While both are incredible options for sightseeing, these two aircrafts offer different experiences. Let us help you decide which is best for you!

By Redtail Air Adventures

For many of our customers, a scenic flight tour is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience that sticks with them for years to come! Whether you’re visiting the Moab area or you’re a local looking for a new experience, you have a lot of options to choose from if you want to get an incredible bird’s eye view of the natural landscape. Redtail Air recently acquired Pinnacle Helicopters, which means that you now have even more choices when you book a flight with us.

While either style of aircraft can take you on an incredible scenic flight, helicopters and airplanes have a few key differences that you may want to consider when booking your tour. Some guests don’t understand the differences between airplane flights and helicopter flights, and we want you to have all of the information you need before booking! Our tours vary in price, location, and duration. We’ll break down all of the important information, so you can feel confident in booking the perfect flight tour for your trip to Moab.

Fixed Wing (Airplane) Scenic Tours

red and white cessna plane on the runway

Airplane Mechanics 101

There are a few major structural differences between airplanes and helicopters that make them distinctive styles of aircraft. The biggest difference between an airplane and a helicopter is the way that the mechanics are designed to generate its lift. Rotary-winged aircraft, or helicopters, have rotor blades that are mounted on top of the aircraft. Fixed-wing airplanes, on the other hand, have stationary wings that generate lift once moving air is flowing over them. That is why airplanes require a runway to take off, and helicopters don’t need one!

What Can I See on an Airplane Tour?

At Redtail Air, we operate a diverse fleet of fixed-wing airplanes. We have three Cessna planes, two Gipps Air Vans, and two Quest Kodiak planes. We offer the best Moab airplane tours around and have so many different options for you to choose from when booking with us! Our extensive tour offerings allow you to see everything this magnificent area has to offer, including Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, and more! If none of the tours cover exactly what you are looking for, contact us and we can help you build a custom tour to ensure you get to see everything you came here for!

Helicopter Scenic Tours

black helicopter on the ground

Helicopter Mechanics 101

As previously mentioned, helicopters are fairly distinct from fixed-wing aircraft. The helicopter that we operate is a Robinson R44 Raven. It is, in fact, as cool as the name sounds! The Robinson R44 Raven is a four-seater that is known to be high performing, reliable, and easy to maintain. Because helicopters have more moving parts than fixed-wing aircrafts, they typically vibrate more during flight. If you are prone to getting motion sickness easily, an airplane tour might be a better option for you than a helicopter tour. 

What Can I See on a Helicopter Tour?

Taking a helicopter ride in Utah is a unique and thrilling experience. Our helicopter tours will fly you over some of the most spectacular sights near Moab! Explore Canyonlands, iconic arches, and a Happy Canyon Landing flight that allows you to get out and walk in the depths of the canyon, including among an abandoned mining camp.

Helicopter vs. Airplane Tour: The Major Differences

guests smiling on a scenic air tour

Tour Cost

Our airplane tours cost anywhere between $129 and $599 per person, depending on which one you book. The more affordable options are shorter in duration, but still offer incredible views and experiences. Our shortest, most affordable flight is the Best Arches Tour, and it offers 30 minutes of incredible views of the natural arches. The longest tour options are our Bryce Canyon & Capitol Reef National Park Combo Tour, and our Lake Powell & Canyonlands Combo Tour. Each of those two flights offers three hours of amazing desert views. 

Helicopter tours tend to cost more per hour of flight time, as helicopters are more expensive to operate and maintain. A helicopter has many more life-limited components than an airplane does, and, on average, they typically burn through fuel more quickly. Our helicopter tours range in price from $149 to $479 per person. If you are seeking to book the most cost effective flight option, an airplane tour is the way to go!

Flight Speed

In general, fixed-wing airplanes can fly faster than rotary-wing helicopters. Our airplanes can generally fly higher with greater fuel efficiency, making them advantageous in covering more ground within a limited time. That being said, our tours are not meant to be speedy experiences. We want to point out all of the spectacular sights that our beautiful desert landscape has to offer. We give you the opportunity to take in the views and snap some pictures throughout the tours. While we like to take our time on all of our scenic flights regardless of the aircraft, our airplane tours are typically longer in duration than our helicopter tours.

Aircraft Capacity

If you are booking a tour for between two and four people, then our airplanes or helicopter can accommodate you just fine. If you are booking for a larger group, however, an airplane is likely going to be your best option that will allow everyone to get on the same tour. Our helicopter tours require a two-person minimum to operate. Our fixed-wing planes can accommodate more people, and they also have a higher weight limit.

guests loading a red and white airplane before a tour

Booking the Best Scenic Air Tour

Now that we have covered the major differences between our airplane and helicopter tours, hopefully you have all of the information you might need to book the perfect flight! A helicopter tour might offer a more unique experience, while an airplane tour is typically more affordable. Our helicopter and airplane tour options vary in both the fly-over locations and their duration. This is something you may want to consider when deciding which one is best for you. No matter which aircraft you choose for your scenic air tour, we’re certain that you will enjoy a fantastic experience with Redtail Air. We can’t wait to fly with you!

Best Arches Tour

The landscape around Moab with sandstone arches, canyons, rivers, mesas, and towers is spectacular! Come join us on our newest flight that highlights the best that Moab has to offer outside the national parks!


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