Beaches From Above: My Experience Flying in a Gyrocopter Over Gulf Shores

Since starting my blog back in 2013, I’ve been able to enjoy some pretty remarkable and adventurous experiences around the world. I have ziplined over gators in Florida, gone hot air ballooning over volcanoes in Catalonia, and even ridden a camel in the Sahara Desert to name a few. These experiences were certainly thrilling, but one thing that I’ve always wanted to do is ride in a helicopter. Accomplishing that goal as a wheelchair user though proved to be a bit tricky. 

Helicopters sit up kind of high, so transferring from my wheelchair up into a seat in a helicopter would be almost impossible. However, when I recently heard of gyrocopters in Gulf Shores, Alabama and saw photos of them, I was immediately intrigued. A gyrocopter is similar to a helicopter, but it’s much smaller and sits lower to the ground, making transfers a bit more feasible. I studied photos of the gyrocopter online and came to the conclusion that it might actually be possible for me to fly in it, so I decided to give it a try on my recent trip in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Needless to say, that was a great decision! 

Here are details about my experience flying in a gyrocopter in Gulf Shores and hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll be itching to give it a try as well –

My gyrocopter experience started at the Gulf Air Center in Gulf Shores, where my mom and I met up with the team behind Beach Flight Aviation and Gulf Coast MagniGyro that would be flying and assisting us. Mark Sprigg, owner of MagniGyro, quickly showed us the aircraft that we’d be flying in. 

As soon as I saw the gyrocopter, I knew that I could get into it. The seat sat 20 inches above the ground and the door flipped up, so it wouldn’t be in the way at all for the transfer from my wheelchair into the gyrocopter. I pulled up right beside the passenger seat and with the help of my mom, three crew members/pilots, and my beloved easyTravelseat (this transfer sling is seriously a game-changer for me!!!), I was lifted out of my wheelchair and into the passenger seat. The pilot, Mark, even put some extra cushions behind my back and in my seat to make me as comfortable as possible. Everyone was incredibly helpful and I knew from then on that I was in good hands. 

Only the pilot plus one person can fit in the gyrocopter, but my mom was able to fly in a separate one at the same time as me, so we both were able to experience the thrill of flying in a gyrocopter. Before heading to the runway and taking off, Mark told me that if I needed anything during the flight, just let him know. He had a medical background before piloting, so was very familiar with caring for people with disabilities. 

Within minutes, we were on the runway and taking off. The takeoff, flight, and return landing were amazingly smooth because gyrocopters are not affected by wind and turbulence like traditional planes. In fact, I couldn’t even believe how smooth it was. As someone that has poor upper body and neck control due to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I had no trouble at all with staying upright throughout the flight since it was so smooth. I was able to relax and enjoy the whole journey. 

For nearly an hour, we soared over the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The windows on the gyrocopter were huge, so I could easily see everything down below. We even saw schools of fish and stingrays in the clear blue water! 

We flew over Gulf Shores and all the way over to Fort Morgan, one of the most popular attractions in the area. I visited Fort Morgan on my first visit to the Alabama Gulf Coast back in 2015, but it was really cool to have an aerial view of it in the gyrocopter this time. 

Throughout the flight, I talked with Mark and even my mom (she was in a separate gyrocopter) on a headset. We talked about the sights that we were seeing and discussed how the gyrocopter operates. It was great to be able to communicate clearly during the flight. 

The flight was so smooth and comfortable that I could have easily stayed up there for another hour or four, but after seeing all of the sights, it was time to begin our descent. When landing in an airplane, I usually struggle because it’s so rough, but landing in the gyrocopter was a breeze (a gentle one). If I could fly in a gyrocopter from now on instead of an airplane, I totally would. 

Flying over the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama was the experience of a lifetime. I never expected for something like this to be so accommodating for people of all abilities… and in Alabama, no less. But it absolutely blew me away and exceeded every expectation that I had. 

The team at Beach Flight Aviation and Gulf Coast MagniGyro are committed to making this experience possible for everyone. If you are planning a trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast, this activity should undoubtedly be at the top of your to-do list. 

Check out this short video about my experience in the gyrocopter –

Learn more about Beach Flight Aviation here and Gulf Coast MagniGyro here


*This post is in partnership with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. As always, all opinions are my own.



1 Comment

  • Krystin says:

    This is the coolest way to experience the beach! Def on my list for my next trip to Gulf Shores, especially since I’ve never actually seen Fort Morgan!

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