Scenic Helicopter Tours

Helicopter Tours would like to introduce you to our pilots and crew that will be your Helicopter Adventure guides in and around the Smoky Mountains. Flying is their passion and sharing this unique perspective with you is their mission. We look forward to welcoming you to the Great Smokies National Park, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and all of the other beautiful places in the Smoky Mountain area.

Les Center

Les is Scenic Helicopter’s fearless leader. As a long-time employee of Scenic, Les took over as Operations Manager in 2015 and has continued to carry the company into expanding markets and varying fields of operation. As a certified pilot, Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, Les also assists in keeping our fleet of aircraft in optimum running condition.

Carol Haynes

Another one of Scenic Helicopter’s long-time employees, Carol is a co-owner of our family-owned company and has been with us since 1992. As manager of sales for our heliport and ticketing office locations, Carol makes sure our customer’s experience is as smooth and wonderful as possible right from the start!

John Kandel

John is a dual-rated pilot who began flying airplanes then transitioned to helicopters in 2002. He holds a Private Pilot Airplane, Commercial Helicopter Pilot, and an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate and has also attended the Bell and Robinson Maintenance Course. He began working for Scenic Helicopter Tours in 2007 as the director of maintenance and as a tour pilot. In January 2012, he began a new adventure with a humanitarian/mission organization, Samaritan Air, which does wonderful work in Haiti. On his offseasons, he comes back to work at Scenic Helicopter Tours.

Graham Ritter

Graham is from Cape Girardeau, MO, and is a commercially rated helicopter pilot. At an early age, he fell in love with the Smoky Mountains on his twice-a-year trips to the area. While taking a tour in Alaska at age 14, he fell in love with flying helicopters. At the age of 23, he achieved his ultimate dream of doing what he loves most, where he loves most, by becoming a pilot with Scenic Helicopter Tours. He would love to one day fly in Alaska or Colorado, doing utility work or heli-skiing. Graham loves to fish, hunt, and go camping in the wilderness.

Gavin Turner

Gavin is from Sevierville, TN, and graduated from Gatlinburg Pittman High School. He fell in love with flying when he took his first flight with Scenic in 2013 and, shortly after, began working as a boarding attendant. Gavin has a very outgoing and upbeat personality and he loves to interact with the guests and makes sure everyone’s having a blast. He spends his free time snowboarding, skateboarding, and hiking and also enjoys strawberry daiquiris and long walks on the beach.

Isaac Kandel

Isaac is 16 years old and has grown up watching his father, John, fly helicopters. At the young age of 12, his father let him take the controls in flight to get the feel of what it takes to FLY. Isaac one day hopes to obtain his pilot’s license as well. In the meantime though, he has been with Scenic as a boarding attendant since May 2016. He also has a passion for making videos and movies in his spare time, as well as playing paintball and airsoft with his brothers and friends.

Marci Nikirk

Marci is from Sevierville, TN, and she graduated from Pigeon Forge High School in 2007. Some of Marci’s hobbies are photography and painting and she is an exceptional artist and has a passion for creativity. Marci started out at Scenic in 2010 as a boarding attendant but soon found herself leaning more towards taking the guests’ photos and capturing the excitement, smiles, and joys of flying. Marci enjoys spending time with her daughter, attending church, and taking selfies with her dog, Fritz.

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