Too Old for a Helicopter Ride?

And people think I say bad things about seniors!

About two months ago — maybe longer — I wrote to Bud Carr, president of Rainbow Parks, Inc. Rainbow owns a number of 55+ trailer parks, including North Ranch, which is halfway between Wickenburg and Congress on Route 89.

Last year, when I had Tristan’s helicopter, I’d landed in a big open area at North Ranch to talk to the folks that run the park about doing helicopter rides there. I’d already had successful events at Stanton (the ghost town, which is inhabited by members of the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association) and at Robson’s Mining World. At all of these events, the vast majority of my passengers had been aged 55+. Landing the helicopter at North Ranch got a lot of attention (it usually does) and lots of folks seemed interested in rides. But the manager told me I’d have to write to the head office to get their approval.

So I did. And after more than two months, the head office answered me. And I still can’t believe what they said.

“Thank you for your proposal,” Mr Carr wrote. “Due to the age of our members and concerns about liability and insurance, we are not able to allow you to give helicopter rides at our property.”

I added the bold italics. It’s that phrase that really tweaked me. (I’m used to the insurance argument and have enough insurance to satisfy most folks.) It’s obvious to me that Mr. Carr believes that his members are all half dead or too feeble to enjoy a scenic helicopter ride.

Any of the hundreds of people who have flown with me over the past five years can attest that a flight with me is nothing like an amusement park ride. Blood pressures will not rise. Hearts won’t fail. Arteries won’t harden and clog. I’ve never had a passenger complain about a flight; I’ve never had a dissatisfied customer.

“Due to the age of our members…”

A few weeks ago, I took a 90-year-old woman and her 88-year-old brother on an hour long flight up the Salt River from Mesa to Roosevelt Lake. They were like two kids in there, talking about the rock formations and the boats on the lakes and the greenness of the desert. The woman had been wanting to fly in a helicopter for more than 40 years, but her husband had asked her not to. Her children knew how much it meant to her. My helicopter and I were her birthday surprise.

“Due to the age of our members…”

In January, I was part of the Anniversary Celebration entertainment at Robson’s Mining World in Aguila. I took 47 people on flights that day and more than half of them were over 55. In fact, when I arrived at 9 AM, there were eight “seniors” waiting for me. They’d driven to Robson’s from their 55+ park in Hope, AZ specifically to fly with me.

“Due to the age of our members…”

This past weekend, I wasted my time at Lake Havasu City offering helicopter rides for spring break. Thousands of college students had descended on the city and its resorts. I waited with my helicopter in a parking lot at one of the resorts, right where all the kids could see us. I took a total of seven people for rides in two days. And do you know what? All seven of them were older than me. (I’m 43 these days.) Two of them were over 70. One woman was a nervous wreck when we took off, but ten minutes later, as I made my approach to land, she said, “Oh, that was too short! I want to do it again.”

Where were the kids? Maybe they were too young to enjoy a helicopter ride. (In reality, all they were interested in was beer and boobs. But don’t get me started about that.)

“Due to the age of our members…”

But the folks at North Ranch won’t be getting helicopter rides there. Bud Carr thinks they all have one foot in the grave.

And this guy is the company president?

3 thoughts on “Too Old for a Helicopter Ride?

  1. Don’t be angry, it’s the economy!!! I am over 60, love helicopter rides, ( having flown twice in Vegas). But I believe it’s the price to fly. Us oldsters realize we need to spend it on things we want to do and not give it to our kids- so we opt for the fun things in life. ( like enjoy the experience of a whirlybird.) lol lol Youngsters will be sorry if they find enjoyment in a can of beer, (and I won’t mention boobs, because that IS an enjoyment in life) I can say my dream was to be a helicopter pilot the very first time I went up, but, reality is, I will leave it to your age group to continue giving us oldsters a few moments of thrill and excitement in our life. Keep it going, I will be your forever supporter…

    • Rosemary: When I wrote that post back in 2003, it wasn’t the economy. The economy was booming back then. It was the close-minded opinions of the people who run North Ranch in Congress. They treat their members like patients in an old age home. That was my point.

      Hope you enjoy your next helicopter ride as much as your first!

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