Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada region are popular destinations for domestic and international tourists alike. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 42.9 million people visited Southern Nevada in 2016 and spent $35.5 billion in the process. While there’s certainly plenty to do and see at ground level, the folks at Maverick Helicopters want to show you the sights from a different perspective.
RewardExpert spoke with Bryan Kroten, Maverick Helicopter’s vice president of marketing, about the company’s history, what makes a Maverick experience special, and his can’t-miss picks for your next Southern Nevada vacation.
From a Single Aircraft to an Impressive Fleet
Founded by husband and wife team Greg and Brenda Rochna in 1995, Maverick Helicopters began with one aircraft and a dream.
“Greg and Brenda wanted to offer a different experience than what was already available in town,” Kroten explained. “They planned to take an approach that was more boutique and high-end with VIP-level service unlike that offered by other tour companies at the time.”
“That was more than 21 years ago now,” Kroten continued. “Through time and a lot of hard work and dedication, the company has grown to where we now have 47 ECO-Star helicopters, two locations in the Las Vegas valley, two locations at the Grand Canyon and, most recently, a new location in Maui, Hawaii.”
More than 225,000 guests enjoy Maverick Helicopter tours each year.
“While we do have a group and charter segment, our typical passenger is a leisure traveler,” Kroten added. “I’d say 90 percent of our guests are people who are on vacation.”
Superior Helicopters, Pilots and Safety
Though there are numerous tour companies in the Las Vegas region, Kroten said travelers should choose Maverick Helicopters because they’re superior in three key areas.
“The first is the helicopter itself,” he explained. “We have one type of helicopter for our entire fleet, unlike a lot of other companies where you might be sold one thing and then given something else. We promise and deliver what we sell.”
To date, Maverick has invested over $85 million in its fleet of ECO-Star helicopters. Each one features Quiet Technology, 23 percent larger cabin space than most other helicopters, wraparound glass for unbeatable visibility, and front-facing individual leather seats. Each ECO-Star holds up to seven passengers.
“The second thing that really makes Maverick different is our pilots,” Kroten continued. “They serve as pilot, tour guide, concierge, and expediter, and are at the top of their industry and the best of the best. The pilot makes or breaks the experience, and ours make sure you’re getting first class service throughout.”
The third differentiator is maintenance and safety. Maverick has the top safety record of any tourism-based aviation company in the world and has received the FAA’s distinguished Diamond Award.
Something for Everyone
“Within the Valley we have more than a dozen experiences to choose from,” Kroten said, outlining Maverick Helicopter’s tour offerings. “Some are as little as a 15-minute flight over the Strip to packages that are more than seven hours and offer almost a full day experience. We definitely have something for everyone.”
For travelers with packed schedules and limited free time, he recommends the company’s popular Vegas Nights flight.
“This departs from our Las Vegas Boulevard location, and we pick guests up at their hotel,” Kroten explained. “It’s a 12- to 15-minute flight over the Las Vegas Strip and is a great activity to fit in before or after dinner.”
He recommends the Wind Dancer Air and Landing Tour if you’d like to see the Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas Strip in one trip.
“It’s our most popular Grand Canyon flight,” said Kroten. “It takes about four hours hotel to hotel and includes a 45-minute flight to the Grand Canyon during which you fly over Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Mohave Desert. You actually enter into the Grand Canyon and descend to land at the bottom. Once there, we serve champagne and snacks. It’s a very beautiful, tranquil location. On the flight back, we take you over an area called the Bowl of Fire as well as over the Las Vegas Strip.”
For a uniquely romantic experience, Kroten suggested the Vegas Dream Sunset tour. “You’ll see both the Hoover Dam and the Las Vegas Strip in a quick 40-minute flight,” he said. “It’s timed to come back right at sunset so all the lights of the Strip are on. It makes for a very impactful experience.”