There are a plethora of things to do in Atlanta, but have you ever actually hovered above the heart of the Peach State? Nestled away in its own little corner of Peachtree Dekalb airport is one of Atlanta’s best kept semi-secrets—Prestige Helicopters. Established in 1985 Prestige is truly the authority in helicopter service.
Now I, like many others, have never ridden in a helicopter before, so it was a pleasure to be invited out by Prestige and experience this for the first time. Our main pilot, Scott Smith, is an Air Force veteran who has been flying for 10 years, seven of which have been with Prestige. His years of experience amount to well over 1,500 hours of flight time. We also had the pleasure of meeting the trip’s co-pilot and long time GAFollowers supporter, Victor Alves. He is training to get his commercial license and is only a few hours away from completion. Needless to say, we were in great hands. All my first time jitters were immediately removed.
Our chariot for the day was the Robinson R 44 Raven II. You can own one as well for a small payment of about $500,000. The R 44 is safe, reliable and powerful, making it one of the best helicopters for tours, personal ownership and training purposes in its price range. We had the option to fly with the doors on, but since it was a beautiful day in Atlanta we chose to fly with the doors off. There are a few pros and cons to this option. The higher up you go, the colder/windier it can get. The obvious advantage, however, would be the unobscured view of the urban landscape down below, granting riders an exhilarating new perspective of Atlanta that few will ever get to witness. Simply put, doors off is something to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Prior to take off, Scott made us test the headsets, gave us a last minute safety rundown, informed us of the route we were taking and how high/what speeds we would reach. Takeoff was elegantly simple. We quickly reached about 90 knots, which equates to about 103 mph. We all know 100 mph is fast in a car but in a helicopter it seems even faster. A 15-minute tour can feel like a lifetime, in a good way, because of how much ground you can cover—or should I say hover.
We weaved through Buckhead, marveling at all the skyscrapers. Sometimes you can forget how unique Atlanta’s skylines are when you’re gazing upon them from ground level every day. After hovering over Lenox and Phipps Plaza we circled over two landmarks: the Governor’s Mansion and the King and Queen towers. The Governor’s mansion was something to behold. The perfectly kept, elaborate grounds made the aerial view nearly hypnotizing. “Lavish” seems to be the only proper way to describe the breathtaking view. The King and Queen buildings, remaining true to their names, stood as majestically as ever. As true royalty would, the architectural rulers looked over a clear day in Alpharetta.
During our tour, Scott detailed how much more difficult it was to fly a helicopter versus a plane. On average, a helicopter pilot has to make 26 corrections per second while an airplane pilot makes about 6. He then proceeded to demonstrate why helicopters are safer to land in an emergency scenario by throwing us in Autorotation mode. As the helicopter began to enter a free fall, he masterfully guided us back to our starting point. If he wouldn’t have warned us, there would have been no indication that the free fall was anything more than a normal helicopter landing.
All in all, our experience with Prestige Helicopters was magnificent! Their flights are affordable for even the most modest budget, but the sky-high views are nothing short of priceless. There is no way you could use Prestige Helicopters and not thoroughly impress yourself or others!
Prestige Helicopters Inc
1 Corsair Dr
Atlanta, GA 30341