yes, we have several destinations that we can fly you to either in our helicopters or airplanes. Some are only helicopter accessible, some are either. We will be posting these packages on our website for the 2023 season. The packages will offer trips for a day of fishing, hiking, camping, and even trips that will take you from Glacier, the Tetons, and Yellowstone with a stop in West Yellowstone to have lunch, see an Imax movie, and visit the Grizzly Center before returning back to Glacier.
When do we get charged for our flight? When you make a reservation, we will collect your billing information at which time we will validate it. Prior to your tour on that day, we will process the payment we have on file.
When is the best time of the day to fly? During warmer months the morning is the best time to fly as the air is smoother, cooler, and generally clearer. In cooler months it is generally not an issue to fly any time of day. Of course, before any flight, we always check flying conditions to ensure that you will experience a safe and enjoyable flight.
How do I know if our reservation has been accepted and confirmed? Once you have completed the online scheduling form we will email you a confirmation of the flight that you booked.
What is your operating season? We generally operate from May 1 to October 31, however, if the weather permits and we have aircraft availability we can operate tours any time of the year.
How far in advance do we need to make reservations? You can make reservations at any time, preferably online, but the farther in advance of the desired date and time the better the chances are to get your preferred flights.
Can we depart from other locations besides your standard locations? Yes, we can come to your location provided there is a safe operational landing zone and you can conduct your tour from there and return to your location. There are additional repositioning fees for coming to your location.
How many passengers can be accommodated in your aircraft? On the MD 520 we can accommodate up to 4 passengers. If seating 4 passengers, the two who sit alongside the pilot need to be lighter in weight passengers. On the Cessna 207 "Air Limo" we can accommodate up to 7 passengers, however, it all depends on weights, of course.
What will we see? For a full description of what you may see please go here and scroll down to see the tour descriptions.
What can we take on the flight? • We do not allow weapons of any kind on our tour flights. • No liquids are allowed on our aircraft with the exception of water. • On our tours knapsacks, purses, backpacks, and other carry-ons are not permitted with the exception of reasonable cameras, please leave those items in your vehicle. Broadcast cameras and oversized professional camera passengers must book an appropriate type of photo flight.
What payments do you accept? We accept all major credit cards, ACH payments, and cash. We do not accept checks unless arranged in advance.
What are the weight limits of passengers on your aircraft? The general airline industry standard for passenger weight calculations are 170 pounds per passenger. However, this is an average weight, so one passenger may be 240 and one 100 and the average would be 170. One exception is when there are more than 5 passengers on our airplane. In this case, there would have to be some passengers under the 170-pound averages. Generally, when exceeding these limits surcharges and other limitations may apply on flights.
Can we do flights longer than the standard packaged tours? Yes.
What determines if our flight will be operated? The primary determining factor for our flights to occur is the ultimate safety of the flight. So we check the weather and any other factors that may affect the flight. Generally, though, if the weather is suitable the flight will occur.
How is the seating position of passengers determined? The pilot or customer service rep will seat you in the aircraft and brief you. The seating is determined by passenger size and weight. This is necessary for the proper weight and balance of the aircraft.
We want to share the aircraft with another party to reduce the per-person cost, how does that work? If you want to do so use our booking form as you are making any reservation but in the COMMENTS section tell us that you want to share the ride. We will list you on our schedule as a contingent reservation and if we can arrange the flight with another party we will let you know and the cost based on how many passengers are willing to participate in the shared flight.
What are the qualifications of our pilot? Our pilots are all seasoned Airline Transport or Commercial Pilots with plenty of experience flying in and around mountains. Our pilots are both helicopter and airplane rated.
Do you conduct any Special VFR flights? We do not conduct any Special VFR flights with passengers.
What makes the MD Notars so advanced? Notar Technology is a technology that was developed by McDonnell Douglas to deal with the issue of torque that is generated by helicopter flight. You can see an explanation of how it works here.
What are the added safety befits of the MD Notars? The main benefits of Notar Technology are that it has one of the quietest ground footprints of any helicopter made and it offers the safest environment for when passengers are boarding a running helicopter as it has no tail rotor. The fact that it has no tail rotor also makes it very safe for off-airport landings.