Types of Scenic Flight: 7 Best Flying Experience Styles

Mar 29, 2023 BY Luke Rees

Scenic flights are an excellent way to experience a location from a bird’s eye view. From small aircraft to hot air balloons, and paragliding to skydiving, the best flying experience styles are as varied as they are exciting. In this article, we’ll explore seven different types of scenic flight.

7 Best types of scenic flight small aircraft royalty free image from Pixabay

The goal of the article is to provide enough information for you to decide what kind of flight experience is the best for you. We look at the risks of each type, the advantages and some of the best places to experience them.

Best Flying Experience Styles

Scenic Flights and Flying Experience FAQ

Here are a few questions that people who want to take a scenic flight often ask:

What is a scenic flight experience?

A scenic flight is a type of aviation experience where passengers fly over a particular area to enjoy the scenery and take in the view from above. There are different styles of scenic flight which are conducted in small aircraft, helicopters, hot air balloons etc. all of which provide a different type of flying experience.

Oludeniz one of the best paragliding holiday destinations. Flickr image by sunriseOdyssey

Is a scenic flight dangerous?

Like any aviation activity, there are risks involved with scenic flights. However, reputable operators take safety very seriously and adhere to strict regulations and guidelines. The following flying experience safety considerations apply across all styles of scenic flight.

Passengers should always choose a reputable operator with a good safety record and follow all instructions provided – before and during the flight. To minimize risk ensure you use safety equipment provided. Bad weather affects small aircraft, so you’ll only fly if conditions are right, so be prepared for a cancelation if the weather is poor.

What is the most scenic flying experience in the world?

It is difficult to determine the most scenic flight in the world as there are so many stunning places to fly over. However, some of the most popular flying experiences include the Grand Canyon in the USA, Milford Sound in New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Northern Lights in Norway.

Top 7 Types of Scenic Flight

Below you’ll find the best styles of flight experience to get a bird’s eye view. They are roughly in order of extremeness. So the least extreme is first with the most adrenaline pumping options further down the list.

Types of Scenic Flight 7 Best Flying Experience Styles small aircraft royalty free image from Pixabay in Whistler

Small Aircraft Flying Experience

A small aircraft scenic flight is the most popular option for those seeking sightseeing flight. This type of scenic flight is typically conducted in a small plane, such as a Cessna, and allows passengers to fly low over a location to take in the views. Useful points about small aircraft scenic flights:

  • Allows for a more personalized experience as small planes carry fewer passengers.
  • Offers a great opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning aerial shots.
  • Best locations for small aircraft scenic flights include the Grand Canyon, New Zealand, and the floatplane from Whistler to Vancouver in Canada.

Scenic Helicopter Flight

A scenic  helicopter flight is a luxurious way to see a location from above. Passengers can enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride, while the helicopter offers the ability to hover and fly closer to certain locations. Some useful information about helicopter scenic flights:

  • Provides a comfortable and luxurious way to experience a location from above.
  • Offers the ability to hover and fly closer to certain locations, providing unique views.
  • Best locations for helicopter scenic flights include New York City, the Patagonia, and can even be combined with a skydive from a helicopter in Switzerland.

Types of Scenic Flight 7 Best Flying Experience Styles helicopter royalty free image from Pixabay

Microlight Scenic Flight

A microlight scenic flight is an exhilarating experience that allows passengers to fly in a small, open-cockpit aircraft. This type of scenic flight offers an unobstructed view of the landscape and allows passengers to feel the wind in their hair. More about microlight scenic flights:

  • Provides a more intimate flying experience as microlights are typically small and carry only one or two passengers.
  • Offers a unique way to see a location from above and experience the feeling of flying.
  • Best locations for microlight scenic flights include the Scottish Highlands, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Hot Air Balloon Flying Experience

A hot air balloon scenic flight is a peaceful and serene way to experience a location from above. Passengers are lifted into the sky by a large balloon and can enjoy stunning panoramic views. Here are some bullet points about hot air balloon scenic flights:

  • Provides a peaceful and serene way to experience a location from above.
  • Offers a unique opportunity to see the landscape from a different perspective.
  • Best locations for hot air balloon scenic flights include Cappadocia, Turkey, the Napa Valley, USA and a Masai Mara hot air balloon safari in Kenya.

best Adventures in Africa hot air ballooning in Kenya needpix royalty free image

Paragliding Flight

A tandem paragliding experience is one of best types of scenic flight to get a bird’s eye view coupled with a thrill. Passengers are attached to a canopy, a little like a parachute and are lifted by the air passing through the canopy. This allow them to serenely soar over the landscape. Useful information about tandem scenic paragliding flights:

  • Offers a thrilling and unique experience that provides a sense of freedom and exhilaration.
  • Provides a quieter and more peaceful way to experience a location from above.
  • Best locations for paragliding scenic flights include the Alps, Pyrenees, Nepal, and Turkey.
  • Paramotoring is very similar but uses a motor to gain altitude when launch is not possible.

Hang Gliding Flight

Tandem hang gliding adventures are similar to paragliding. The main difference is the use of a rigid wing to fly and that you are in a laying position as opposed to seated. Again you can majestically soar over the landscape. Below are some useful points about tandem scenic hang gliding flights:

  • A thrilling experience that offers both freedom and excitement.
  • Once airborne a more relaxing and serene than the first four types of scenic flight.
  • Best locations for hang gliding scenic flights include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Queenstown, New Zealand.

Hang gliding one of the many types of extreme sport Ultimate list of adventure sports Flickr CC image by texaus1

    Skydive/Parachute Jump

    For many a skydive or parachute jump is the ultimate extreme sport. It is not a scenic flight in the traditional sense, but you’ll enjoy stunning views on the way up and down! Passengers freefall from the plane or helicopter before parachuting to the ground. Almost anyone can enjoy tandem skydiving experiences. More info:

    • Provides the ultimate adrenaline rush and sense of freedom.
    • Offers a unique and unparalleled view of the landscape from above.
    • Best locations for skydive/parachute jump scenic flights include Interlaken in Switzerland, Queenstown in New Zealand, and Dubai in UAE.

      Best Scenic Flight Styles: Conclusion

      In conclusion, there are many different types of scenic flights available for those seeking a unique way to see the world from above. Whether you prefer a peaceful hot air balloon ride or an adrenaline-fueled skydive, there is a scenic flight experience to suit everyone.

      When choosing an operator, it’s important to research their safety record and follow all instructions provided to minimize risks. At the end of the day the best flying experience styles provide an unforgettable way to get a bird’s eye view of a beautiful destination. Plus they can offer some added adrenaline too!

      skydive interlaken photo Flying Experience Styles

      We hope you found this guide to the different kinds of flying experience inspirational. Check out our flying experiences worldwide to get yourself booked up.


      Aircraft Flying / Ride, Hang Gliding, Helicopter Ride, Hot Air Ballooning, Microlight, Paragliding, Paramotoring, Skydiving
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