Big Mountain Heli Tours in Rotor and Wing Magazine

We’re excited to be featured in Rotor and Wing Magazine this month.

Big Mountain Heli Tours of Bend, Oregon, is in its first year of operation. With Bend in the path of totality, the company’s CEO, Patric Douglas, said he is excited to offer some unique packages to people wanting to experience the eclipse, with helicopters leased from Leading Edge Aviation. For $80,000, Big Mountain is offering a “Mt. Jefferson Summit Solar Eclipse Basecamp,” at which guests can camp out on land owned by the Confederate Warm Springs Tribes. According to the company, this is the first time the tribe has issued a tribal permit for Oregon’s second-tallest peak. With the permit, Big Mountain can land on the peak’s eastern flank and set up the fully staffed overnight camp for a group of seven.

To get the exclusive permission, Douglas said it took six months of building a relationship with the tribe and working out a deal that was beneficial for both sides. The tribe, he said, did not want its land trampled upon.

“There’s a perfect solution in helicopters,” Douglas, who has been in tourism for 36 years, but is a first-time helicopter tourism chief, told R&WI, “because they offer the lightest footprint on their land while giving access to people for adventures and offerings that they would never have had.”

Big Mountain is also participating in Oregon Solarfest in Madras, of which NASA is a partner. “We’re actually going to execute the largest helicopter lift in Oregon history,” Douglas said.

The company has made available basecamps for the eclipse, with a price tag of $8,000 each. Douglas said the company has sold 10. He said he worked with a ranch owner who has 30,000 acres in the path of totality to allow the company to fly 60 people there.

“Helicopters are not just about power lines and fighting fires and transporting people from point A to point B. Helicopters can also be a bridge between cultures,” Douglas said. “Helicopters in Oregon have been just that — very functional, very business oriented. This is kind of a new use for helicopters, and I do like that — using them to bridge cultures.”