Isaiah Burch brought a new business to Hilton Head Island.
This business takes guests high over the waters and gives them a bird’s eye view of South Carolina’s boot-shaped island. It’s Hilton Head Heli Tours, Hilton Head Island’s only helicopter touring business.
“One of my favorite things is getting up there and not knowing what you’re going to see. Everything is always changing – the sky, the atmosphere – it’s something new every day. The other is just seeing the expression on passengers’ faces getting up for the first time. It’s nothing like an airliner or airplane,” said Burch. “It’s not like a roller coaster, it doesn’t drop or have sharp turns or anything, but you truly feel like you’re flying.”
Burch starting flying helicopters when he was just 14 years old.
He became a certified flight instructor a few years later and has been one ever since. He’s done tours in East Tennessee over the Smokey Mountains, dusted crops over farms in Ohio, worked with Vanilla Ice and DIY Network on “Vanilla Ice goes Amish,” in addition to assisting other photographers and videographers in their work for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel filming the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas, as well as Clingmans Dome and Mount LeConte.
He even served as a medevac helicopter pilot for a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. But Burch left that job to come to Hilton Head Island and start Hilton Head Heli Tours.
“We picked Hilton Head because it looked like the perfect area with unbelievable aerial views” said Burch. “The tourists love it here, there are beautiful things to look at and, it’s a fun activity, geared towards the family that gives a different perspective of the Island.”
Kids, parents and grandparents of all ages can go on a helicopter tour.
There is no minimum or maximum age for who can ride at Hilton Head Heli Tours, making it the perfect family-friendly activity.
“I think the youngest one I ever flew was maybe three months old and the oldest passenger was 95 or 96 years old, so it’s something for everybody,” said Burch.
They have eight different tours, ranging from a 10-mile Intro Tour of Hilton Head at $39 a person to a 120-mile East Coast Tour that follows the coast up to Charleston for $499 a person. The flights are be narrated so passengers can learn a little bit about the history of the area, everything from the Civil War to pirate activity in the area.
Customers even have the option to do “doors off” tours.
Customers ride in the helicopter without the doors on the right side of the aircraft, which is standard for most of their tours. But if that’s too daring, passengers can request that both be on.
Tickets for Hilton Head Heli Tours are available online at FlyHHI.com, as well as at their kiosk in Coligny Plaza and at Signature Flight Support at the Hilton Head Airport, where their flights depart from.
But it’s not just helicopter tours. Hilton Head Heli Tours offer flight instruction as well as aerial photography and videography services.
“Our focus is the tours. We also offer flight instruction and aerial photography and videography,” said Burch.
There’s no age requirement to start flight instruction.
But students have to be at least 16 years old to fly the helicopter alone. It costs $575 per hour, which includes the expenses for fuel, the instructor and the lesson.
For commercial photo and video work, it costs $700 per hour with a one-hour minimum. But once the one-hour requirement is met, they are willing to section off the hours and charge for a half-hour. They also have cameras and video equipment that their customers can use.
The tours depart from Hilton Head Airport at 52 Gateway Circle. For more information, go to FlyHHI.com or call (843) 505-7182.