Helicopter Tours Spark Romance, Online Rumblings
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 17, 2021)
Royal Oak, MI – As couples took to the air to celebrate their love, people on the ground took to social media to weigh in on their presence.
Through much of Valentine’s weekend, Michigan Flight Aviation took couples on short helicopter jaunts from Oakland Troy Airport to the Downtown Detroit riverfront, following Woodward Avenue back and forth.
The company has a fleet of choppers, offering flights from various Michigan locations. “We have been operating Downtown Detroit Tours out of Oakland County Airport for a little over two years. These tours take place in our off-season. During the summer we are mostly based out of Northern Michigan and West Michigan,” said company spokesperson Cassandra McAllister. This was the second year for Valentine’s tours, which lifted off in both Troy and Sparta which is near Grand Rapids.
“Many of the flights this weekend were surprises for Valentine’s Day. It was incredible to see the look of surprise on someone’s face when their significant other told them what it was they were doing,” McAllister said. “I would say about 60% of the flights were surprises, and seeing that excitement was really special.
“We did have a handful of marriage proposals,” McAllister added. “Year-round we have customers contacting us for proposals, so this is something we do often and it is always special to be apart of someones love story.”
As lovebirds looked down at the snowy streets and rooftops, some people looking up at them were confused. The whir of the blades and motors stood out over quiet communities that would normally be more abuzz with traffic and people out enjoying the holiday if not for the pandemic and the recent snow.
Complaints about the sound poured in to online groups. “Relive the Sounds of the Dream Cruise 365,” said one unhappy Ferndalian “Let them circle over Troy.”
“It is like nails on a chalkboard. Nonstop hum of them is getting on my last nerve. I hope this isn’t the start of a daily steady stream,” said another.
Others logged on to express concern that the sounds might mean some peril. In SE Oakland County the whir of helicopters can also be from a news chopper rushing to a crash or fire scene, or police looking for an elusive suspect or a missing person. Others spread the incorrect speculation that the pilots were taking part in a training for hospital runs.
Others thought of their own funny reasons. “They are looking for the best Chinese food, pizza, and internet service in Royal Oak,” said one Royal Oak Residents for Royal Oak forum member. In Ferndale some comments included “Miss Saigon in the park rehearsals have begun,” “I think it is Jeff Bezos in person watching the construction of the biggest Amazon distribution center in the U S A. 4000 Jobs at the old Fair grounds,” “Tracking the new Arbys,” and “There’s a rogue Beef & Cheddar creating havoc up and down Woodward. Then running over to the skatepark and leaving trash. Just to piss everyone off.” For those who don’t know, unfounded speculation of an Arby’s coming to town is a running joke in Ferndale.
And then there were the people who noted the complaints, and made posts complaining about the complainers. Others then jumped in to point out the irony of them having done that. “Can we go back to complaining about log cabin syrup? Those were the days,” said someone in the Fabulous Ferndale Forum.
Some were happy to hear it was tours and not something tragic.
“Wow that’s really cool!” said one Clawsonite.
“I love it. Happy to see some pilots still able to earn a living during a time when the aviation industry is really suffering badly,” said a supportive Ferndalian.
The company acknowledged complaints and made personal replies to calls and messages. “We apologize for the inconvenience this past weekend.” McAllister told Oakland County Times. “In our 2+ years of operating out of Oakland Troy Airport the only time we have ever received a complaint was Saturday evening,”
Those who were upset by the noise may be happy to know that Valentine’s Day was the company’s last big night flying the Woodward route. They’re in the midst of moving slightly south.
“We have enjoyed our time at Oakland Troy Airport. However, we have been working over the last few weeks and months to transition our operation to Detroit City Airport. As we continue to grow our business, we also need to adjust our operations,” McAllister said.
“We will have our own office space and designated area out of Detroit City Airport. We can also offer flights at a much cheaper price due to the proximity to the city. Out of Oakland Troy Airport our cheapest flight was $150 per person, and out of Detroit City Airport we are able to have flights as low as $55 per person – which will appeal to a larger audience.”
However the responses were on the ground, those in the air seemed pleased with their trips. “This was a breathtaking experience and I’m glad it was with you. Andrew has never flown before so I surprised him with a helicopter tour…it was SO worth it!” said one delighted passenger.
Another posted “The most incredible experience. My husband is going to have a very difficult time ever topping Valentine’s Day!”
To learn more about Mi Flight Aviation, visit their website www.miflightaviation.com. To check out recommended Facebook Groups throughout Oakland County check out this list.