Air Safari in Mussoorie : Covering the pristine landscapes of Mussoorie and the mighty Himalayan ranges from the vantage point of a helicopter, hot air balloon, or gyrocopter is an unforgettable adventure unlike any other. This unique activity known as an “air safari” offers travelers a spectacular bird’s-eye perspective of the natural beauty surrounding this popular hill station.
From exhilarating helicopter rides skimming over mountain peaks to the tranquil float of a hot air balloon at dawn, an air safari in Mussoorie provides a truly distinctive experience. Read on to discover everything you need to know about exploring the “Queen of the Hills” on a thrilling air expedition.
An Overview of Air Safaris in Mussoorie
An air safari refers to scenic aerial tours by light aircraft, helicopter, or hot air balloon over a picturesque landscape. The concept originated with bush planes providing air access to remote wilderness, but now encompasses recreational sightseeing flights too.
In Mussoorie, air safaris allow travelers to soak in the breathtaking vistas of the Shivalik mountain ranges in Uttarakhand from unique vantage points. They provide unparalleled views of famous Himalayan peaks like Bandarpoonch and Yamunotri as well as stunning sights like the Kempty Falls, Tehri Dam, and mountain valleys.
Professional aviators and experienced bush pilots operate the helicopters and balloons used for air safaris in Mussoorie. They expertly pilot state-of-the-art, well-maintained aircraft on safe, pre-determined routes.
The launch of commercial bush flying with air safaris in the 1990s first introduced the thrill of unique helicopter take-offs and landings as well as accessing remote, high-altitude terrain normally out of reach.
Popular Air Safari Experiences in Mussoorie
Short Helicopter Rides
Today, travelers can choose from helicopter, gyrocopter, and hot air balloon rides of varying durations to suit their interests and budgets. Flights typically take off from Dehradun airport or Sahastradhara helipad.
For a quick bird’s-eye glimpse of Mussoorie, short 5 to 15 minute helicopter rides are available. Operators like Himalayan Heli Services offer packages like the Mussoorie Explorer (5-6 minutes) and Himalayan Kitty Hawk (10-12 minutes) starting from ₹4,999.
These short sorties provide an exciting first-time helicopter experience, ideal for families with kids. The flights showcase panoramic views of Mussoorie’s iconic landmarks like Gun Hill, Camel’s Back Road, and Kempty Falls from a height of 6,000 feet.
Longer Helicopter Tours
For an extensive aerial tour, longer helicopter rides of 25 to 60 minutes can be booked. Packages like Himalayan Expedition (25-30 mins) and Himalayan Great Escape (50-60 mins) offered by operators provide more time airborne to fully experience Mussoorie’s sublime scenery.
Besides Mussoorie’s most popular sites, longer air safaris also include more offbeat areas like Yamunotri glacier, Har Ki Dun valley, and Bandarpoonch peak. Their higher altitudes upto 20,000 feet reveal breathtaking panoramas of the mighty Himalayan peaks.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Watching the sunrise while soaring gently over the mist-covered hills of Mussoorie in a hot air balloon is an incredibly serene experience. Though less common than helicopter flights, hot air balloon safaris provide a uniquely peaceful perspective.
Lasting 60-90 minutes, these sunrise rides float up to 3,000 feet as burners heat the balloon. The tranquil float pairs perfectly with the stunning vistas of Himalayan foothills and Doon Valley waking up to a new day.
For serious adventure lovers, gyrocopter rides offer unmatched thrills and sights. These agile, unconventional aircraft swoop low with their uptilted rotors maneuvering tight turns.
Gyrocopter air safaris like Valley of Flowers (10 mins) provide close-up views of ridges, forests and rivers at elevations as low as 1,500 feet for maximum adrenaline. The exposed seating also enhances the sense of rushing through the skies at 60 mph!
Air Safari Flight Details
Before embarking on an air safari, it is important to know details regarding duration, pricing, and safety protocols.
Duration and Costs
- Short helicopter rides of 5-15 minutes cost ₹4,999 to ₹9,999.
- Longer helicopter tours of 25-60 minutes range from ₹12,000 to ₹30,999.
- Hot air balloon rides of 60-90 minutes start at around ₹17,500 per person.
- Gyrocopter rides of 10-30 minutes cost ₹5,500 onwards.
- Prices usually include taxes. Private charters are more expensive while group discounts are offered on some packages. Prices may be chanaged, chek with respective operator for correct and updted prices before booking.
Age Restrictions and Safety
- Minimum age is generally 5 years for helicopters and gyrocopters, and 12 years for hot air balloons.
- Small children are not allowed except on lap or with dual controls.
- Safety briefing is mandatory before the flight covering aircraft details, emergency procedures, etc.
