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Hanging Out Of A Helicopter Over Manhattan

Helicopter Flights NYC
Flying Over New York City in a Helicopter
New York, New York

One of the best ways to see New York City is by air, and this scenic helicopter flight company lets you dangle your feet over famous Manhattan landmarks for amazing photos!

I’m a complete helicopter fanatic. Sometimes I think if I hadn’t become a travel blogger, I’d have become a professional helicopter pilot by now.

Soaring free above the clouds, hovering only hundreds of feet over mountains or buildings, able to take off and land almost anywhere.

Helicopters are incredible machines. While expensive, I try to hitch a ride in one whenever I can for a truly unique photography experience.

Plus, helicopters are just so much damn fun! Especially flying in a helicopter over New York City, with the doors off!

Scenic NYC Helicopter Flight

FlyNYON Helicopter
Eurocopter TwinStar AS355
Manhattan Helicopter Flight
Flying Over Manhattan Skyline

After all the times I’ve visited New York City over the years, I’ve never taken a scenic helicopter flight over Manhattan.

It was Instagram that finally convinced me to take the plunge and splurge on an aerial photography helicopter adventure.

I started seeing these crazy “shoe selfies” showing up in my feed on popular accounts. Photographers were taking photos of their shoes floating over the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, and Central Park.

A company called FlyNYON are the ones who make these epic Instagram shots possible with their crazy open-door scenic helicopter flights over some of Manhattan’s most famous landmarks.

Open Door Helicopter Tour
What a Crazy Helicopter Ride!
Shoe Selfie Photo
New York City Shoe Selfie!

Open-Door Photography Flight

Here’s the thing about aerial photography. For the best possible shots, you don’t want a window in front of your lens. So flying in a helicopter without doors is the perfect way to capture incredibly clear, crisp images from the air.

Anna and I began our adventure from Blade Lounge Heliport in midtown Manhattan, where the FlyNYON team briefed us on safety and asked where we wanted to go.

There were 4 of us going up, and we discussed which landmarks we should visit during our 15 minute helicopter flight. They also fitted us with full-body harnesses.

Flying a helicopter over New York without doors means you need to be strapped into a harness for safety. Your camera gear is also attached so it doesn’t fall on people below or get sucked up into the rotor.

You literally have your feet dangling outside the door on the skids!

Inside the Helicopter
Pilot Christi Rocking the Controls
Empire State Building
Empire State Building from the Sky

FlyNYON Helicopter Experience

Our badass pilot Christi brought us out to her sleek black Eurocopter TwinStar AS355 “Angry Bird” to be strapped in. Engines were powered up and off we flew into the sky!

We then soared past some of New York’s most iconic landmarks like Governor’s Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and Central Park.

Earlier, Christi was yanking on my photography gear, making sure nothing would come apart once we were flying. I thought she’d been a bit rough…

Until I actually felt the force of those blades whipping around directly over my head 1000 feet in the air. It was like a mini-tornado!

Helicopter Photo Tour
Looking Back at the City
Central Park NYC
Flying Over Central Park

Incredible Aerial Adventure Over New York

At first it’s a bit unnerving to be sitting on the edge of a chopper thousands of feet in the air. But you slowly get more comfortable as the flight goes on.

Eventually I trusted the harness enough to lean out and feel the power of the wind as adrenaline coursed through my veins, shooting photos of the helicopter’s tail rotter.

When the helicopter banks sideways in a turn, you’re looking straight down at the tops of New York City’s massive skyscrapers, the only thing keeping you from plummeting to your death is those straps!

If you find yourself in New York, and want to have the experience of a lifetime, make sure to book an epic open-door ariel photography helicopter flight with FlyNYON. You won’t regret it. ★

Watch Video: Helicopter Over New York City

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I hope you enjoyed my story about flying in helicopter over Manhattan! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:


Would you fly in a helicopter over NYC without doors like this? Afraid of heights? Let me know in the comments below!

JW

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

The experience must be wonderful for you or anyone lucky enough to have the opportunity to fly over NYC in a helicopter. Unfortunately as a resident near the Empire State Building, we are now overrun with helicopters hanging over our heads for the entire day. What you photographed was an amazing cityscape that happens to also be our home. Travel is amazing and I applaud your zest for life and adventure. What I’d like to suggest is see the city on a bike or scooter. You might experience more or at a minimum the people of New York.

Richard Adams

Thursday 27th of December 2018

Hey Matthew, yes one of the best ways to see New York City is by air. If you’re a photographer visiting New York, a helicopter sightseeing tour will give you some of the greatest pics of your lifetime. Sights of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are awesome. Also, an aerial view of the skyscrapers will offer you many opportunities to capture amazing shots. 

Billy

Sunday 8th of April 2018

Well, it turns out that "doors off" helicopter rides and "shoe selfies" are exactly as dumb as they sound.

Matthew Karsten

Tuesday 10th of April 2018

Photography flights have been taking the doors off of helicopters for years. Military does it all the time too. It's just become more popular with tourists now, who are looking for some excitement.

Aerobatic airplane flying and skydiving doesn't really have any purpose either, other than an adrenaline rush. After doing all of these things, I can say they are totally worth it.

Rudy

Wednesday 4th of April 2018

Hi Matthew,

I'm going to book a tour today.

Do you think the 15 minutes one is enough to see the main landmarks ?

It goes from $219 for the 15 minutes flight to $499 for the 30 minutes one... That's quite a gap !

Thanks for your reply !

Adam Reddy

Friday 16th of March 2018

In light of the sad events that happened earlier this week, I suggest you not encourage people to use these "open-door" services:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/nyregion/doors-off-helicopter-flights-halt.html

Matthew Karsten

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018

Yes, the crash was very sad. Car crashes are also sad.

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