I finally fulfilled one of my bucket list items when I got chance to charter a doors off helicopter flight over New York. We had planned to do this back in 2016 but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. So, when we booked our trip this year, this was top of my list….
We flew with Wings Air who are based out of Westchester Airport which is about 40 minutes north of Manhattan. We got there by train from Grand Central and took an Uber from White Plains to the airport.
Being February, I have anticipated in being cold, so had packed thermal everything – hat, gloves, pants, fleece jacket, you name it…. As it turned out, it was probably the hottest February in recent history and we ended up flying in T-shirts rather than big coats 🙂
For the shoot, I took both my camera bodies, one with a 24-70 lens, and the other with an 85mm prime lens, which came in handy when the light started to drop. I wanted shots of the city lights at sunset, so we arranged a take off time of around 17:15, which allowed 10 minutes to get down to midtown before the buildings started to light up.
The flight was nothing short of incredible. Our pilot was very professional and helpful, pointing out various landmarks, as well as designing a flight plan to cover everything I wanted to shoot. The flight was super smooth, although I’m not sure my wife enjoyed it quite as much as I did…
We headed down the Hudson, passing over up-state New York, before getting to the north end of Central Park. There we circled around for a few minutes to get shots of the park before we headed south towards the Empire State Building which had just started to light up so the timing was perfect…..
We spent quite a bit of time flying over midtown – and it felt like I could reach out and touch the top of the Empire State – it really was that close!
As the light faded, we then made several passes around and over lower Manhattan, taking in the World Trade Center before circling over Liberty Island.
As our time was coming to a close, we headed up over the Brooklyn Bridge, before making out way back up the East River and back to Westchester.
The whole experience was beyond words and I enjoyed every single second. Here are some of the shots from this amazing flight and I would love to do the same over San Francisco or Las Vegas if I ever get the chance….
These are just a small selection of my favourite shots….