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!
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.
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!
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!
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. ★
(Click to watch Helicopter Over New York City on YouTube)
Location: New York, New York [Map]
Company: FlyNYON Helicopter Experience
Total Cost: $200 – $400 USD
Useful Notes: They offer a few different packages, from 12 – 30 minute flights or you can organize a custom trip. Flights leave from either midtown Manhattan or New Jersey.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet New York City
Suggested Reading: True Tales From the Life of a NYC Cop