As part of a fun trip to San Antonio, we booked a helicopter tour of San Antonio with Alamo Helicopters. They offer several tours and we picked the “Alamo & More Tour” and really enjoyed it. Alamo Helicopters flies out of Stinson Municipal Airport which is the second oldest general aviation airport in continuous operation in the United States and it’s just 6 miles south of downtown San Antonio.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted by the Alamo Helicopter’s team, signed a waiver, got some short safety instructions, and then walked out to the tarmac to board our helicopter which was warmed up and ready to go. We were riding in a Robinson R44 (one of the most reliable and popular helicopters in the US – I was pleased to hear that!) which is a 3 passenger plus pilot helicopter and it’s an amazing little flying machine.
Some Facts About The R44 Helicopter
- It only weights a little over 1400 pounds
- Has a fuel capacity of 29 gallons and a range of 300 or so miles
- The maximum passenger count is 3 with a total weight capacity is 570 pounds
- Has maximum operating altitude of 14,000
After squeezing into the two back seats and meeting our pilot, Jose Corona, we did a radio check with our head sets and lifted off. What an amazing feeling to go almost straight up and swing a sharp right turn and gain up to 500 feet in altitude in less than a few seconds. It was also interesting listening to Jose communicate with the flight controllers.
I was sitting in back of Jose and kept checking the helicopter instruments looking for warning lights, buzzing or blinking gauges, and other signs of trouble to make sure all was ok! To my sheer satisfaction, Jose had everything under control as he flew us toward downtown.
Before we knew it we were 500 feet above sea level and flying adjacent to the downtown San Antonio skyline and close to the the Tower of the Americas as we followed the San Antonio River as it meanders through San Antonio. We’ve toured San Antonio by car, bike, and riverboat and our tour with Alamo Helicopter gave us a whole new perspective of the City.
In The Air
We flew over the Quarry Marketplace where the wife has spent a fortune and the Quarry Golf Course where I have lost several golf balls. We also saw several historic missions and flew over the quadrangle and clock tower at Fort Sam Houston.
Then we turned around and started heading back to the airport with closer views of downtown San Antonio, another golf course, and the historic 1948 Mission Drive-in Theater which brought back some fond memories of when we used to go to drive-ins.
What an outstanding way to see San Antonio and learn about some of it’s history. The tour we took was short (only 16 to 18 minutes covering 27 to 30 miles) but it’s a scenic, fun, unique, and memorable experience. Our thanks to Jose for making it informative and interesting.
The tour that we took with Alamo Helicopters is only one of several that they offer. Some other tour options include:
- A shorter version of the tour we took
- Two hill country tours (from 30 to 48 miles) over San Antonio and north over the Hill Country, past Six Flags, and over some scenic and rugged Hill Country terrain and hilltops
- custom and night tours to view the sunset and San Antonio lights at night
- the Salt Lick Charter which includes 120 minutes of flight time over San Antonio, Canyon Lake, and the Hill Country on it’s way to landing at the infamous Salt Lick BBQ Restaurant in Driftwood for lunch and then flying over Austin and back down over the Guadalupe River to San Antonio
In addition, Alamo Helicopters offer flight training, romantic getaways, and even wedding flights – they’ll fly you, you bride/groom, and a minister to say your vows over downtown San Antonio. They also have an operation in Austin. There are no age restrictions and young kids will remember and relish this experience for years. Give them a call and sign up for a memorable experience.