Taking off in a helicopter feels nothing at all like taking off in a plane. Instead of the prolonged, almost-desperate race down the runway to lift off, a ride in a helicopter feels effortless. One second you're on the ground, and in the blink of an eye, you really are floating up through the air. There was something that felt impossible about it, and yet there was the Myrtle Beach airport below us, receding from my eyes.
And in just a few moments, once the chopper turned around, the real reason for the flight came into our line of sight: the ocean.
Even the shortest and least expensive flights on OceanFront Helicopters takes you out over the Atlantic Ocean. Myrtle Beach could never look lovelier or more breathtaking than it does from the air. The blue ocean stretches out endlessly to the horizon, the pastel hotels like building blocks march neatly up the white sand beach, which curves in each direction. And all the people, swimming in the water and playing on the beach, are so tiny and yet so obviously having fun.
I asked our pilot through the headsets (and be sure to use those headsets, so you can ask your pilot questions and learn a little about what you're seeing from so high up) if he had ever seen any sharks from up above on his flights. He laughed, and said he couldn't be sure, but every now and then there were some dark shadows all the way out in the ocean.
Before we knew it, the chopper turned again in toward land, and the runways of the airport came into view.
The $20 flight special you'll see advertised everywhere is a short flight, lasting about five minutes. But that short flight is really all you and your family need to get a feel for the crazy and delightful way a helicopter flies, and gives you the most gorgeous views of the ocean and Grand Strand.
If the helicopter bug bites on that first flight (and it might-our pilot told us that from his very first ride as a child, he knew he wanted to fly helicopters) then you have many, many options to go on much longer excursions that will take you up the beach.
There is no age limit for the tours, but babies under 24 months must sit on a parent's lap. There is a weight limit of 300 pounds per passenger.