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New York City Helicopter Crash Update: Pilot Shouldn’t Have Been Flying

FDNY on the scene of a helicopter crash
Members of the FDNY at the scene of a helicopter crash in New York City on Monday, June 10. Photo courtesy of the FDNY

Investigators of the fatal New York City helicopter crash apparently are rapidly moving to a new theory of the crash. The pilot of the Agusta AE109E, Tim McCormack, who died in the crash atop a Midtown building, wasn’t qualified for the flight and that the mission was likely inside a Presidential TFR (no-fly zone) in Midtown Manhattan. The crash took place close to the Trump Tower, which has a longstanding flight restriction associated with it. 

The FAA is suggesting to reporters that the flight might have been conducted in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) with low clouds and a rainstorm. Flying on instruments is not legal at the low altitude and over the heavily populated area the helicopter was flying over. Moreover, the FAA is now saying that the pilot was not in contact with ATC on the flight, which was a repositioning flight to New Jersey after the pilot dropped off a passenger at an East River heliport and while he was traversing Manhattan. 

The story got even more alarming when the FAA revealed that McCormack was not instrument rated, something that is legally required for pilots flying in IMC. 

The NTSB and FAA are continuing to investigate the accident. 

Related Reading: New York City Helicopter Crash Wasn’t Terrorism

The post New York City Helicopter Crash Update: Pilot Shouldn’t Have Been Flying appeared first on Plane & Pilot Magazine.

New York City Helicopter Crash Wasn’t Terrorism

Google Maps Image of New York City
A helicopter crashed on top of a building in this area of New York City on Monday, June 10, 2019. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Early reports on Monday, June 10, 2019, out of New York City were that a helicopter had crashed into a building in Manhattan.

FDNY on the scene of a helicopter crash
Members of the FDNY at the scene of a helicopter crash in New York City on Monday, June 10. Photo courtesy of the FDNY

The wording of that sparks a response in many people, especially New Yorkers and their neighbors in the Tri-State area, many of whom commute into the city for work every day. Those were, after all, the very words of concern that most of us heard first on the beautiful, clear-blue sky morning of September 11, 2001. In that moment, our world had changed (though we didn’t yet know how much it had) An airplane, the reports on the radio and on TV said, had “crashed into a building.” It was one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. And soon, another airplane would fly into another building—the other tower. And the Pentagon would soon be hit. And a fourth airliner would crash in Pennsylvania. And the Twin Towers would fall as hundreds of millions watched on live TV, or in the case of many New Yorkers, watched in horror with their own eyes.

For all we knew, a war was starting, with whom and for what reasons we knew not. Which made it all the worse. It was a horrible time for America, a horrible time for the world. And as it turned out, a war was beginning, just not the kind of war anyone imagined it would be. It is, however, a war we’re still waging, with no end in sight some 18 years later.

Monday’s crash was nothing like that, and those early reports were wrong. The helicopter crashed on top of and not into a building. The building was 787 7th Avenue, in Midtown, near the Rockefeller Center and The Museum of Modern Art, an area of the city chock-a-bloc with skyscrapers and nowhere suitable for an emergency landing.

The helicopter was an Agusta AW109e, a small, twin-engine model, a version of one of the most successful helicopters ever. They’re used for a variety of roles, everything from search-and-rescue to medical emergency transport, executive transportation and charter, among others. Small helicopters like this operate all over Manhattan, though they land only at a few designated heliports. Twin-engine helicopters have that second engine mainly because with two they can lift a lot more payload. And the second engine gives some redundancy should one of them fail.

The crash closed down blocks of New York as police and fire responded to the accident, those men and women in uniform not knowing exactly what kind of harm they might be rushing into as they headed out to do what they did on September 11th, help innocent people who find themselves in harm’s way. President Trump tweeted his support for those first responders, and America held its collective breath to learn more.

The scene of a helicopter crash in New York City
The scene of a helicopter crash in New York City. Photo courtesy of the FDNY

As it turned out, the risk was minimal and isolated to that one rooftop. It wasn’t terrorism, just a crash of a small aircraft, presumably with some kind of mechanical issue.

There have been reports that the as yet unidentified pilot of the craft, who died in the crash, called air traffic control to say that he had an emergency. Setting the helicopter down on top of the roof of a building—it hit very hard and was destroyed in the process—his act very probably saved lives, perhaps many lives. By putting it down on top of that building instead of trying for an open area on the streets below where, New Yorkers know, there are few open areas, he chose a riskier path but one that probably saved lives.

The whole story isn’t out yet, but at this point it looks as though the pilot, far from using an aircraft to do people harm, chose to make his emergency landing on an extremely small and difficult surface in order to do the exact opposite of harm.  That’s the real story.

The post New York City Helicopter Crash Wasn’t Terrorism appeared first on Plane & Pilot Magazine.

Rapport final du BEA sur l’accident de l’Airbus A330 Rio Paris

Publication du rapport final du BEA

Frédéric Cuvillier, Ministre délégué aux Transports, à la Mer et à la Pêche a pris connaissance du rapport du Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA), sur la catastrophe aérienne de l’Airbus A330 Rio-Paris exploité par Air France. L’avion avait disparu en mer, au large des côtes brésiliennes, le 1er juin 2009.
Alors que cette enquête, exceptionnelle par sa durée et sa complexité, arrive à son terme, les pensées du Ministre vont d’abord aux victimes, et à leurs familles, dont il recevra demain matin des représentants. Il y avait à bord 228 personnes de 32 nationalités.Le BEA vient d’émettre 25 nouvelles recommandations de sécurité, adressées aux autorités compétentes, dont la Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC). Le Ministre demande à la DGAC de lui soumettre dans les meilleurs délais le plan de mise en œuvre des recommandations qui la concernent directement.

Par ailleurs, il demande au BEA de lui rendre compte de l’avancée de la mise en œuvre des recommandations des autres autorités concernées.

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