I was excited when I learned that my monthly gig shooting the NYPD podcast was going to take me up in a helicopter. “The bird has tinted windows”, said the Crew Chief, “so we’ll have to have the side door open. Be careful not to lean out too far, or the slipstream will take that camera right out of your hands. I’ve seen it happen.”
I was directed towards the jumpseat in the back, facing straight out the door. I patted around the cushions, looking for the seatbelt… no luck. “Ah, you don’t need one”, said the Crew Chief. He hooked a small piece of cord around my belt loop. I’m thinking, “Are you f**king kidding me?” as the rotor spins faster and faster, and the ground drops away.
Over Manhattan, the rotors blow the icy December air through the cabin, and when we turn, the chopper banks steeply. “Don’t worry,” says the Crew Chief, “the centrifugal force holds you in. You can’t fight physics.” I think deeply about physics as I watch the skyscraper roofs slip by, hundreds of feet below.
- Tom Small, ScribeMedia