Ariel Photography over Orange County
Actually I love flying in a helicopter and doing ariel photography. But it is not for everybody. I remember my first time.
It was a beautiful day when I arrived at the heliport. Warm for late winter with a few white clouds in the sky. I was impressed with the first ‘copter I saw, a giant Huey, I was told that we would be in “something smaller”.
Although an R44 is not the smallest helicopter I have been in, it was not exactly roomy either. About the size an old VW bug, maybe smaller. Sure it could fit four people but it was obvious there would be no drinks or meal service on this flight.
We went over some safety issues on the ground first. Like if you are able to walk away from a crash, go to the front of helicopter and not back into the rotor. And since I would be sitting in the front, if needed, I would be in charge of the fire extinguisher. Like everything, it was a very small fire extinguisher.
They pilot seemed very capable and assuring, even as he was removing the doors. Of course you can’t photograph with the doors on. I knew that. But it was a little unnerving at how quickly parts snapped on and off this thing.
So we get in and take off. Although I had a seatbelt on I still wanted something to hold onto. Grabbing the stick in front of me or the pilot’s shoulder was not an option. I think the pilot sensed some apprehension from me and asked if I was having fun. I am sure the last thing he needed was a passenger going into freak out mode.
We circled the assignment site a few times and the work part was done. Since there was time left on the meter (1 hour min.) we cruised over to the ocean and flew down the coast. This was fun again. I figured I probably wasn’t going to fall out, and it was very likely there would be no need for the fire extinguisher.
I remembered I had brought a camera (of course) and made a few nice snaps of the multi- million dollar views. We saw some dolphins playing below. Life was good.