I prepare to begin a 6-day helicopter excursion with two paying passengers.
Those of you who have been following my blog might remember that Flying M Air’s Southwest Circle Helicopter Adventure was featured in Arizona Highways, one of the best magazines about Arizona. Arizona Highways shares well-researched information and incredible photographs about the state, offering residents and regular visitors a guide to little-known places while enticing other folks to come for a visit or a more substantial vacation.
The magazine is well-known in Arizona but less known outside the state — except by photographers. Its photos form a sort of “gold standard” for southwest landscape photography. It also has a huge readership in Europe. Europeans — notably Germans and the French — love the U.S. Southwest, probably because it’s so different from anything out there.
Anyway, the magazine coverage got my phone ringing more than usual with people who were serious about flying with me. I sold several excursion packages, including one that begins today.
So starting in a few hours, I’ll be taking two folks from the high country on the east side of Arizona on a six-day, five-night helicopter excursion all over northern Arizona.
If you’re interested in such things, you can track our progress two ways:
- Spot Messenger will be enabled during all flight segments. Visit http://tinyurl.com/FindMaria to see where we’re flying.
- GPS Tracker, in my new Blackberry Storm, will be sending out signals of where I am every five minutes (while it is within cell phone coverage areas). Visit http://tinyurl.com/FindMaria2 to see where I am.
When he heard about these excursions, a fellow helicopter pilot commented to me that I’d really have to like the people I was flying around to spend six days with them. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I only spend about 1-2 hours a day with them. The rest of the time, they’re on tours (without me) and on their own. But, in general, the folks who do this excursion are very likable. After all, they like helicopters and they like touring Arizona. We’ve already got that in common, so we’re good to go.
I brought my still and video cameras with me on this trip and hope to share some images in daily blog posts. While my passengers are doing their thing, I’m doing mine. I have chores — tying down the helicopter’s blades, seeing to fuel, hauling luggage, checking in/out of hotels — but I have just as much free time at the destinations as my passengers do. I intend to make the most of it.
And get a little R&R when I’m done.
Just because I’m on someone else’s vacation doesn’t mean it can’t be my vacation, too.