- Pilot credentials are verified and aircraft are inspected before each flight.
- Weather conditions are continuously monitored for safe operation.
- Pre-booking at least 2-3 days in advance is recommended for confirmation and preparation.
Thrilling Air Safari Experiences in Mussoorie
While individual tastes may vary, some of the most popular and thrilling air safari offerings in Mussoorie are:
Mussoorie Explorer Air Safari
This short helicopter ride lasts just 5-6 minutes but packs in exciting bird’s-eye views of Mussoorie’s iconic sights like Gun Hill, Mall Road, Bhatta Falls, and Municipal Garden at 6,000 feet altitude. The sweeping panoramas surrounding the hill station make for postcard-perfect moments.
Himalayan Kitty Hawk Air Safari
Another entry-level helicopter air safari, this 10-12 minute flight takes travelers on an exhilarating ride covering Mussoorie’s landmarks as well as adjoining areas like Kempty Falls, Nag Tibba, and Yamuna Bridge. With views of the Himalayan peaks in the distance, this air safari offers spectacular views.
Valley of Flowers Gyrocopter Ride
For thrillseekers, soaring low in an open-top gyrocopter over the vibrant flower valleys near Mussoorie is an incredible experience. Close perspectives of forests, rivers, and hillsides at just 1,500 feet altitude make for an unforgettable adventure.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari
There’s nothing more magical than a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over the verdant Garhwal hills surrounding Mussoorie. The peaceful sight of the morning mist clearing to reveal the snow-clad Himalayan peaks is breathtaking to behold from the skies.
Himalayan Great Escape Air Safari
This 50-60 minute helicopter ride is the ultimate way to experience Mussoorie and beyond. Flying high up to 20,000 feet above sea level, travelers can soak in birds-eye views of famous Himalayan peaks, Yamunotri glacier, Bandarpoonch, and more in a thrilling extended flight.
Best Air Safari Operators in Mussoorie
Reputable air safari providers in Mussoorie offering world-class equipment and services include:
- Himalayan Heli Services – A pioneering helicopter tour operator famed for skilled pilots and well-maintained choppers. Offers short to long rides over Mussoorie.
- Himalayan Aviation Academy – Mussoorie’s only flying school conducting fixed-wing and helicopter training. Also offers air safaris and charters.
- Paragliding Club– Experienced tandem parag
Booking Your Air Safari in Mussoorie
Booking an air safari in Mussoorie is simple and can be done directly through operator websites. Follow these steps for a smooth process:
Step 1: Browse Official Website
Visit the official website of your chosen air safari operator like Himalayan Heli Services. Review available flight options, routes, prices and duration.
Step 2: Select Package
Choose your preferred air safari package based on number of people, budget, interests etc. Consider group discounts for bigger parties.
Step 3: Provide Information
Provide details on number of passengers, date of travel, contact information etc. Mention any special requirements as well.
Step 4: Make Payment
Use the secure online payment gateway to pay your booking amount via credit card, debit card, or internet banking.
Step 5: Receive Confirmation
A booking confirmation will be sent to you via email or SMS. Get in touch for any queries.
Step 6: Get Ready!
Follow all instructions emailed regarding arrival time, reporting place, what to wear & carry etc. Get set for an exhilarating air safari!
By booking early and through official channels, you can ensure a safe, organized air safari experience.
Himalayan Air Safari Initiative
Recognizing the tremendous potential of air safaris in Uttarakhand, the state tourism department launched the Himalayan Air Safari initiative in 2018.
It aims to boost regional air connectivity and adventure tourism via collaborations with private aviation companies like Heli Charter Service, Himalayan Heli Services and Caper Travels.
Growing interest in expanding air safaris
As part of the pilot phase, test flights of choppers, hot air balloons and gyrocopters were conducted in Mussoorie, Tehri and Uttarkashi districts. Based on feasibility assessments, regular commercial air safari operations will be rolled out across various circuits.
From short exciting helicopter rides to serene hot air balloon flights at dawn, air safaris unlock unparalleled perspectives of Mussoorie’s spectacular mountainscapes. Bird’s-eye views of the hills and valleys surrounding this scenic hill station are an absolute delight.
As more operators offer customized packages, tech-enabled experiences, and regional expansion, air safaris are fast emerging as a popular tourism activity for adventure seekers.
With proper safety measures and responsible practices in place, air safaris offer the ultimate way to rediscover Mussoorie’s old-world charm in an entirely new light. The thrill of skimming over the hills in a chopper or floating gently in a balloon is sure to provide travelers memories that will last a lifetime.
So next time you visit Mussoorie, be sure to book yourself an enthralling air safari for a truly distinctive vacation experience. Ready to take off on a spectacular airborne adventure? Contact leading operators today for the ride of a lifetime!