Tag Archives: trips

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.

Adventure Flight Offer: Sacramento to Wenatchee

Flying M Air will be repositioning its helicopter from the Sacramento area to Wenatchee, WA on Sunday, April 23. We can take up to two passengers with limited luggage on this 5-8 hour cross country flight.

In an effort to fill these seats, we’re offering them at a deep discount of $250/hour for one or two people (not per person) — that’s about 55% off our usual rates.

We’ll let you pick the route — weather permitting:

  • Go the fastest, most direct route. That’ll take 5-6 hours, with two stops for fuel along the way. We’ll leave the Sacramento area northbound, flying up California’s Central Valley over orchards and rice fields as we criss-cross the Sacramento River. We’ll pass on the east side of Mount Shasta and continue on the east side of the Southern Cascades in Oregon, past cinder cones, dry lake beds, lava fields, winding rivers, and wind farms. We’ll cross the Columbia River near the John Day Dam, overfly Yakima, and cut nearly due north to Wenatchee. Approximate cost for two people: $1,250 to $1,500.
  • The Oregon Coast with a Marine Layer drifting in.

    Go a more scenic route along the California and Oregon coasts. That’ll take 7-8 hours, with two stops for fuel along the way. We’ll leave the Sacramento area northwest bound, overfly Lake Berryessa and Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and join up with the coast near the mouth of the Russian River. Then we’ll follow the coast northbound as far as Tillamook, OR. From there, we’ll head northeast, crossing the Cascade Mountains between Mount Rainier and Mt. St. Helens on a beeline to Wenatchee. Note that this route is weather-dependent and may need to be changed enroute if weather conditions deteriorate. Approximate cost for two people: $1,750 to $2,000.

Trip includes:

  • One-way helicopter transportation as described above for one or two people with limited luggage.
  • One copy of Robbie: The Robinson Helicopter Experience coffee table book, which features Flying M Air.
  • One Flying M Air hat for each passenger.
  • An experience you’ll never forget!

Trip does not include:

  • Flight to Sacramento Airport or from Wenatchee Airport.
  • Ground transportation to/from airports.
  • Meals.
  • Overnight accommodations before or after the flight or during the flight if weather delays are encountered.

This is an incredible opportunity for a helicopter adventure you’ll remember forever. What are you waiting for? Book this flight now.

This offer expires at 9:00am on Thursday April 20th, 2017.

Be Spontaneous Special: Cave B Breakfast Trip

Flying M Air will be flying down to Cave B on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 to for a pair of photo flights in the area. Our scenic flight takes us down the Columbia River past the Rock Island Dam, the site of Spanish Castle, Crescent Bar, and the Gorge Amphitheater. Our return flight takes us over Potholes Coulee and Quincy Lakes.

Crescent Bar

Why not fly down from Wenatchee with us? We’ll be departing Wenatchee Pangborn Memorial Airport at 8:30 AM sharp. While we’re taking care of our photo flights, you can visit Cave B’s excellent restaurant, Tendril, for a delicious breakfast overlooking the Columbia River near the Gorge Amphitheater. Just be back at the helicopter by 10:30 for the return flight.

Be Spontaneous and Save!

This is a “be spontaneous” offer for this date only. Normally, this flight would cost $545. But with this offer, you can save 50% — that makes it only $272.50. This price covers round trip transportation for up to 3 passengers. Total passenger weight cannot exceed 600 pounds. It does not include the cost of your meal, should you decide to dine at Tendril. (Note that Cave B’s tasting room will be closed during our morning visit.)

What are you waiting for? There’s only one flight available at this price. Book it now.


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This offer expires at 6:00pm on Tuesday August 16th, 2016.

Lake Powell Photo Flights, April 2017

Flying M Air is tentatively planning a week-long trip to Page, AZ on Lake Powell. We’ll be conducting photo flights of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area vicinity from Page Municipal Airport for professional, semi-professional, and serious amateur photographers. Right now, we’re looking at April 23 to April 29, 2017 as possible dates.

Flying M Air’s Chief Pilot, Maria Langer, has logged well over 200 hours of flight time in the Lake Powell area since 2005 for aerial photography and charter flights. She knows the lake better than most helicopter pilots, having flown it from Horseshoe Bend (downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam) all the way up past Hite to Canyonlands National Park. She has worked with dozens of still and video photographers for fine art and documentary photography, including many of the photo excursions for Mike Reyfman’s photo tours.

antelopecanyonladder

In addition to the Lake, Page is home of Antelope Canyon and near The Wave — two geological formations popular with photographers. There are plenty of other photographic destinations in the area, including the Wahweap Hoodoos, Marble Canyon, and Alstrom Point. And, of course, Lake Powell is on the Grand Circle of National Parks in southern Utah and Northern Arizona, close to the Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, and many other parks. Our photo flights could easily be part of a long photo excursion in the area.

Because we’re not based anywhere near Lake Powell these days, we’d be bringing the helicopter in from Washington or California. We plan on distributing helicopter repositioning costs among the photographers who fly with us in an effort to keep these costs as low as possible. The more photographers who sign up, the lower the cost will be.

We’re also making tentative plans for a 5- or 7-day houseboat trip from Page on the lake for up to six people (double occupancy). This trip would only be available to people who flew with us on photo flights and would begin the day after the photo flights were concluded.

Photo flights with us at Lake Powell could easily be part of a longer photography vacation in this scenic area of the desert southwest.

Are you interested in joining us for this event? We’re working up a list of photographers who want to be kept informed about this. Please fill in the form below to send us your information. Your email address will not be shared or used for anything other than this trip. And please spread the word. With a possibility of 2-4 flights a day for the entire week, we’ve got the potential to take a lot of clients up. The more people taking advantage of this offer, the less expensive it can be.

