Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Can you tell me what the line of helicopters that arrives each night at sunset over Sunrise Mountain is and where they are going? They arrive in formation and make a turn at Newport Lofts downtown and fly south toward the Strip. We watch them and always wonder.
— Don Sacramento
Were Las Vegas an agricultural community, this would be our cows coming home.
The helicopters at sundown are Grand Canyon tours bringing gambling patrons back to their roosts on the Strip.
They’re not flying in formation, but rather following the FAA’s Calville helicopter arrival path — enter the valley from the east, travel along Charleston Boulevard to downtown and then south, parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard. The path is intended to keep tour helicopters from mixing with flights at McCarran International Airport.
The helicopters come and go throughout the day. Their numbers are more noticeable at sunset because, well, there’s no reason to linger at the Grand Canyon past dark, so the helicopters touring the canyon in the late afternoon come back around the same time.
Not everyone watches them with awe. Clark County is planning a heliport in Sloan, in part, because of complaints from some Las Vegas residents about helicopter noise.
Send questions for Mr. Sun to [email protected].