Oceanside CA— A new Oceanside business is offering you the chance to get a different perspective of the coastline from an altitude of 500 feet. Waverider Helicopter Tours recently opened for business at the Oceanside Airport offering a variety of tours along the coastline as far south as La Jolla and inland North County.
Waverider Helicopter Tours is owned by Kurt Dawson who is also the Chief Pilot. Kurt is originally from Ocean City, Maryland. He has Bachelor’s Degree in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Associate’s Degree in Aviation Science and Management. Kurt served in the Coast Guard but he knew he wanted to fly ever since going to his first air show as a kid. “I got my fixed wing ratings first and then I got my helicopter ratings. I thought helicopters were way more fun so I chose the helicopter path.”
Kurt had some flight instructor jobs on the east coast and landed a survey job that had him flying all over the country. “I was surveying power lines and taking photos but ultimately, I wanted to move and live out here. I was on the Surf Patrol in Maryland. It’s my lifestyle. Surfing, the weather and so that’s what we did,” said Kurt. The “we” is Danielle Mulvey, Kurt’s longtime girlfriend and the Marketing Manager for Waverider.
The two moved here about a year ago and Kurt still had his survey job. “I was trying to figure a way to live here and still fly. Most flying jobs take you all over the country,” explained Kurt. “There was a hangar available at the Oceanside Airport and I thought this would be a great place for tours so Waverider Helicopter Tours is what I came up with.”
The helicopter at Waveriders is a Robinson R-44, a four-seater, including the pilot, manufactured up the road in Long Beach. Kurt has more than a thousand hours in the R-44. “Most touring companies use the R-44. It is a very safe helicopter and it is a very cost effective machine, one of the most popular in the world.”
The ride is very comfortable and extremely quiet thanks to the top of the line Bose noise canceling headsets Kurt purchased for the helicopter. The headsets are so comfortable you may forget to take them off before exiting the helicopter at the end of the ride.
Waverider Helicopter Tours currently offers seven tours varying in length from approximately 8 to 45 minutes in duration. The shortest tour is ‘The Surf Check’ which goes from the airport up over the San Luis Rey River and bike trail to the Oceanside Harbor, south to the Oceanside Pier and back to the airport.
The longest is the ‘Waverider’s Quiver’; instead of turning back at the pier, you travel down the coastline, at 500’ altitude, checking out the surfers and the reef at Swami’s, past Blacks Beach and Torrey Pines to La Jolla Shores and Scripps Pier. You may even spot a whale or two along the way before turning east over UC San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe and the dam at Lake Hodges before returning to Oceanside.
They also offer the Pacific Sunset tour. You have three tour choices and pricing for your Pacific Sunset Tour: Beach and Backcountry, La Jolla Shores, or Waverider’s Quiver.
Waveriders also offers more custom services. The doors of the helicopter are easily removed for photography and videography.
Here are some of the services they offer:
- General photography
- Real estate
- Golf courses
- Boat pictures
- News gathering for local news stations and newspapers
Kurt said he is working on getting approval from the FAA to fly charters and hopes to be offering charter service in the near future.
To learn more about Waverider Helicopter Tours, their prices, military and capacity discounts along with other services visit http://www.waveriderhelicoptertours.com/ or call (760)691-9144
They’re open Monday- Sunday 10am to Sunset.