LeonB1985
Topic Author
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JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:31 am

A bit of background info...
I recently decided to take an advantage of a Citibank and American Airlines AAdvantage offer to get a free flight to New York. I had seen US Helicopter’s Sikorsky 76 service between JFK and Manhattan mentioned on various websites and thought I’d check out prices, not expecting it to be a viable option. I was surprised that on the date I was flying into JFK, a single flight to TSS (East 34th Street Heliport) was ‘only’ $109 – a lot less than I would have expected, so I went ahead and booked. Not only had I never flown on a helicopter before, I thought this option would be far more comfortable and convenient than the Subway, which I had initially been planning to take.

US Helicopter’s website advised to allow a minimum of 120 minutes if connecting from an international flight with a non-partner airline (as I was), so rather than taking a change with a 110 minute connection, I opted for flight UH210, scheduled to leave at 15:45, some 3 hours 25 minutes after my arrival. I thought this would allow for any delays out of LHR and in case I should get stuck in JFK’s notorious immigration queues.


Departure Airport: John F. Kennedy, New York (JFK)
Destination Airport: East 34th Street Heliport, New York (TSS)
Airline & Flight Number: US Helicopter, UH202
Aircraft Type: Sikorsky 76
Registration: N154US
Date: 11 March 2008


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages



After I had cleared immigration (very quick and painless!) and collected my bags in Terminal 8, I took the AirTrain over to Terminal 3, since US Helicopter uses Delta’s terminal. At around 13:30 I checked in at the First/Business class counter where the check-in agent seemed surprised to have a helicopter passenger. “Oh, we’ve got one for US Heli!” she commented to her colleague. My suitcase was tagged, I was handed my boarding pass and directed towards the security check point. I headed over to security and was given a thorough going over! Only afterwards did I look at my boarding pass and realise that my boarding pass had the famous SSSS on it – a first for me. I wonder if this is the norm for passengers travelling on the helicopter services into Manhattan?

I walked around the terminal for a while before heading to the very drab and dull gate. I went to speak to the US Helicopter staff at the desk, and they quickly asked whether I wanted to travel on the next flight, in around 20 minutes. Not wanting to spend even longer walking around the terminal, I accepted, and we (two other passengers plus myself) were given a full safety briefing in the terminal. We were then driven out across the ramp where the driver collected my suitcase. There was a B767 blocking the taxiway, so we had to wait for some time for the helicopter to arrive.

Our S76, N154US, soon arrived and taxied to the stand. The Captain got out and we were led aboard, with rotors running. Hand luggage was placed in the hold, along with my checked suitcase. I opted for a seat in the first row, behind the First Officer, the door was closed and off we taxied.

The flight lasted just under 10 minutes, with some amazing views of JFK and the Manhattan skyline. Photography was permitted onboard throughout the flight (but not whilst on the ramp), so I’ll let my video and photos do the rest of the talking now!


My view facing forwards


Ramp activity


Looking up


There we are


Take off video


JFK getting smaller as we head towards TSS


Seeing this jetBlue A320 land was amazing - sorry it's so blurry!


Looking over the FO's shoulder

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a119/LeonB1985/UH202/DSCF2027.jpg
Amazing skyline in the distance

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a119/LeonB1985/UH202/DSCF2031.jpg
Getting closer


The Empire State Building is in clear view


Looks all the more impressive from a helicopter!

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a119/LeonB1985/UH202/DSCF2042.jpg
Looking towards the UN (and my hotel too!)


Almost there... East 34th Street Heliport


On the ground - the Captain's 'office'


N154US departing TSS

Hope you've enjoyed the photos and video. I would definitely recommend trying US Helicopter on one of their routes between NYC area airports and Manhattan if you get the chance!  Smile
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
Analog
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:44 am

You make me jealous.

If only they flew on weekends. The vast majority of my JFK arrivals/departures are on Saturdays, Sundays, and late night Fridays.

I see the NAA 767. I just flew NA133 BWI-JFK ($80 total) last week. Sweet. That's probably the 767 used for the BWI-JFK-LOS flight.
 
02hilliert
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:45 am

Great trip report, something completely different, good job. i'd love to do one of these flights. My favourite place in NYC is South Street Seaport, where you get a great view of helicopter movements, i really have to do one of these flights myself, not cheap though.

Thanks again,

Toby
Next Up: Back to the US - Charlotte & Kansas City
 
triple7man
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:07 am

You don't see many TR's on helicopters so yours was welcome. I especially liked the take off video next to DL terminal. That used to be the Pan Am terminal and it brought back memories of flying out of there on Pan Am to places like Antigua and Paris on their 707's and 747's in the late 60's and early 70's. Also next to the DL terminal used to be the BN, NE and NW terminal. My first flight on a 747 on NW JFK-ORD in 1971 was out of that terminal. I also remember flying BN to DAL.
I couldn't tell from behind. Was the pilot a woman or long haired man?
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:09 am

That was fantastic! I would love to take that flight. Not only does it seem functional, but quite scenic.

Many thanks for the report!
Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
 
b707forever
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:30 am

It really is a ride worth taking. The old NY Helicopter that also went to 34th Street was an amazing ride with great views, and needless to say, the quickest way to JFK! Of course the best was riding from atop the Pan Am building (now Met Life building) until they had a crash which put a stop to that.
 
aznmadsci
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:21 am

Hey!

You've got me wanting to try the service the next time I'm in EWR! Awesome! Thanks for the report and pics!

 wave 
The journey of life is not based on the accomplishments, but the experience.
 
midcon385
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:13 pm



Quoting Triple7man (Reply 3):
Was the pilot a woman or long haired man?

Looks like a young woman from the hair and also her hand in the one photo.

Tim
MidContinent Airlines: We Know How To Fly!
 
LeonB1985
Topic Author
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:10 pm

Thanks for all the feedback! Unless I am mistaken (and photos may suggest otherwise), I *think* the co-pilot was a man, but can't now be 100% certain as it was only the captain who got out when we boarded/disembarked.
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
EXAAUADL
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:41 pm

you look like you barely clear the lights at JFK
 
B747forever
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:04 pm

Awsome TR

You dont see any helicopter TR so often.

Would love to try this route, You get such a fantastic view.


Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
Mason
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:41 pm

Interesting, so how much time did you actually 'save'? I can appreciate that taking this flight has its "cool" factor, but if you had collected your bags and headed to a car, I bet you would have been in Midtown around the same time, if not sooner? I just returned from NYC, and we made it from Midtown to JFK in 32 minutes, door-to-door, via the Queens-Midtown tunnel, at rush-hour.

It is interesting that we (I) should bring this up. Living outside of Portland, OR, and with my folks up in Seattle, I calculated the 'savings' of flying v. driving. The drive takes about 3 hours, door-to-door. Running a best-case scenario for the PDX-SEA flight, door-to-door times I figured only saved about 30 minutes! Just some food for thought. Cool pictures, though. Thanks.
 
KPWM
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:42 am

Those pictures are amazing! That must have been a great experience. Thanks for sharing your trip report.
KPWM
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deltairlines
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RE: JFK-TSS - US Helicopter S76 With Video & Photos

Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:06 am

Just flew US Helicopter today - JFK to Downtown Manhattan. What an experience! It was my first time in a chopper (and it just happened to be the aforementioned N154US, same seat too!) and loved it. Showed up at JFK at 2:50, got a gate pass through security, bought my ticket at 3:07 and was whisked away to a van to go to the chopper, where the rotors were already going and we took off 2 minutes after I got in. Kind of VIP lifestyle-ish - show up at the airport 20 minutes before departure and buy a ticket and go from there.

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