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Trip Report South Dakota, A Bird's Eye-View

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Seeing the Black Hills on the wings of a whirly bird.

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    I am on my way from Mt. Rushmore to Crazy Horse Memorial, which is less than twenty miles away, when a roadside sign grabs my attention. A quick u-turn and I discover that for $49 I could set myself up for about 6 minutes of elevated fun.

    I sign up at Black Hills Aerial Adventures and wait with excitement as a thumping sound rises above the noise of the nearby highway. As if suspended by an invisible cable, a Robinson R44 descends from the sky and smoothly lands less than a hundred feet away. I am told to wait as passengers are being assisted from the helipad.

    Fortunate for me, the next time the R44 is airborne I will be the only passenger. Sitting next to the pilot I have the most awesome views. With a professional confidence she flies us along a route that she has done hundreds of time before.

    From about 500 feet above the ground, the beauty of the Black Hills expands in all directions as far as the eye can see. I am given a brief history of the area and some unknown to me landmarks are highlighted.

    Our tour takes us as close as possible to Crazy Horse Memorial before we begin a circle back to our landing spot. The 6 minutes goes by too fast but it was money well spent for some fantastic views that could only be experienced with a set of wings.


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