Firm offering aerial view of sylvan lake

Sylvan Lake beachfront is pretty popular during summer weekends.

LR Helicopters pilot Tony Stehr carries passengers aloft at Sylvan Lake last Saturday. The Calgary company will be offering sight-seeing rides around and over the lake throughout the summer.

Sylvan Lake beachfront is pretty popular during summer weekends.

A Calgary helicopter company is hoping airspace above the sand and water will be even more desirable.

LR Helicopters Inc. offered flights over and around the lake last Saturday, and plans to continue the service on weekends until Labour Day.

“We’re just really testing right now the consumer willingness to come out and do it,” said Tom Irwin, a pilot with LR Helicopters.

“If it gets busier, we’re going to be there seven days a week.”

Flying from the grass airstrip near the intersection of Hwy 11 and Secondary Hwy 781, south of Sylvan Lake, the four-seat Robinson R44 Raven II attracted lots of attention and also some customers, said Irwin. These included one man who wanted to take his terminally ill grandfather aloft.

The cost of a flight is $50 per person for a five-to-six-minute aerial tour, and $100 for a 10-minute trip. The shorter stint is long enough to take in the town and beach, said Irwin.

“You’d be surprised at how much you can see.”

Ten minutes provides enough time to cross the lake.

Based out of the Springbank Airport, the helicopter will be available at Sylvan Lake from about 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends, said Irwin, adding that passengers should simply come out to the grass airstrip.

“It’s pretty much first-come, first-served.”

For customers interested in a longer, customized flight, the helicopter can be chartered at a rate of $900 an hour.

“You can go wherever you want, pretty much,” said Irwin.

“If people want to, we’ll go over their farms or over their homes or over their businesses to take pictures, or just look at it from above.”

Climbing aboard a helicopter can be intimidating for first-timers, acknowledged Irwin. But that nervousness usually transforms into enthusiasm.

“There are always smiles when they come out.”

Last Saturday, he said, two female passengers went from being skeptics to enthusiasts.

“We had to pry them out of the machine because they didn’t want to get out.”

LR Helicopters, which started in January, operates three light helicopters. Its services range from geological and forestry work to sight-seeing and tourism.

The decision to fly out of Sylvan Lake came from pilot Tony Stehr, who will be operating the helicopter there.

“He’d always wanted to set up one at Sylvan Lake,” said Irwin. “He just thought it was a good area for tourism — it’s a pretty beautiful area and a lof of people.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

RCMP commissioner says info in FBI probe led to arrest of intelligence director

OTTAWA — An RCMP employee charged with trying to disclose secret information… Continue reading

NDP’s Singh seeks urban support with housing billions, avoids deficit questions

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh continued his push to win progressive votes on… Continue reading

B.C. won’t use court ruling as tactic in pipeline battle: environment minister

VANCOUVER — Environment Minister George Heyman says British Columbia can’t stop the… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

RCMP commissioner says info in FBI probe led to arrest of intelligence director

OTTAWA — An RCMP employee charged with trying to disclose secret information… Continue reading

NDP’s Singh seeks urban support with housing billions, avoids deficit questions

OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh continued his push to win progressive votes on… Continue reading

B.C. won’t use court ruling as tactic in pipeline battle: environment minister

VANCOUVER — Environment Minister George Heyman says British Columbia can’t stop the… Continue reading

Parties spar over what is best for parental benefits

OTTAWA — Is it better to be paid in credit or with… Continue reading

Alberta spends $3M for 30 nurse practitioners for remote, specialized areas

Province spends $3M for 30 nurse practitioners for remote, specialized areas EDMONTON… Continue reading

Most Read