Frequently asked questions

How long before the flight departs should we arrive at the Heliport?

Arrive at the Heliport 15 minutes prior to departure time. This will give your pilot time to load any luggage you may have and give you a quick safety brief.  Click here for directions of how to find us.

Do you fly at night?

Generally not. While our helicopters and pilots are certified for night flying, the CAA rules for weather conditions at night are very strict compared to daytime. Changeable weather conditions in New Zealand make it very difficult to guarantee the flight will not be cancelled. Therefore we plan to complete all flights before it gets dark.

Can a helicopter fly in all weather conditions?

We can fly in most conditions, but not all. The pilot will decide if the weather conditions are suitable to carry out the flight safely. Our fleet is certified to fly in Visual Flight Conditions only, therefore visibility is a limiting factor. Low cloud and widespread drizzle or rain can be a problem. In strong wind, passenger comfort is generally the limiting factor rather than safety.

Do you require passenger weights?

Each helicopter has a maximum weight limit. The total passenger weight allowable will depend on the distance to travel. Longer distances require more fuel and therefore reduce the total passenger weight allowable. Providing passenger weights will enable staff to determine that the overall weight is within limits. The seating arrangement is determined by the pilot based on the passengers' weights.

What is the luggage allowance?

This varies from one helicopter type to another. Each helicopter has a limit. The total luggage size and weight should be advised to staff. See Fleet for more details.

Can my child travel on my knee?

Yes, we have seatbelt extensions similar to the airlines, however your child may be more comfortable travelling in their own car seat. Some helicopters such as the EC130 are restricted to a maximum number of passengers (including children) so while the child may travel on an adults knee, a seat still must be allocated to the child.

How safe is flying in a helicopter?

Flying with an established operator, in near new helicopters, with experienced commercial pilots is about as safe as it gets. Advanced Flight has been in operation since 1998 without an accident or incident. Our oldest helicopter is less than 5 years old. Our pilots have a minimum of 2500 hours experience.

Can you land anywhere?

Helicopters can land most places so long as there is a flat area to touch the skids down and sufficient clearance around the rotor blades and tail rotor. CAA rules require an operator to have permission to land on public or private property. In addition to this CAA rules also prevent flying over third party property or people when landing or taking off. Other considerations are downwash from the rotor causing airborne debris nuisance, or noise scaring animals.

What size area do you require to safely land a helicopter?

A good rule of thumb is an area the size of two tennis courts side by side, 20m x 20m. If the area is surrounded by tall trees or fences, buildings, or power lines, then a larger area may be required. If the area has no obstructions allowing a shallow approach then a slightly smaller area may be adequate.

What safety equipment do you carry?

  • GPS
  • Moving Map Displays
  • Tracking Devices
  • Satellite phone for communication
  • Emergency Locater Beacons
  • Emergency Pop out Floats on some of our single engine helicopters
  • Crashworthy Seats. All our helicopters have seats designed to the latest standard.

View our safety video

How old are your helicopters?

Our oldest helicopter is less than 5 years old. Most are 1-2 years old.

What safety precautions should I take when boarding or exiting the helicopter?

Remove your hat and take instructions from your pilot. He or she is there to make sure you are safe. View a short Safety Video here.

Do you cater for special events?

Yes, we have lots of experience flying groups of all sizes for weddings, birthdays, corporate functions, teambuilding exercises and other special occasions. Please talk to our staff about your requirements so we can tailor your flight and create an exceptional “wow” experience.

Do you operate on Christmas or any other public holiday?

We operate every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Do you pick up from private residences?

If the property is rural or coastal it may be possible to land, depending on a number of circumstances. See Can you land anywhere and What size area do you require to safely land a helicopter for more information.

Are there any special health requirements?

If you have any concerns regarding the effect of flying on your health, you must consult a doctor. Typical altitudes flown are 1-3000 ft; however mountainous terrain will require a much higher altitude. Helicopters are not pressurised so therefore have a maximum flying altitude of 13,000 ft.

What are your terms and conditions?

 

  • All flights are subject to availability and weather conditions.
  • Any request to increase flight time will incur additional charges.
  • Passenger names and weights are required to confirm the booking. 
  • Fares are only valid for the date specified.
  • Fares are for the helicopter component only – all other tour components are arranged and charged independently.
  • All prices are in NZ$ and include 15% GST.
  • Prices are subject to change without notice.

What is your cancellation policy?

  • 70% cancellation fee if cancelled within 24 hours of flight departure.
  • 30% cancellation fee if cancelled within 3 days of flight departure.
  • Cancellation fees do not apply when Advanced Flight cancels flights due to weather conditions or aircraft un-serviceability. Any monies paid in advance will be refundable in the event that Advanced Flight cancels the service.
  • Advanced Flight will not be liable for any consequential losses or additional cost incurred as a result of cancellation.

