Maverick Helicopters is a Las Vegas-based tour operator that operates tours to the West Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Not long ago I had the pleasure of flying them to Grand Canyon West from Vegas. This is a writeup on my adventure:
Maverick is a top quality supplier of heli trips. They pride themselves on quality and customer satisfaction. I looked into them on a couple of respected travel forums. Travelers had only good words to say about their flights. Undoubtedly a good sign.
Maverick Helicopters has a lot of terrific flights to select from, ranging from canyon sunset flights and river-rafting packages to glass bridge tickets and Valley of Fire flyovers. I booked an all-inclusive trip called the Wind Dancer. It travels to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
One important thing that distinguishes Maverick from the pack is the site of its terminal. It’s ideally located on the south end of the Las Vegas strip. Transport from hotel to the heliport usually takes minutes. Furthermore, due to its location, all Maverick tours include flying over the Las Vegas Strip.
The company’s fleet of helicopters is made up completely of EcoStar 130 aircraft. The EcoStar’s cabin is 25 % bigger than the average chopper’s. The additional space results in theater-style seating and lots of leg-and-elbow room. What’s more, it comes with a 180-degree wrap-around windshield and a Fenestron tail rotor that minimizes sound. Passengers receive their own headsets. This lets you plug in to the digital communication system and tune in to a trip narration or talk with the pilot and the other passengers.
The trip over was outstanding. Grand Canyon West is a 45-minute trip from Maverick Helicopter’s terminal. The flight plan takes you directly over Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the brand-new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Choppers fly at a lower altitude than planes so the bird’s eye view you have of the Dam is jaw-dropping.
Our West Rim approach was stunning. I could see the Sky Walk glimmering beneath the desert sun. The 4,000-foot descent goes through three periods of geological time before coming to a landing. Maverick’s dirt helipad was near to the celebrated Colorado River. It’s humbling to think that this river single-handedly produced the Grand Canyon. I got out of my reverie and joined up with the remainder of the group for a Champagne brunch.
Our pilot offered to guide us about the base (we were also able to explore on our own). I chose to go out with him. I’m thankful I did. Otherwise I would have had my head buried in my guidebook. Maverick also provides a helicopter tour that lets you extend a bottom landing with a smooth-water float trip down the Colorado River.
The return flight is terrific. We re-visited Lake Mead and Hoover Dam and then headed northward and strafed the Valley of Fire. This region is made up of bright orange sandstone. It’s really a unreal spot and I’ve never quite seen anything like it. One passenger said it reminded him of Moab, UT.
Our return took us over the Las Vegas Strip. This is one more of those Maverick perks. We hovered across the skyline. To my left, I saw the Planet Hollywood, Paris, MGM Grand, the Wynn, and more. On the ground, I decided to buy my tour on DVD. The quality is great and definitely makes the ideal souvenir.
Pick Maverick Helicopters if you are searching for a top quality Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Vegas. The client service is 5-star. The aircraft are state-of-the-art. And the quality of the tour is without peer. Save money by reserving their tours on the web. I did and I know for a fact that I cut off 20 percent. A Vegas vacation is not complete without a West Rim helicopter tour. So do it in style. Do it with Maverick.
Mr. Plunket is a travel journalist who writes about all things Grand Canyon. He recommends readers check out this site for specials on Maverick helicopter tours to the canyon.