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Politics

Carolyn Maloney: NYC Needs More Limits on Helicopters

June 11, 2019

NEW YORK – Following news reports that a helicopter crashed onto the roof of the AXA Equitable building, located at 787 7th Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets, sparking a two-alarm fire on June 10, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), who represents the area in Congress, issued the following statement:

“Today, New York City experienced yet another deadly helicopter crash, this time, with our nightmare of having a helicopter crash into a building. It appears that the pilot was killed and no one else was seriously injured – but this pilot’s death is one too many. We cannot rely on good fortune to protect people on the ground. It is past time for the FAA to ban unnecessary helicopters from the skies over our densely-packed urban city. The risks to New Yorkers are just too high.”

Background:

  • Congresswoman Maloney was able to include language in the FY2000 Transportation Appropriations; Public Law 106-69, signed October 9, 1999, to provide for a study to develop and implement plans to reduce risks to the public caused by helicopter operations
  • On March 22, 2018, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerrold Nadler led a group of their New York and New Jersey colleagues in voicing their continued opposition to helicopter tourism in light of the March 11, 2018 helicopter crash in New York City’s East River that killed five passengers
  • In response to a 2007 report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the October 2006 plane crash on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to permanently prohibit aircraft from flying over the East River
  • In 2002, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler urged the FAA to address concerns regarding airspace security and the impact of low-flying aircraft on residential communities
  • The AXA Equitable building was not equipped with a helipad
  • New York banned helicopters from landing on rooftops following a 1977 crash into the Pan Am Building (now called the Met Life Building).
  • News helicopters have been told the cloud ceiling (900 feet) was too low to fly
  • Visibility at the time of the crash was less than 1 mile because of heavy fog.

6:55 p.m.

The pilot who was killed when his helicopter crashed into a New York City skyscraper has been identified.

The real estate company that used the helicopter confirmed Monday that the pilot was Tim McCormack, of Clinton Corners, New York.

American Continental Properties said McCormack had flown for the company for the past five years.

It said in a statement that “our hearts are with his family and friends.”

McCormack was formerly a volunteer fire chief for the East Clinton Fire District.

FAA records said he had been certified in 2004 to fly helicopters and single-engine airplanes.

He was certified as a flight instructor last year.

Authorities say the helicopter was being used for executive travel.

The helicopter was flying in rain and heavy clouds when it hit AXA Equitable building in midtown Manhattan.

5 p.m.

Photographs show that the helicopter that crashed into a New York City skyscraper was obliterated on impact.

Pictures released by the Fire Department on Monday show piles of burned rubble on the roof of the tower.

Only a few pieces of the wreckage are recognizable as having been parts of an aircraft, including a piece of the tail.

Damage to the building itself appear light.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that the helicopter was an Agusta A109E linked to a real estate company founded by Italian-born investor Daniele Bodini.

The helicopter was flying in rain and heavy clouds when it hit AXA Equitable building in midtown Manhattan.

The pilot was killed. Officials didn’t immediately release his name. They said he was not the helicopter’s owner.

No other people were aboard.

___

4:10 p.m.

Authorities say the helicopter that struck a New York City skyscraper took off from a Manhattan helipad and was in the air for about 11 minutes before it crashed.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Monday that the privately owned aircraft took off from a pad on the East River.

He says it may have been headed to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey. The helicopter struck the 750-foot-tall AXA Equitable building just before 1:45 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it isn’t clear why the helicopter went down.

The helicopter was flying in rain and heavy clouds. From the river, it veered into Manhattan airspace that is supposed to be off limits for security reasons.

The pilot was killed. Officials didn’t immediately release his name.

O’Neill said the aircraft was used for executive travel.

___

3:20 p.m.

The helicopter that crashed into a New York City skyscraper was flying in heavy rain in airspace that is supposed to be off-limits.

A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet (914 meters) within a 1-mile radius of Trump Tower, which is just a few blocks from the crash site.

Fire Department officials say the helicopter pilot died when the craft hit the top of the AXA Equitable building at around 2 p.m.

There were no other reports of injuries.

It wasn’t clear why the pilot flew into that part of Manhattan, but authorities called it an emergency landing.

Trump said in a tweet that he’d been briefed on the crash. He said first responders on the scene did a “phenomenal job.”

___

2:40 p.m.

The New York City Fire Department says the pilot of a helicopter that crashed on a Manhattan skyscraper rooftop has died.

The Fire Department says the helicopter crash landed on the top of the tower, which isn’t far from Rockefeller Center and Times Square.

It does not appear anyone else was on board when the crash occurred at around 2 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters that a fire began when the aircraft hit, but it is under control. Cuomo said it shook the building. He said there are no reports of injuries of people in the tower.

It was not immediately known what type of helicopter was involved.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper.

___

2:45 p.m.

The New York City Fire Department is responding to a report of a helicopter crash on the roof of a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.

The Fire Department said in a tweet Monday that the helicopter appears to have crash landed on the top of the tower, which isn’t far from Rockefeller Center and Times Square.

An FDNY spokesman said one person was injured. The crash happened at around 2 p.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters that a fire began when the aircraft hit but is under control. Cuomo said it shook the building. He said there are no reports of injuries of people in the tower.

It was not immediately known what type of helicopter was involved.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper.

___

2:15 p.m.

The New York City Fire Department is responding to a report of a helicopter crash on the roof of a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.

The Fire Department said in a tweet Monday that the helicopter appears to have crash landed on the top of the tower, which isn’t far from Rockefeller Center and Times Square.

An FDNY spokesman said one person was injured. The crash happened at around 2 p.m.

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