Are twin engine helicopters safer than single engine helicopters?

Reprinted from: Rotor Journal –No.44 May/June 2002 (published by Eurocopter)

In fact, twin and single-engine helicopters offer practically the same degree of safety. Evidence shows that 95% of the causes of helicopter accidents (ground impacts, power line collisions, etc) have nothing to do with whether the aircraft was a twin or single-engine model. It is only amongst the remaining 5%, which includes accidents caused by equipment failure not due to maintenance faults that the single-engine helicopter proves to be more accident-prone.

Statistics show that overall, a difference of only 2% exists between single and twin-engine flight safety. A striking contrast to this figure is the 30 to 50% increase in the acquisition and operating costs of a twin-engine helicopter.

Having said that; operating in hostile environments such as rough ocean or mountainous terrain may push the decision towards a Twin Engine Helicopter. A Twin Engine Helicopter generally has more sophisticated avionics such as an auto-pilot, terrain awareness, and weather radar, which can add significantly to safety.

Should I buy outright, or purchase a share?

Availability and total annual usage are the main considerations when addressing this question. The average corporate helicopter should fly from 150 to 400 hours per year. Anything less than this and the Annual Fixed Costs make the hourly rate very expensive. You should consider chartering with a reputable operator. Much more than 400 hours per year will reduce the availability if there is more than one owner.

For individuals that cannot justify the cost of buying an entire aircraft, but demand the quality and convenience of helicopter travel, purchasing a share with one or two partners is the answer.

Advanced Flight’s turnkey aircraft management significantly reduces the usual hassle associated with helicopter ownership and partnerships. With professional scheduling and dispatch of your helicopter, highly trained and skilled flight crews, onsite maintenance, and an emphasis on personalised service, our program provides a cost-effective and desirable solution to your transportation needs.

Advanced Flight manages privately owned helicopters. What advantage does this offer?

Selecting the right helicopter

What is the primary use? Is it a business tool for transporting key staff to inaccessible places? Or is it for private and recreational use? Whatever the use, interpreting the manufacturer’s performance data takes some expertise and experience. Not all helicopters have the performance to carry a full payload of passengers and a full tank of fuel. Other considerations include operating costs, customer support in New Zealand, maintenance and spare parts availability.

Purchase at the right price

Like any acquisition, you must do the legwork. If it’s a second-hand helicopter then a feel for the worldwide market is essential. New helicopters require a good relationship with the manufacturer. Advanced Flight has successfully negotiated the purchase of 12 new helicopters on behalf of private owners. Once the contract has been signed we will manage the project through to fly away stage. This can involve an interior upgrade, custom avionics, Certificate of Airworthiness, and training for pilots.

Minimise operating expenses

One of the key benefits of using Advanced Flight to manage your asset is that we make sure there’s no fat in the system! Insurance, fuel, hangar, maintenance. We scrutinise all accounts prior to paying them on your behalf.

Can I fly myself?

Yes you can, but please bear one thing in mind. Many private owners set out to gain their pilot’s licence and fly themselves. There is nothing wrong with this if you’ve got plenty of spare free time to spend pouring over weather reports, notams, AIP supplements, and other pre-flight planning information as well as time for filing flight plans, carrying out the daily pre-flight inspection and refuelling the helicopter. Once you’re airborne, you’ll have to know all the local airspace boundaries, procedures and radio protocol. Navigation is made easier nowadays with the latest GPS equipment, but be prepared to spend some time learning how to drive it; you’ll find it has more functions than your mobile phone. Once you’ve safely reached your destination, be prepared to keep a close eye on the weather if you need to return home the same day. The weather in New Zealand can deteriorate rapidly. To relax and relieve any stress lemonade is the only answer, as a cold beer is not an option. When your return flight is complete, allow another five minutes to fill in the paperwork, five minutes to tie the blades down or put the helicopter away in the hangar, 10 minutes to tidy the cabin and vacuum the carpets, and five minutes to clean the windows ready for tomorrow. If you’re the fussy type, you’ll want to drive out to the hangar on the weekend to give the helicopter exterior a good clean and wax (allow 4-6 hours).

Having a professional pilot is not only safer but will save you money with reduced insurance premiums. The more experience a pilot has, the lower the premium. A reduction of 1% on the insurance premium can equal savings up to NZD$30,000 per year.

Do you sell helicopters?

Yes. The helicopter market is worldwide. We’ve found the use of online advertising through our website very effective for selling our clients’ helicopters. We’ve also found our helicopters are attractive to international buyers because of our reputation for honest maintenance and high level of care. The process of selling a helicopter can be very lengthy when dealing with overseas buyers. This often involves facilitating the buyer with disassembly, customs, and freighting.

Contact us on 09 636 0509 or fly@advancedflight.co.nz for more information.