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East River view of downtown Manhattan seen out of open door helicopter

New York Open Door helicopter tours

No shortage of NYC helicopter tours but there is of the open door kind which happens to be the best way to see Manhattan.

Few New York open door helicopter tours are made available through FlyNyon or HeliFlight. Guests will embark via New Jersey before reaching the Manhattan skyline in a Bell LongRanger, Robinson R22 or Airbus H125. Benefits to doors off option is unrestrictive photography opportunities with no glass reflection.

What better way to take a complete New York City helicopter ride than when the doors are removed for unrestrictive sightseeing.

Common flight paths are carried over to the open doors option with a difference; you'll experience unparallel views with no windows or doors holding you back.

When departing via HeliFlight the tour will take part in a small yet often shaky Robinson R44 - it can be thrilling but is not ideal for professional photography.

Yet the Bell LongRanger or Airbus H125 are turbine powered helicopters that will allow for a more steadier flight.

Experience what is a termed as an open door shoe selfie helicopter ride with FlyNyon as you're permitted to swing around on your seat.

Not an option with HeliFlight but the area allowed for viewing or photographing in the helicopter is much larger.

Quick Open Door tour table

In a Hurry? take a glance at all 4 New York City doors off helicopter tours that are open to all customers, who should book way in advanced of arrival, unless otherwise stated.

Operator: Package: Min: Price:
FlyNyon NYC Experience 16-19 $128.00
FlyNyon NYC Classic 30-33 $220.00
HeliFlight NYC Photo Experience For Two 20-25 $339.00
HeliFlight Doors Off Helicopter Adventure 20-25 $549.00

You'll notice the table price list has four columns each with its own data, and is accurate when I first published on 14th February 2020.

Operator column is the helicopter company who will be flying you; Package is the name of the tour; Min. is flight duration, estimation only - and finally, starting Price.

FlyNyon and HeliFlight are the only services made available with only four flights among them.

Helicopter operators will try to maintain your flight for the time promised, though it is more possible the time will be added on or in between - rather than coming under.

NYC Doors Off helicopter tours

Manhattan seen through open doors while looking south
Not a off the shelf New York helicopter tour as this one is allowed to fly over lower Manhattan directly, with Freedom Tower seen standing in all its beauty.

Incredibly, its just the 4 NYC helicopter rides for passengers to embark on at this time, but its one package you will need to see all landmarks.

FlyNyon or HeliFlight will bring guests within reach of all attractions you wish to see from a birds-eye view.

Expect the tour to begin with Ellis Island or the Statue Of Liberty before embarking on a more adventurous tours, that will see popular tourist destinations.

While the operators begin there flights in New Jersey with only four New York open door packages to pick - let's try to see which operator is the one for you.


FlyNyon are well known in the doors off helicopter tour circles and will likely be the first option when a potential client thinks, doors off in NYC.

Operate a number of helicopters with a fleet that includes an Airbus ACH125 or a Bell 206L LongRanger - one of my favorites.

Its important to know what helicopter you'll be a passenger of as the seat arrangement does vary drastically.

In the Bell there's three seats forwards, and two seats facing backwards, including the co-pilot seat. The Airbus has four forward facing seats in the rear, with two extra passengers in the front, next to the pilot.

  • NYC Experience
  • Check Availability | Duration: 16-19 Minutes | Price: $128.00
  • Entry level class NYC helicopter flight that is sure to please at a basic rate. Once you've come within reach of Manhattan; get ready to view the Statue Of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge, the Financial District and much more...
  • NYC Classic
  • Check Availability | Duration: 30-33 Minutes | Price: $220.00
  • Extended flight can only mean more time for sightseeing, and that's what you'll get as the tour will come within reach of all popular landmarks as outlined above. Only more time allows for a longer haul so more attractions will be seen.


Often HeliFlight will get overlooked in the doors off helicopter tour game as there street cred hasn't quite reached the heights of FlyNyon.

They're not an operator to be overlooked though as the service on offer is similar to that of FlyNyon (sorry to keep bringing them up).

Helicopter HeliFlight will be taking you up in their agile yet can be smooth Robinson R44 - with the doors off of course.

What that means for passengers is a doors seat for everyone; one passenger is the co-pilot while two guests sit in the rear.

  • NYC Photo Experience For Two
  • No Longer Available | Duration: 20-25 Minutes | Price: $339.00
  • Special aerial photography experience will allow for two guests time to take amateur to the most pro photography, thanks to no third person in the way. Private flight that will see all sights mentioned thus far, but so much more.
  • Doors Off Helicopter Adventure
  • No Longer Available | Duration: 20-25 Minutes | Price: $549.00
  • You plus two guests can see Manhattan in a time that will allow for all major sights to see. Attractions to see is the Tear of Grief, Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, Ellis Island and more.

New Jersey operators only

Did you know New York open door helicopter tours never depart the busy Pier 6 harbor on the East River in lowe Manhattan.

Maintaining high standards on the platform is imperative for customer safety, that can not be made possible if a group of photographers come and go.

Photography is forbidden on the Downtown Manhattan Heliport so it would be difficult to stop guests who ignore basic safety instructions.

So therefore, for that reason you can only take an open door helicopter tour via New Jersey.

