Helicopter tours over New York City have become popular with visitors who want to see the major sites that the Big Apple has to offer without getting stuck in traffic on a tour bus. In a helicopter tour, passengers can get a bird’s-eye view of historic landmarks throughout the City.
The Federal Aviation Administration began regulating helicopter tour safety in 1994. The FAA introduced requirements related to minimum altitudes, passenger safety, separation clearances, skid floats, life jackets, and pilot performance plans.
In 2009, the FAA imposed stricter guidelines related to altitude and cruise speed over the “Hudson VFR Corridor,” which is the flight path that goes over the Hudson River. By making this change, the FAA created a seamless flow of helicopter tour traffic that also allowed tourists to get better views of many of the City’s most popular sites, such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and famous bridges, among others. The new routes also contributed to fewer noise complaints from residents of New York and New Jersey.
Until 2010, New York City helicopter tours took off and landed at the West Side Heliport. As helicopter tours gained popularity, the government moved helicopter tours to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. Several helicopter tour companies now operate out of that location, bringing in tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue every year.
If you are considering a sightseeing trip to New York but don’t want to deal with the frustration of sitting in traffic, consider a helicopter tour. You will be able to get an aerial view of many iconic landmarks that will far surpass any view you might get from the ground.