Skip to main content

Like Uber for helicopters, Gotham Air lets you summon a chopper with your phone

helicopter flys through manhattan
Imagine finishing up at a bar, stumbling out into the street with your friends, and pulling out your phone to get a ride, only to have a helicopter swoop down minutes later and fly you and your inebriated crew home before dropping you off, SWAT-style, on the roof of your apartment buildings. Gotham Air wants to make that a reality — at least sort of. While the ride-sharing (fly-sharing?) service won’t pick you up on demand outside a bar, they do want to make access to helicopters as easy as scheduling a black car to take you to the airport.

It works a little bit differently than you might be used to with the standard ride-sharing services. Upon opening the website, instead of seeing a map of currently available drivers, you’ll be greeted with a list of scheduled flights with the number of available seats. If one of the trips meets your needs, simply sign up for one of the seats and pay your reservation fee. If you need to go downtown at a different time, set a new flight time through the site, or call them to schedule a trip that works. With 24 hours before the scheduled departure, the app will inform you whether you reached the minimum four seats needed to lift off.

What are the advantages of traveling by helicopter, you ask? Well, besides the fact that it’s how certified badasses get to the airport, it’s also impressively fast. When we ran the trip through Google Maps, we found that the drive from Gotham Air’s main heliport in Manhattan to JFK Internal Airport was only about 15 miles, but had an estimated trip time of an hour and a half, with two partial toll roads.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Take a chopper, and Gotham Air estimates the same trip takes only six minutes. That’s a pretty shocking difference, especially when you consider how baller you are if you catch a helicopter so you can catch your flight. An elevated coolness level and a shorter commute aren’t the only reasons to take Gotham Air. It’s also about about as the same price as reserving a black car, which is pretty reasonable considering you get to take a freakin’ helicopter instead. You get basic amenities like heat and A/C, plus luxury features like reduced-noise rotors, and champagne if you think you have time for a glass.

Of course, it’s pretty easy for heavy rain, low fog, or high winds to ground your aircraft, but Gotham Air has that covered too. If your flight is canceled due to weather, you’ll receive a full refund on the trip, and they’ll set you up with a black car driver, armed with one of the cars from their fleet of Tesla Model S electric vehicles. Fly or ride, Gotham Air has is definitely the coolest ride-sharing app around.

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
Apple will now let you fix your own iPhone in win for right-to-repair campaigners
iPhone 13 Pro style shot.

Apple will finally let iPhone users repair their own iPhones, the company announced this week. It will start this effort with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, with an expansion to older iPhones and more of its product lines in the near future. Dubbed Self Service Repair, it is aimed at those customers who have the experience, skills, and willingness to get hands-on with product repairs. The company will send (or rather, sell) people parts, tools, and a manual in what is a huge win for right-to-repair campaigners.

The new Apple Self Service Repair Online Store will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools for sale.  Apple also noted that these customers who get access to the parts, tools, and manuals join a club of more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers.

Read more
NASA lets you meet its Mars rover and helicopter here on Earth
mars 2020 perseverance rover

NASA is offering space fans the chance to come face to face with full-scale models of its trailblazing Mars Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter.

The space agency is taking the models on a museum tour across the U.S. from the end of this month as part of its new Roving with Perseverance roadshow.

Read more
Your iPhone can now guide you to your lost AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro resting on an iPhone with open charging case nearby.

There's good news for folks who routinely misplace their AirPods: Thanks to iOS 15 and a firmware update that started rolling out on October 6, your iPhone can guide you to within a foot or so of your missing true wireless buds. The new capability is baked into Apple's Find My app and works with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, but not Apple's regular AirPods.

In the past, if you wanted to locate your missing AirPods, your iPhone could certainly point you to their last known location, and even provide directions on a map. But when it came time to actually locating that errant earbud, all you could do was trigger the "play sound" feature and hope that they weren't buried so deeply in between the couch cushions that you wouldn't be able to hear them. Now, the Find My app can give you a radar-like interface that actually guides you toward your headphones using a three-level proximity indicator.

Read more