Category Archives: News

What’s new at Flying M Air.

2018 Aviation Day Rides

For the sixth year in a row, Flying M Air is pleased to be offering “hop rides” at the Aviation Day Event on Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 9 AM to 3 PM at Wenatchee Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee.

Our Helicopter in Flight

This year we’ll have three helicopters on the flight line with experienced pilots ready to take passengers on a tour of the Wenatchee area. Rides will depart the airport and then head straight out along Grant Road to the Columbia River. You tell your pilot where you want to go from there: up river as far as the Wenatchee River Confluence or down river to Malaga. From there, it’s back to the airport for the conclusion of the ride.

Rides are $45 per person. We accept cash and credit card at the event or you can pre-purchase your ticket online in our online store.

We can take up to 3 passengers per flight, but weight limits apply. There is a per seat weight limit of 275 pounds, which is strictly enforced for safety reasons.

With three helicopters on the line this year, we’re hoping to keep wait times short. Bring the family! This is a great event for all ages, which plenty of other things to do and see at the airport. Learn more here.

Want to get an idea of what you might expect? Check out this fun video from a flight in 2016:

Rate Changes for 2018

Due to increased costs caused primarily by the need to comply with new FAA regulations on our operation, we’ve had to raise our rates for several services. Here is a list of the revised rates.

  • Flight time (per hour): $595
    This applies to tours, air-taxi services, and aerial photo flights. A one-hour minimum remains in effect (except for special events).
  • Hop Rides (per person at events): $45
  • Air-Taxi Landing Fee: $25 (per landing)
    This applies to all charter flights where passengers are discharged at a destination other than where the flight segment began. So, for example, a flight from Wenatchee to Chelan and then back to Wenatchee would incur two landing fees for an additional $50 charge. This is to help cover the cost of a $10,000 radar altimeter Flying M Air was required to purchase to continue doing such flights.
  • Doors-Off fee: $100
    This is to help cover the cost of a new FAA rule interpretation that requires a licensed mechanic remove and reinstall helicopter doors, despite the fact that the helicopter’s manufacturer says it can be done by the pilot.

We apologize for having to pass the costs on to our clients, but Flying M Air operates on very low margins. With increased costs due to new FAA requirements, it would be impossible to continue operations without raising rates.

If you’re as unhappy as we are about the way the FAA is burdening small businesses with costly regulations, use this form to submit your comments about the Spokane FSDO.

Rate Change for Air Taxi Flights

Due to a recent requirement by the FAA for Flying M Air to install a radio altimeter for all Part 135 charter flights, Flying M Air has been forced to raise rates for these flights.

Radio Altimeter Requirement

A radio (or radar) altimeter is a piece of electronics equipment that uses radio waves to calculate the exact distance from the ground. It utilizes two antennas — one to transmit and one to receive the signal — that must be mounted at the bottom of the aircraft, as well as a component that interprets this information. Another piece of equipment provides a readout with audible warning system for the pilot and must be mounted with a special bracket on the helicopter’s panel since our panel is already full of instruments and there is no room for the readout.

If you think this is as unfair as we do, we urge you to contact your member of Congress. Ask them why a small business should be forced by U.S. regulations to buy a costly piece of equipment that won’t make its operations any better or safer. If you get an answer that makes sense, we’d love to hear it.

It’s important to note that Flying M Air is a VFR-only operation. That means we are only allowed to fly when visibility meets or exceeds minimums established by the FAA for the airspace we’re in. We have no real need for this new instrument because we can always see the ground in flight. Because of this, we consider the FAA’s radar altimeter requirement for VFR-only operators like us unreasonable. We have tried several times to get a waiver of this requirement, which is allowed by the new rule. But as many of us know, the government isn’t always reasonable and this time, we’re required to pay the price.

At this point, the equipment has not yet been installed. We’re in the process of locating an avionics shop that can do the work timely at a good price. So far, cost estimates for this equipment range from $13,500 to $20,000 and it will take a full week to install. With cherry season approaching quickly, we cannot take the helicopter offline for installation until after August. The FAA tells us that if we provide evidence that we’ve ordered the equipment and scheduled an installation, they will grant a temporary waiver to allow us to continue flying Part 135 flights. We’re working to comply.

What this Means to You

Part 135 covers any flight that transports a passenger to a different location from a starting point as well as flights over 25 statute miles from the starting point. This includes all air taxi flights and tours beyond a 25-mile radius from the starting point.

How does this affect our clients? Since the equipment is not required for anything other than Part 135 flights, we see no reason to pass the costs on to our aerial photo, aerial survey, Part 91 LOA tour, or agricultural services clients, since none of the flights we conduct for them are done under Part 135. Instead, we’ve decided to recoup some of the expenses for this equipment by charging a $25 landing fee for each landing done as part of a Part 135 flight.

So, for example, if you book a one-way flight to Cave B Inn, you’d pay our normal $545/hour rate plus a $25 landing fee. If you book a wine tasting flight to Tsillan Cellars, a total of $50 ($25 per landing) would be included in the new tour fee of $595. If you book a custom air-taxi flight, you’ll pay our normal $545/hour rate plus $25 for each landing we make with you on board.

Although we really don’t want to change our rates, Flying M Air already operates on very slim margins. Without this price increase, the cost of the altimeter would be a severe blow to our bottom line in a year when we’re still reeling from the financial effects of a $219,000 overhaul. Simply said, we can’t afford to absorb this cost on our own and must pass it on to the clients who “benefit” from it.

Closed for the 2016 Season

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Flying M Air is now closed for the 2016 season.

