How a Helicopter Ride Over Israel Surprised Me

One moment especially gave a jaw-dropping spiritual perspective.

In producing a video years ago, I discovered it cost a lot to use a mere minute of aerial video of Israel. I did the math and realized we could get a ton more aerial footage if we rented a helicopter and did it ourselves.

How a Helicopter Ride Over Israel Stupefied Me

(Photo: Just before takeoff)

A friend of mine sat by the pilot with one camera, and I hung out the side of the chopper with another camera—like a door gunner in Vietnam. I had only a seat belt between me and Jesus. In about four hours we flew over most of Israel, and the cameras only stopped rolling to change film or when our helicopter needed refueling.

I’d like to share some of the video we shot—as well as a surprising spiritual perspective I gained from the experience.

Flying Over a Map

Helicopter path over Israel map

Before we ever took off, I laid out our flight pattern with a map.

In short, we flew to major sites in this order (map courtesy of Satellite Bible Atlas):

  • Tel Aviv
  • Caesarea
  • Megiddo
  • Nazareth
  • Sea of Galilee sites
  • Jordan River
  • Hazor
  • Dan
  • Beth-shan
  • Masada
  • Dead Sea
  • Judean Wilderness
  • Jerusalem

Flying over Israel in a few hours felt like flying over a map!

Here is some footage over Tel Megiddo:

And here’s a shot hovering over Beth-shan:

Here’s one more over the Judean Wilderness:

We videoed many other places as well, but these were some of the major sites. Although our pilot was knowledgeable about the land, I was surprised that he didn’t know where Tel Hazor was (read about that here). It took us a few minutes to find it.

The One Moment of Jaw-Dropping Surprise

For a guy who loves biblical geography, it felt like a dream come true. A few times I had to shake my head to believe I was really there.

But my greatest “moment” occurred as we left the Judean Wilderness and approached the ridge before Jerusalem. After we hovered over the Mount of Olives and the Holy City came into view, it hit me.

The next time I see Jerusalem from this perspective will be at the Second Coming of Christ!

Jerusalem aerial from east

(Photo: Jerusalem aerial from east. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

On that day, all believers will follow the Savior from heaven and touch down on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4-5; Rev. 19:11-21).


Take my word for it. You’re going to love the view.

Tell me what you think: Have you ever imagined descending from heaven with Jesus? To leave a comment, just click here.

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