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Helicopters provide tours over Lake Tahoe landmarks
by Tribune Staff
Sep 10, 2012 | 1117 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAKE TAHOE — When it comes to sweeping helicopter tours across deep blue water, over towering mountain canyons and above pristine waterfalls, there’s nothing quite like being 3,000 feet above Lake Tahoe.

Climbing through the sky by way of South Lake Tahoe-based Reno Tahoe Helicopters is like riding sideways in an elevator with dramatic 180 degree views of Sierra’s crown jewel. Famed landmarks like Emerald Bay, Zephyr Cove, Sand Harbor and Cave Rock are traversed, with all of Lake Tahoe’s brilliant hues of blue popping picturesque and unobstructed.

Since 2005, tour company owner and pilot Claudio Bellotto and his team of pilots have whisked riders high above the cobalt-blue lake on tours from 10 minutes to one hour. These skilled pilots know every ripple of the lake, its shoreline and beyond, providing passengers stunning views of mountains, forests and wilderness areas.

For romantics, sunsets are among the most spectacular views by helicopter, where miles of shoreline meet the Sierra sky in deep shades of orange, amber, coral and purple. Reno Tahoe Helicopters has partnered with Simple Tahoe Weddings to offer ceremonies where the bride and groom can make their vows memorable with a minister onboard just about anywhere above the lake.

Specialty flights are also designed for news professionals, television cameramen and professional filmmakers looking to capture seasonal footage or remote backcountry skiing and snowboarding haunts.

Among the fleet are a Robinson 22 and two Robinson R44 Raven II helicopters, considered in the tour industry among the safest and quietest aircraft. With a maximum of three passengers, the R44’s provide unobstructed window seats for each passenger. The latest addition to the existing fleet is a Bell 206 Long Ranger L4 that seats up to six passengers and is specifically designed for high altitude operations.

Bellotto and his pilots have earned accolades from the FAA, fellow helicopter pilots and instructors throughout the country. Claudio has flown more than 4,000 hours as a helicopter pilot, the majority mountain flight hours above 6,000 feet. Tours are offered in English, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Russian.

Flight training and aerial filming/photography depart daily from Minden-Tahoe. All tours, flight training, aerial filming/photography and weddings depart daily from the Tahoe Valley Airport in South Lake Tahoe. All tours require a minimum of two persons per flight.

Meeting and conference groups can make special arrangements with Reno Tahoe Helicopter to show off Lake Tahoe to the entire entourage.

In addition to tours, Reno Tahoe Helicopters also offers basic and advanced flight training, corporate and group events. Gift certificates are available, as well as special pricing for groups or events. For more information or to book a flight, visit or call 530-208-5247.
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