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By submitting this form, you are agreeing to be contacted about our tentatively planned photo flights at Lake Powell in April 2017. This information is not used for any other purpose. You are under no obligation to participate; this informational is solely to get an idea of interest in this trip. You can be removed from this list at any time, should you decide you are no longer interested.

Hillsboro to Wenatchee Flight

Here’s a gallery of some photos from our recent Hillsboro, OR to Wenatchee, WA flight. We were bringing the helicopter back from it’s annual inspection. Weather along the way prevented us from flying direct. Instead, we enjoyed great views of the Columbia River Gorge, wild horses on the Yakama Nation land, and a fligt up the Columbia from Mattawa.

Subscribe to news and special offers on this site to learn how you can join us for a future cross-country flight for a fraction of our regular rates.

Wenatchee to Hillsboro Flight

Here’s a gallery of some photos from our recent Wenatchee, WA to Hillsboro, OR flight. We had one passenger take us up on our very special offer. Although the flight started out smokey due to the fires in North Central Washington, things cleared up halfway through the flight, giving us awesome views of the Klickitat River, Columbia River Gorge, and Portland areas.

Here are a few shots from our nosecam:

You can enjoy views like this! Call us about availability on our return flight or another upcoming helicopter repositioning flight.

Adventure Flight Offers: Wenatchee to Hillsboro or Hillsboro to Wenatchee

Along the Way

Ferry flights are always a good excuse to offer deep discounts to folks interested in traveling by helicopter. Here are two offers for flights coming up soon:

Wenatchee, WA to Hillsboro, OR

On August 24, Flying M Air is flying its helicopter to Hillsboro, OR for scheduled maintenance. We’ve got two passenger seats available on this flight for folks who want to experience a long, cross-country flight by helicopter.

Weather permitting, we’ll fly direct to Hillsboro from Wenatchee, crossing the Cascade Mountains between Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens. This is an amazing flight that we first did in August 2013. You can see video from this 90-minute flight here:

If cloud cover is too low, we’ll take a longer route past Yakima and the Dalles and cross the Cascades along the Columbia River. This will likely add about 30 minutes to the total flight time.

We are departing at 7 AM sharp from Wenatchee Pangborn Memorial Airport​. We can take up to 2 passengers plus some luggage, in case you want to spend a few days in the area. We’ll be landing at Hillsboro airport, which is just southwest of Portland. Car rentals and airport transportation is available. This offer does not include any ground transportation or a return flight.

The total cost of this air taxi flight is $425 for up to 2 passengers (not each). That’s about the same as two tickets on Horizon/Alaska Air — and it’s quicker and far more scenic!

Hillsboro to Wenatchee

We’re planning to bring the helicopter back to Wenatchee on September 3, 2015. We’ve got two seats for the return flight as well. The same route options based on weather apply.

We are departing at 10 AM sharp from Hillsboro Airport. We can take up to 2 passengers plus limited luggage. We’ll be landing at Wenatchee Airport, which is east of Seattle on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Car rentals and airport transportation is available. This offer does not include any ground transportation or a return flight.

The total cost of this air taxi flight is $425 for up to 2 passengers (not each).

Book Your Adventure!

To book either flight, call Maria at 509-699-8044 or 928-231-0196.

This offer expires at 8:28am on Wednesday September 2nd, 2015.

Adventure Flight Offer: Wenatchee to Sacramento at 55% Off

This trip is also available as a gift certificate, perfect for holiday gift giving. Call us now for more information: 509/699-8044.

Flying M Air will be repositioning its helicopter from the Wenatchee area to the Sacramento area of California in mid to late February. We can take up to two passengers with limited luggage on this 5-7 hour cross country flight.

In an effort to fill these seats, we’re offering them at a deep discount of $250/hour for one or two people (not per person) — that’s about 55% off our usual rates.

We’ll let you pick the route — weather permitting:

  • Go the fastest, most direct route. That’ll take about 5 hours, with two stops for fuel along the way. We’ll leave Wenatchee southbound and fly over Yakima, crossing the Columbia River again near the John Day Dam. From there, we’ll head nearly due south through Oregon, past windmill farms, winding rivers, lava fields, cinder cones, and dry lake beds. We’ll stop for fuel at Redmond and overfly Klamath Falls. We’ll pass on the east side of Mount Shasta and enter California. After stopping again for fuel at Redding, we’ll fly down California’s central valley, criss-crossing the Sacramento River and overflying orchards and rice fields before landing at Sacramento Airport. Approximate cost for two people: $1,200
  • The Oregon Coast with a Marine Layer drifting in.

    Go a more scenic route along the Oregon and California coasts. That’ll take about 7 hours, with two stops for fuel along the way. We’ll leave Wenatchee southwest bound, crossing the Cascade Mountains between Mount Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. We’ll hit the Oregon Coast at Tillamook and follow the coastline south, stopping for fuel at Newport and later at Eureka. We’ll stay as close to the coast as weather permits, finally turning inland at the mouth of the Russian River. If you like, we can drop you off at any Napa or Sonoma Valley Airport or approved landing zone so you can start a wine country vacation. Otherwise, we’ll head in to Sacramento Airport. Approximate cost for two people: $1,700.

Trip includes:

  • One-way helicopter transportation as described above for one or two people with limited luggage.
  • One copy of Robbie: The Robinson Helicopter Experience coffee table book, which features Flying M Air.
  • One Flying M Air hat for each passenger.
  • An experience you’ll never forget!

Trip does not include:

  • Ground transportation to/from airports.
  • Meals.
  • Overnight accommodations before or after the flight or during the flight if weather delays are encountered.
  • Return flight to Wenatchee Airport.

Flight date to be determined by February 1.

This is an incredible opportunity for a helicopter adventure you’ll remember forever. What are you waiting for? Book this flight now.