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Should I fly helicopters?

You've probably heard that it's tedious to fly helicopters and it's not very profitable. Yes it is tedious, but it can be very profitable. I wouldn't recommend this for very newer players. The infrastructure requirement to fly helicopters is vast. If you are looking for ways as a very new player to gather coins, check out this post.

Thanks @Marve for the additional detail. At some point, I will put the full table of destinations, item combinations and cost/profitability on the forum

Why is it tedious?
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  • You have to produce items for each flight (after training flights)
  • Unlike with things like flight catering which the building produces automatically, you have to specifically initiate contracts to make helicopter items
  • Items can take anywhere from 1m to 22m 40s to produce and could require production in up to 3 buildings
  • There are seven different combinations of flight items for each destination and they show up randomly. So while you can easily prepare for lower level flights, it's much harder when flying goldfinches requiring 180 items produced in three different buildings - for just one flight.
  • Missing game features make it hard to keep track of what you have in inventory. (Not anymore ... they finally added an inventory count)
  • As you progress to longer flights, you need a lot more items.

For example, a flight to Mont Blanc "could" require the following:
  • 7 radio sets, 9 wind cones, 3 swash plates produced in Hi Tech Plants which require
    • 18 emergency parachutes, 3 valves, 9 swivel bearings and 3 drives produced in the Mechanical Plant which will require
      • 42 microcircuits, 15 gears, 23 varnishes and 48 sensors produced in the resource base
  • which will cost 2,401 for the items. Another combination may be 6 ground lights, 8 landing skids and 3 shield markers which would cost 2497
  • and the flight earns 2,659

Is it Profitable?

Well, 2659-2401 = 258 coins for a nearly 4 hour flight. And that's for this combination of items. As I mentioned, the items required for this flight is unpredictable ... or better said, there are combinations of items that will come up for Mont Blanc and some combinations will cost you a bit more coins and for some combinations, you will barely break even. That's an awful lot of work for very little reward. And there are some combinations/destinations where you actually lose coins rather than earn them.

I used the example of the highest available helicopter flight. I will use a lower level example. Snowdonia could require (remember there are seven different combination of items)
  • 1 microcircuit, 2 gear, 1 varnish
  • which costs 60 coins
  • and the flight earns 90 coins
  • profit is 30 coins
Slightly better profitability for the time spent but still lots of constant tapping for 30 coins (in this example but it could be less or slightly more) for an 8 minute flight. Oh, that doesn't include the cost of fuel so the profitability is actually 20 coins. And then helicopters break down and require items to repair them ... and those items cost coins to produce.

Is it even worth it to fly helicopters?

Absolutely! There are several things that can improve profitability of helicopter flights - better helicopters, gold subscription, and some bonuses.

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  • Flying red helicopters increases flight income by 100%. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 180 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 5318 coins.
  • First Class bonus (from alliance reputation points) increases flight income by 50% for a week. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 135 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 3989 coins.
  • Tourist Visa bonus increases flight income by 100%. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 180 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 5318 coins.
  • Junior Pilot bonus increases flight income by 200% for 12 hours. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 270 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 7977 coins.
  • Sky Captain bonus increases flight income by 400% for 24 hours. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 450 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 13295 coins.
  • Gold Subscription increases flight income by 200% for a month. So the 90 coin flight to Snowdonia becomes 270 coins. And the 2659 coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 7977 coins.
    An added benefit of the gold subscription is that your helicopters (like your planes) don't break down so you save on repair items as well.


But it's beautiful when you combine these things. For example, flying a red helicopter with Gold Subscription while First Class and Sky Captain and Tourist Visa bonuses are running combine to increase income by 850%.
  • the 90 coin/30 profit flight to Snowdonia becomes 855 coins for an 8 minute flight. Even without the gold subscription, the bonus of 650% would yield 675 coins.
  • the 2659/258 profit coin flight to Mont Blanc yields 25 261 coins for a 3ish hour flight. Even without the gold subscription, the bonus of 650% would yield 19 943 coins.
1604509056469.png


And while you are running all these bonuses to get this profit from helicopter flights, you're probably spending a lot of time tapping in the game. You may as well add Inconvertible coin and Business Class bonuses to increase income from commercial buildings and the plane flights.

Bonus Buildings
There is another good reason to fly helicopters ... bonus buildings. Every single helicopter destination (except the training flight) drops items for a collection that will produce bonus buildings that will increase coin or passenger production in your city.

