On a spring Saturday afternoon, the Maverick Helicopters terminal on Las Vegas Boulevard South is buzzing with activity as patrons get ready to board the company’s state-of-the-art helicopters for tours of the Grand Canyon. I hear a range of languages and accents as I sit waiting to take the company’s popular Wind Dancer tour, a two-and-half-hour round trip to the Grand Canyon’s west rim, landing 3,500 feet down into the canyon, overlooking the Colorado River. “It’s by far the best of the best of what we do,” Maverick Vice President of Marketing Bryan Kroten says, and it’s not hard to see why that is once we get in the air.

Maverick prides itself on pilots who are not only top-notch aviators but also knowledgeable tour guides and customer-oriented concierges. “They’re your everything during your experience,” Kroten says, and it’s clear from the start that our pilot Rhys Donaldson fits all of those criteria. He jokes with me about taking notes, and puts everyone in our group (including a couple from Southern California and a group from Vancouver) at ease.

No one seems nervous to take the flight, but the affable, easygoing Rhys (with his charming New Zealand accent) could probably calm anyone’s nerves. “I’ve seen 99 percent of the people that are nervous get out of the helicopter and say they want to do it again,” Kroten says, and from the smooth takeoff through the entire ride, Rhys demonstrates that commitment to comfort and competency.

It’s about a 45-minute ride to the west rim, with music playing through our headsets the entire time, and Rhys offering up facts about the areas that pass under us as we travel. As informative and personable as Rhys is, though, the views really speak for themselves, and seeing it all from up in the sky is breathtaking, even before we get to the Grand Canyon itself.

We land on the west rim with a break for refreshments, and it’s the perfect amount of time to take in the surroundings before getting back on the helicopter, for another gorgeous ride above natural wonders on the way back to Vegas. Before landing at the terminal, we fly over Downtown and the Strip, replicating another popular Maverick package, the Vegas Nights ride. Kroten describes that shorter, less-expensive package as an easy introduction to helicopter tours. “From a time perspective and a monetary situation,” he says, “it is our most mainstream product we do.”

From the Vegas Nights flight over the Strip and the Wind Dancer tour of the Grand Canyon to one of Maverick’s shuttle flights to events at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (including the Electric Daisy Carnival), any Maverick ride will be a memorable experience and a highlight of a trip to Vegas. With a fleet of 47 helicopters in six locations, Maverick provides unforgettable views wherever they fly. “Whether you’re in Hawaii or the Grand Canyon or over the Las Vegas Strip,” Kroten says, “the best way to see any of these locales is from a helicopter.”

6075 Las Vegas Blvd. S. 702.261.0007 or 866.644.8687