Our half day helicopter excursion was an air and land adventure over Las Vegas and Lake Mead through the Grand Canyon, to the new Grand Canyon Skywalk and the Hualapai American Indian reservation in Arizona and back to Las Vegas. Flying to the reservation was the fastest and most efficient way to get there from Las Vegas.
The helicopter ride itself was smooth and exciting. There was a 20-minute stop on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, allowing us a lasting memory of the Canyon and the Colorado River. What made this trip special was a short visit to the Hualapai land in the Grand Canyon West, and a tour of the $30 million skywalk. Although at times the steel and glass attraction becomes very crowded, we were lucky that day. It was eerily quiet so we able to walk at our leisure and chat with some of the staff while peering down 2,300 feet to the bottom and 4,300 feet to the Colorado River.
We throughly enjoyed the Wind Dancer trip. In addition to the tour of the skywalk, we especially appreciated the pleasant Maverick facilities, new helicopter, two hours of comfortable flying, and friendly pilot. It was a fun way to spend a day.
Average Duration Of Visit
The transport picked us up at 6:10 a.m. at our Strip hotel and dropped us back at about 2:30 p.m.
Handicapped Access Maverick welcomed handicapped passengers provided there was someone with them to assist in lifting them in and out of the helicopter.
Location We departed from and returned to Las Vegas. The company also operated out of airports in Henderson and Grand Canyon (a town called Tusayan).
Open The company was established in 1995
Owners Greg and Brenda Rochna
Size The Las Vegas location has a 4,000 square foot lobby, 3,000 square feet of office space and a 9,500 square foot hanger. When we visited the area, Maverick Helicopters had 90 employees, including 33 pilots.
Transportation A Maverick transport picked us up and dropped us off at our Las Vegas Strip hotel. Within the Native Amercian reservation there were buses from the airport to the skywalk for visitors.
The transport picked us up at our hotel just after 6 a.m. for a prompt 7:30 a.m. departure. Following a briefing by Ben Tippet, our affable pilot with seven years of helicopter flying experience, we were on our way. Take off in our seven-seat ECO Star aircraft was smooth and from my seat I could see the Las Vegas Strip. As we left the city behind the urban view changed to arid landscape. That day we flew over Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and Colorado River, and made a 20-minute stop on the South Rim on the Grand Canyon. From our shady spot we could see the North Rim of the Canyon and the Hualapai land. We took advantage of the stop to meet our fellow passengers from near and far. The desert heat had made us thirsty. We gratefully imbibed the complimentary beverages (bubbly, water and juice) and sampled the pastries.
From there we flew to the newly built Grand Canyon West International Airport. The Hualapai land occupies 1.2 billion acres. We wanted to maximize the limited amount of time we had at the reservation before our departure back to Las Vegas. We quickly snatched a glimpse of Hualapai Ranch, still under construction; and from there went on to the world famous horseshoe shaped glass skywalk, the reason we and another one thousand visitors each day made the trip by air and land to this remote location. We returned to the airport, a little hungry but just in time for our return flight.
Restaurant There was Native American food for sale at the skywalk.
Souvenir Shops The Maverick shop sold hand made Indian jewelry, shirts, hats, gold flakes, toy helicopters that look like theirs, jackets, and real time video of passenger tours. There were two gift shops at the skywalk offering clothing, recordings, Native American and Hailapai crafts, music, jewelry and sundry items. There was a larger gift shop at the Grand Canyon airport selling foreign made clothing and souvenirs.
Tours During the flight our pilot described the major landmarks and noteworthy areas. At the skywalk, visitors walked on their own across the observation area, after donning protective shoe covers and leaving photographic equipment at the gift shop. Just after exiting the skywalk we spent a few minutes listening to a group of elderly local ladies sitting in the shade of a performing area singing to the sounds of a recording by Keith Mahone.
Other The company owned and 31 helicopters, making Maverick the largest operator of the ECO Star in the world, according to a company representative. The company’s oldest helicopter was four years old at the time of this writing.
Date Of Visit
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
Would You Visit This Attraction Again? Yes