Which is just as well as its where two of the finest open door helicopter ride specialists happen to be headquartered.

First up is FlyNyon who are located at: 78 John Miller Way, Kearny, NJ 07032.

Luxury, spacious guest lounge allows for time to prepare for the flight well a safety briefing will be followed up for a safety harness fitting.

No viewing the helicopters landing or taking off as its a short shuttle drive to the helipad that is just 2 minutes away.

Next up is the reliable HeliFlights who are located Linden Airport, address: Hangar 400, 1101 W Edgar Rd., Linden, NJ 07036.

No shuttle service here as guests will be escorted out onto the helipad to the helicopter.

Off-the-Shelf open door routes

New York City helicopter tours mentioned thus far are only tours that are made available for all guests.

When you don't want the trouble of chartering a helicopter to fly around Manhattan on a route that is different - then make it one you can book online.

In fact, all four open door helicopter flight paths have been refined over the years through customer feedback.

Therefore it will be the best route possible that will take in all major landmarks.

Bonus to that of course with a New Jersey departure point is you'll get a brief look at Linden or Kearny, respectively - before Manhattan is visible on the horizon.

As it happens, all off the shelf helicopter tours will differ in terms of exact flight path or end experience.

Operators will tell you the open door helicopter rides lend themselves to a new flight every time - with no tour being the same.

Charter NYC flight path

Lower Manhattan as seen through open door helicopter ride
Stunning shot of downtown Manhattan as taken through the open door cockpit of a FlyNyon Bell LongRanger.

I highly recommend you stick to the flight paths made available to you that are developed though years of experience.

But what a private New York helicopter tour can offer you is a tour that can be just you, a friend or your own group.

Charting a doors off helicopter tour route can be arranged for doors on if you wished.

What you'll get through a private charter is many things, among them:

  • Guest numbers depends on how many you want to bring
  • Choose helicopter type to use; Airbus H125, Airbus TwinStar, Bell 206 or R44
  • Hire a helicopter for a set time only
  • Make up own flight path with help of the operator
  • Charter a helicopter to an event, airport transfer or private location

When taking a chartered helicopter with FlyNyon, you'll be handed over to their FoxTrot branch for doors off/on options.

HeliFlight will feel like a new flight route every time but a special arrangement can be made with them.

Know that if one or three passengers are brought along; if there is spare seating the chartered cover price needs to assume all seats are used - even if they're not.

Benefits to open doors over New York

While professional to amateur photographers are set to benefit more to doors off, guests who are in it for the ride will benefit hugely too.

No way can it be made greater viewing New York City with the naked eye when there's a panel of glass between you and the outside.

Glass windows in helicopter sightseeing can cause all sorts of problems; among them reflection, restrictions and believe it or not - smutches or spots on glass interfering.

So there you have it, huge benefit to open door helicopter rides over Manhattan is that passengers can see NYC with HD vision.

In addition to all that the importance of more leg room or space for your arms or elbows to protrude out is a delightful bonus.

Open Door fashion sense

Difficulty for operators is when guests show up in attire that is not suitable for an New York open helicopter ride.

What that could mean is arriving at the terminal underdressed in the cold weather, or perhaps wearing too much when its warm.

However, they will not give you any grief about it providing you're fit to fly in regards to what you shouldn't be wearing.

Its an open door helicopter ride so as you can imagine, items could fall out in flight if its not firmly strapped down.

That relates to your shoes being closed or open toed. Guests must wear closed toed, lace fastened shoes to prevent them slipping off.

No jewellery that can be caught up or drop off, but a hat and gloves could be allowed.

Pro photography opportunities

New York City as seen below the helicopter flight path with skid in shot
Unlike doors on most helicopter flights, photographers are given the opportunity to lean out of the helicopter to get shots not made possible if shut in behind a door.

Professional photographers are set to benefit photographing New York how it was intended - no doors causing reflections.

Photographers who often participate in aerial photography know that doors on is not a realistic option.

Problems to occur for pro's is obviously the window panel, but the door itself can be restricting in terms of camera positioning.

Doors on prevents people pointing there camera to a desired direction, whereas if the door was on it will only be a straight shot forward.

If pointing a camera through windows in a direction that is not direct, the result could be the glass being noticed.

Closed cabin environment can be made even more difficult with New York City night time helicopter flights - where even the helicopter control panel could be seen.


Taking a unique New York open door helicopter tour departing New Jersey is unlike all tours made available in the city.

NYC doors off allows for unrestrictive sightseeing with an option for you to take amateur to the most professional aerial photography.

Something that cannot be achieved through a doors on helicopter experience.

New Jersey is always your depart point via Linden Airport or Kearny, as the Downtown Manhattan Heliport does not permit open door flights.

Operators you'll be relying on for an experience you'll never forget is the well know FlyNyon to their near by rival, HeliFlight.

Helicopter type you'll be a passenger of is a powerful Bell LongRanger or Airbus Airbus H125 - or an agile, piston powered Robinson R44.

Off the shelf open door helicopter tours over New York allow for only four packages.

Regardless that is all you'll need as the tour flight path has been refined over many years to create a route that is preferred by past guests.

If that is not enough, there is an option to hire a helicopter over NYC for the day or to a special even or transfer - with help of a private helicopter.

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