The permanent airshow

New York, NY, USA

Black Hawks

Two US Army Black Hawks fly past a building

New York, NY, USA

One of the advantages of working in a tall building is that I get treated to a constant display of different kinds of aircraft. With the exception of the seaplanes that take off and land on the East River by the 23rd Street Seaplane Base, the majority of the aircraft I see are helicopters. Fixed wing light aircraft are a rarity, apparently because the air corridor over the East River presses hard against airspace reserved for La Guardia airport, requiring pilots to maneuver deftly if they don't want to be shouted at by the La Guardia controllers.

But the variety of helicopters is staggering. NYPD rescue choppers fly thunderous circuits over the Williamsburg Bridge, sometimes passing well below my windows. Commuter aircraft fly past on their way to the heliport at 34th Street. Orange-painted Coast Guard Dolphins zoom past, while shark-like grey Marine Corps Cobra attack helicopters slip by so fast they're almost impossible to capture unless you have a camera already in your hand. Black Hawks come in flights of two or more aircraft, the low loud thud of their rotors announcing their arrival well in advance. Loudest of all are the Osprey tilt-rotors, whose deep engine note can be heard miles away, and which seem to take forever to arrive.