At Martin-Scott

Some of our existing clients may know that our helicopter had to go in for overhaul on or before January 2017. We dropped it off early to ensure that we get it back by February for our 2017 frost season contract in central California. We expect to have it back in the Wenatchee area in April, in plenty of time for all of our cherry drying contracts.

Keep watching this space for updates about our return, as well as special offer flights to reposition the helicopter from Phoenix to Sacramento in February and Sacramento to Wenatchee in April. We’re also hoping to announce the return of our Wenatchee-area wine tasting flights, perhaps with a few new winery destinations!

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our 2016 clients — as well as those who have flown with us since the helicopter was brand new way back in 2005 — for your continued support. We look forward to serving many of you again in the coming years with a like-new helicopter fresh from overhaul!

$40 Helicopter Rides at Pybus Public Market

We’ll be bringing our Helicopter to the North Parking Lot at Pybus Public Market on four dates in August and September to offer helicopter rides for $40/person. The rides will go down river to the South end bridges, then up the East Wenatchee side of the river to the North end bridge, and then back down the Wenatchee side of the River to Pybus.

Walla Walla Point Park

We’re scheduled to appear on the following dates from 10 AM to 2 PM:

  • Saturday, August 8, 2015
  • Saturday, August 22, 2015
  • Saturday, September 5, 2015
  • Saturday, September 19, 2015

Be advised that this schedule is subject to change!

Tickets MUST be purchased the day of the event at Pybus Market’s Info booth. (No tickets will be sold at the Landing Zone.) Pybus accepts cash and all major credit cards. While you’re there, enjoy the Farmer’s Market and grab a bite to eat at one of Pybus’s great eateries.

Please note that there is a per-seat weight limit of 250 lbs. We can take up to 3 passengers at a time. We will not lift off with fewer than 2 passengers on board, so bring a friend!

This is your chance to see Wenatchee from a whole new perspective!

Flying M Air to Fly Santa to Pybus Market

Once again, Flying M Air has been asked to fly Santa in to Pybus Market for his annual visit to Wenatchee.

Santa Arrives

We’ll be flying in to the south parking lot at Pybus Market on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM. Come by to watch Santa’s arrival — be sure to take lots of pictures. Afterwards, Santa will be greeting children inside for photo ops.

Flying M Air’s helicopter will also be on display at Pybus market December 7 through December 12.

Learn more about Pybus Public Market holiday events on the Pybus website:

$35 Helicopter Rides at 2014 Wenatchee Wings & Wheels

Flying M Air is pleased to be a part of the Wenatchee Wings and Wheels event in East Wenatchee for the third year in a row.

Ride Route

This year, we’ll be offering $35 per person helicopter rides from the Eastmont Park soccer field, just north of the main event grounds. We’ll be offering rides one day only, on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 10 AM until 3 PM.

Rides will depart the soccer field and head northwest to the bridge at Olds Station before turning southbound over Wenatchee. We’ll cross the river again at the south end bridge and return to our starting point. The time of the ride will vary depending on flying conditions and passenger load, but it covers roughly 10 miles. Although the route will vary slightly to minimize noise to people on the ground, we cannot take requests for detours off our published route.

Price Per Person: $35 + tax

Payment Methods Accepted: Cash, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express

Recommended Ages: 5 and up

Weight Restrictions: We cannot take passengers weighing over 275 pounds. The seat belt must fit around each passenger’s waist; we do not have seat belt extenders.

See you in the park on Saturday!

Share Your Photos!

Well, it’s finally happened! We’ve finally started a complete reworking of our Website to provide up-to-date, accurate information of all of our services and prices.

This will likely be a long process as we weed out old photos and content and replace them with new material. Although there are currently no glaring errors on the site, there might be a few residual photos and information about our old Arizona operations. Please ignore them!

You can help us make this site better than ever! If you have any photos you’d like to share with us for possible inclusion on the site, send them! We’re especially interested in group photos taken with the helicopter or at any of our tour destinations. You can use this form:

[contact-form-7 id=”2197″ title=”Share Photo”]

Thanks again for your patience and for helping us out.

Flying M Air to Transport Santa to Pybus Market

It’s with great pleasure that we announce that we’ve been hired by Santa Claus to provide him with transportation from Wenatchee Pangborn Airport to Pybus Public Market in downtown Wenatchee, WA on December 1, 2013.

Maria with Santa
Pilot Maria Langer and her dog pose with Santa and Flying M Air’s helicopter last winter in Arizona.

This isn’t the first time Santa has utilized our air-taxi services. We’ve been working with Santa and his transportation coordinators since 2011 when we first transported him to the Deer Valley Airport Restaurant in Phoenix for his annual appearances there. Since then, Santa has worked with us on numerous occasions to meet his local transportation needs. We’re pleased that Santa has turned to us yet again, now that we’ve relocated to Washington state from Arizona.

Normally, Santa travels by sled pulled by eight or nine reindeer. But in December, Santa likes to give his reindeer a good rest before their big Christmas Eve trip. Accustomed to being dropped off right at his destination, it’s natural for Santa to turn to helicopter operators for his pre-Christmas travel arrangements.

You can see Santa’s big arrival at Pybus Public Market on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 2 PM. The helicopter will be arriving in the parking lot right beside the building. Be sure to pay close attention to the safety personnel at the landing zone! Santa will step out to greet his fans before the helicopter shuts down. Be sure to stay away from the helicopter until after its rotor blades have stopped spinning.

After Santa’s arrival, we’ll move the helicopter into Pybus Market where it will be on display until Wednesday, December 4. Flying M Air’s pilot will be on hand Sunday afternoon to answer questions and open the helicopter for visitors to get a closer look. You’ll also be able to buy gift certificates for short flights and wine tasting tours — a great gift for anyone!