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Flightseeing The Arctic In a Helicopter Tour

6 min read

Few travelers have been able to watch this 41-second video clip and not immediately start dreaming of flightseeing in the Arctic on a North Pole helicopter tour.

At Quark Expeditions, we’ve long talked about the deep emotions experienced by first-time Arctic visitors when they set foot on land they never dreamed of exploring, cast their eyes on a perfectly sculpted glacier for the first time, or capture through the lens of a camera or set of binoculars an expansive sea ice and tundra inhabited by polar bears, muskoxen and other Arctic wildlife. 

Usually, those dazzling perspectives of the Arctic are experienced from on board a polar vessel, the seat of a Zodiac, or while walking on frozen Earth or ice-and-snow-covered terrain during a guided shore landing. But to witness the staggering beauty of the Arctic from above—peering through the window of an H145 twin-engine helicopter—will surpass anything your vivid imagination could conjure up.

View from a helicopter taken en route from Narsaq to Qaqortoq in South Greenland.
Flightseeing in Arctic Greenland rewards travelers with breath-taking views, as shown in this aerial photograph taken during a helicopter
tour over South Greenland. Photo: Mads Pihl/Visit Greenland

And it’s an easily attainable dream. Flightseeing during an helicopter tour is automatically included for Quark Expeditions’ guests who book a voyage to Greenland, Norway, the Canadian High Arctic and other Arctic destinations on our brand new ship, Ultramarine. 

Arctic Helicopter Operations

Those two simple words, “helicopter Arctic,” don’t really capture the  beauty of the Arctic experienced while flightseeing: ice-laden water ways stretching as far as the eye can see, snow-capped mountains whose peaks disappear into the clouds, fjords that are so long that it would take days in a Zodiac to travel from one end to another—but not on a twin-engine helicopter. 

Flightseeing over the frozen Arctic ocean with it's fjords, chanels, and pressure ridges, is just one of the helicopter-supported adventure options for your free time available when traveling aboard the technologically-advanced ship Ultramarine. There’s heli-hiking and heli-landing to name a few.

Also possible in the Arctic: the helicopter-supported Greenland Ice Sheet experience, as well as overnight camping along the 70-km long Tasermiut fjord.  Check out this webinar featuring Quark Expeditions’ Alex McNeil and Salik Frederiksen, co-owner of Tasermiut Camp, which is situated along the rugged Tasermiut Fjord in South Greenland.

Flightseeing, Helicopter Tours and Immersive Arctic Experiences 

Quark Expeditions takes guests by helicopter to the Greenland Ice Sheet where they can set foot and walk on the second-largest ice mass on the planet.
Guests traveling on Quark Expeditions ' Greenland Adventure: Explore by Sea, Land and Air voyage enjoy an Exclusive Heli-Landing excursion on the mammoth Greenland Ice Sheet. Photo: Hugo Perrin

Helicopters are the defining element of our Greenland Adventure: Explore by Sea, Land and Air, which is designed to immerse travelers in the stark majestic landscape of South Greenland, where one of nature’s most stunning gems awaits: The Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice mass in the world.

The helicopter transport from the ship to the Ice Sheet in itself is an incredible flightseeing opportunity—especially as the helicopter descends onto the Greenland Ice Sheet, an adventure only a select few travelers have experienced. 

The ideal helicopters for flightseeing in the Arctic

Quark Expeditions' guests fly on twin-engine helicopters designed for comfort and safety.
Quark Expeditions' guests fly on twin-engine helicopters designed for comfort and safety. Photo: Hugo Perrin

The twin-engine helicopters Quark Expeditions is deploying for flightseeing and helicopter tours in the Arctic are among the quietest of their class—their noise-reduction features helping to minimize any impact on local wildlife. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill ex-military planes used by other companies which transport passengers who are squeezed cheek-by-jowl onto a bench.

The H145 helicopters are designed for comfort and safety. In point of fact, seven out of eight passengers get their own window seat. Another bonus feature much-loved by photographers: the windows are designed to enable passengers to take great photographers—no tiny windows to limit one’s picture-perfect memories of their Arctic helicopter tour.

Flightseeing at the Top of the World: Helicopter Tour of the North Pole

Helicopter tours on Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters aren’t the only way travelers can experience flightseeing in the Arctic. Quark Expeditions’ guests who book journeys to the geographic North Pole on the iconic vessel 50 Years of Victory book get to enjoy flightseeing aboard one of the world’s largest, most powerful nuclear ice-breakers.

This powerful ship (75,000 horsepower generated by nuclear reactors) is capable of breaking through ice up to 2.5 meters (9.2 feet) thick. And it’s equipped with a helicopter for shore excursions and flight-seeing. Reaching the North Pole just became that much easier.

Ready for an Adventurous Journey? The Best Helicopter Flightseeing in the Arctic

The chance to set foot on the Greenland Ice Sheet is a bucket list dream for many guests who travel to the Arctic with Quark Expeditions.
Few views can rive those enjoyed while flight seeing the Arctic in a helicopter tour. Photo: Hugo Perrin

So, you’re dreaming of your Arctic adventure and scribbling down the must-haves for your bucket-list adventure. Perhaps yours looks something like this:

  • Polar bears
  • Flightseeing
  • Helicopter Arctic
  • A nice sauna (or other spa treatment)
  • Heli-hiking

…and the list goes on. Reviewing your bucket list criteria could prompt you to add “safe” and “environmentally-friendly.”  

Travel Over Open Water in Safety, Comfort, and Style

Rest assured, Quark Expeditions’ twin-engine helicopters are designed for safety and are equipped with the most advanced back-up systems. Pilots will only lift off when weather conditions and ice conditions are safe.

The helicopters have also been chosen because of their minimal footprint. No helicopter flightseeing outing would negatively impact the well-being of wildlife.  

Polar bears can tip the scales at 900-1600 lbs. Photo credit: Samantha Crimmin
Polar Bear

After all, one of our goals as polar travelers is to become polar ambassadors—forever committed to protecting and conserving these pristine Polar Regions for generations to come.

Ultramarine also combines unbeatable safety, sustainability features, and luxury accommodations—the restaurant serves hearty meals and when settling in for the night, you won't find uncomfortable camp beds on board.

Ready to join your expedition leader and fellow guests on a trip to the Arctic? Check our our Arctic expeditions.

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