Sunday, January 04, 2015

Helicopter tours from Port Canaveral to continue

PORT CANAVERAL – The operator of helicopter tours from Port Canaveral will be able to continue offering them, under a plan unanimously approved by port commissioners.

Tour operator Mark Grainger, founder of Florida Air Tours, says his company has conducted about 400 tours from the port, carrying a total of about 1,000 passengers, since June.

“The feedback from the public has been absolutely tremendous and positive,” Grainger said. “It’s been a resounding success. I’m happy to be part of the port’s offerings, as they grow more attractions in the future.”

Grainger currently operates from the Victory Casino Cruises parking lot, east of the port’s Cove area.

But port officials say that could change, depending on how plans develop for that part of the port.

Port Authority Chairman Tom Weinberg told Grainger he appreciated modification made to the helicopter flight patterns to reduce the noise for beachside residents, which was an initial concern of the port commissioners.

“Your adjustments worked,” Weinberg said.

The helicopter tours range in price from $39 per person for a ride lasting about 5 or 6 minutes to $229 for 45-minute tour. The flights operate between 9 a.m. and sunset.

Grainger’s Robinson R-44 helicopters carry a pilot and three passengers, and have a cruising speed of up to 130 mph.

Grainger said, in the future, he hopes to be one of the official tour options for cruise ship passengers stopping at Port Canaveral on a port-of-call visit.

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