Recommendations for hot air balloon or helicopter tour in DC?
August 18, 2012 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for hot air balloon or helicopter tour in DC?

Looking for recommendations for hot air balloon or helicopter tour in DC. Google provides a bunch of sites that all look like generic advertisements/spam. I couldn't find a rating site either so any input would be great.
posted by telsa to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Ummm, yeah, gotta second phronist: there just ain't no such animal. This whole area is one giant "Do No Fly" zone; anything flying anywhere other than the narrow flight lanes in and out of National Airport will be forced down by military fighter jets.
posted by easily confused at 3:49 AM on August 19, 2012

I am a pilot vetted to fly in the DC Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), which includes the entirety of DC and the close-in suburbs. The rules here are absurdly strict, with balloon operations specifically prohibited.

There are definitely helicopters operating over DC - I know because they fly over my house. Apart from government users, there's at least one privately-owned news-gathering helicopter and also fixed-wing traffic planes operating inside the FRZ. Though aircraft flying out of one of the three general aviation airports in the FRZ are "supposed" to only go between the airport and the FRZ (and not just fly around the FRZ), there are special waivers available to do things like news-gathering and aerial photography in the zone. You could try American Helicopters in Manassas to see if they have such a waiver, but I would be shocked if you could do any sort of a normal aerial tour as can be done around New York City.
posted by exogenous at 6:54 AM on August 19, 2012

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