As irony would have it, a helicopter crashed in the East River yesterday only a couple hours after Selina and I took a fantastic helicopter ride over Manhattan. Both pilots and helicopters left from the same airport. Seriously.
The one that crashed was a privately owned, multi-seat BELL. Ours was a tiny thing called the Robinson R44 based out in Linden New Jersey. It was barely large enough to hold us, like sitting in a little glass egg with a massive engine strapped to it.
The airport is home to all the NYC news copters.
Our pilot Erik had about 1500 hours piloting helicopters, roughly four years experience. (only 4? Um.)
“READY?” he shouted into his headset. And whoooosh! we shot up like a cork through water. Freaky!
He angled forward, thundering East over New Jersey, heading for the city. Whooooooooaaaaaaaa!!!
We zoomed over the Staten Island Ferry terminal with the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on the horizon...
...then we turned North up into the harbor.
Looking up the East River.
Then around BatteryPark and we headed up the Hudson River.
The Freedom Tower and reflecting pools.
The Intrepid and cruise ships at 42nd Street.
Central Park and the reservoir! The views at this low ceiling are just superb.
And then we swung out West over the Hudson River, that’s the GWB upstream.
Erik was very good; stable, always informing and confident. It’s amazing how something so thin and light and flighty can be so enormously noisy and loud. Without the headsets and microphones we’d have been deaf.
We completed our turn-around over the muddy water---remnants of Hurricane Irene---and headed back downriver.
But cool stuff still lie ahead!
The Goldman Sachs Tower, tallest building in New Jersey.
Erik turned us inland, over the Lincoln Tunnel ramp.
And then the port of Newark. Those Legos are shipping containers!
And then a huge cemetery.
And one last thrill. RIGHT THROUGH Newark Airport! YES!! He threaded us through take off’s and landing aircraft coming in from both sides! Wow!
A minute later and little Linden Airport appeared...
...and boom! we were down. Right where we started. Pretty darn fantastic.
I wanna do this again, sometime. Thanks Selina!