AircraftDestinationBuildingBonusDimensionsYield
SparrowYellowstoneSauna+1% passenger bonus / radius 11x16 coins / 05m 00s
SparrowLake BaikalFishing Store+1% commercial bonus / radius 11x19 coins / 10m 00s
SparrowSnowdoniaOptical Store+2% commercial bonus / radius 11x113 coins / 20m 00s
SparrowFiordlandTour Stall+2% passenger bonus / radius 11x119 coins / 01h 00m
SparrowBanffGolf Club+3% passenger bonus / radius 11x130 coins / 04h 0m
CrossbillIguazu FallsMuseum of Gold+5% commercial bonus / radius 11x126 coins / 02h 00m
CrossbillAngel FallsRadio-Controlled Toys+3% commercial bonus / radius 11x115 coins / 25m 00s
CrossbillVictoria FallsBoat Store+4% commercial bonus / radius 11x124 coins / 05h 00m
CrossbillNiagara FallsBase Jumping School+4% passenger bonus / radius 11x115 coins / 20m 00s
CrossbillRideau FallsLounge Bar+5% passenger bonus / radius 11x125 coins / 01h 00m
GoldfinchDenaliWinter Hotel+5% passenger bonus / radius 21x111 coins / 10m 00s
GoldfinchJayaDetox Hotel+5% commercial bonus / radius 21x135 coins / 04h 00m
GoldfinchAconcaguaArchaeological Camp+5% passenger bonus / radius 21x110 passengers / 04h 00m
GoldfinchStanleyRest Camp+1% commercial bonus / radius 31x14 passengers / 15m 00s
GoldfinchMont BlancSkiing Facility+1% passenger bonus / radius 31x122 coins / 01h 00m

The bonuses from these buildings compound to amplify profits or passengers from nearby buildings. If you put four 5% passenger bonus buildings near a residential building, you will collect 20% more passengers from that building each time. It works the same for commercial buildings - increasing the coins produced by the buildings.

Any other benefits?
There are a few other benefits to flying helicopters too:
  • Helicopters can be cheaply sped up to help you accomplish your daily missions (e.g. speed up flights)
  • Some destinations drop flight items and aircraft repair items (e.g. Yellowstone-landing lamp, Snowdonia-fuel supply, Banff-strobe light, Iguazu Falls-strobe light, Aconcagua-RDF)

Conclusion?

Is it worth it to fly helicopters? Most times, I would say no. The pain of producing items makes the meager (if any) profit not worth it. However, if you have some bonuses lying around and you use them effectively, flying helicopters can easily become one of the most profitable tasks in the game.
 
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Nayeon

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Thank you for posting this as I *love* helicopters #whirlygirls ftw! 🚁

One other thing people forget are the bonus buildings. 5% bonus in a 2 radius square? And I can get 6 of them? And put them around my best coin producing buildings? Why thank you Mr. Goldfinch. :)

Boat Store, Radio-Controlled Toys and Museum of Gold are almost as nice and also factor in as they make you $$ even when you don't fly.

And the animation on these cuties is fun to watch too, and there is something to be said for a little joy in your life.

Happy flying
👧⛽
N
 

Chloe11111

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Thank you for posting this as I *love* helicopters #whirlygirls ftw! 🚁

One other thing people forget are the bonus buildings. 5% bonus in a 2 radius square? And I can get 6 of them? And put them around my best coin producing buildings? Why thank you Mr. Goldfinch. :)

Boat Store, Radio-Controlled Toys and Museum of Gold are almost as nice and also factor in as they make you $$ even when you don't fly.

And the animation on these cuties is fun to watch too, and there is something to be said for a little joy in your life.

Happy flying
👧⛽
N
Thanks - I was just out doing groceries and had the same thought to add them to the page.
 

PLMerry

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PLMerry [what I need], PLM2, & PLM3
What a great article!!!!

One thing you missed in the article are all of the repair parts and flight items that come from visiting the helicopter locations. On my main game I keep two Sparrow and a Crossbill rotating through each destination, and have never needed to wait for a repair, or watch an ad for repair parts. The flight items I receive from these flights keep me well stocked until an event comes along and requires huge numbers of flight and corresponding flight items.
 

Barkmi4 (Mike)

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Barkmi4 *items*
Nice work Chloe.
My 2 cents;
1) Particularly for new players, I don’t think anyone is suggesting running the bonuses just to fly heli flights (with the exception of heli specific bonuses). But more that if you are already running bonuses for other purposes, this is the time to operate your helis and then restock in slow time at another point.
2) Consider the land required to build and operate Heli’s - quite a bit is required and it’s not that practical in the first levels of the game.
3) It could be worth adding the attributes of the buildings in the table as well as the bonus? I.e. rest camp 1x1, 4 pax/15mins. You could even hyperlink to the wiki page.

For me, getting 6 of the winter hotel, rest camp, archeological camp and skiing facility were the main reasons for putting an earlier focus onto doing heli flights. But I love passenger buildings and passenger bonuses. For others like @Nayeon , its the coins that appeal more. Which ever you prefer, these are all decent rewards worth adding to your city - but without the info in the table a newer player might not see the full appeal.
 
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I have a question that is somewhat related. I am level 65 and 211 stars. On helicopter flights I am on 41-50 level. What I need to do to open new levels and destinations for my helicopters? For planes it is noted for the next level is needed level "number" and stars "number", but for the helicopters that info. is not there...Thanks
 
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Chloe11111

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Nayeon

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I think when the Game Studio first was offered as part of an event, wasn't the red Goldfinch one of the rewards for getting it to level 10? I seem to remember that is where mine came from, but I could be wrong (as it went away after the event, even when getting the Game Studio to level 10. Wow, that was a *lot* of ad watching to get 6 of them all the way.
 
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