Maloney: Ban ‘nonessential’ ’copter flights

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Following Monday’s fatal helicopter crash onto the roof of the AXA Equitable building in Midtown, Carolyn Maloney, who represents the area in Congress, renewed her call to ban nonessential helicopter flights from Manhattan.

Flying in heavy fog and rain, the pilot, identified as Tim McCormack, 58, reportedly tried to make an emergency crash-landing on top of the skyscraper, at 787 Seventh Ave., between W. 51st and W. 52nd Sts., which lacks a helipad. McCormack, who was the only passenger, died as the ’copter blew into pieces and sparked a two-alarm fire.

A passenger exiting a helicopter at the W. 30th St. heliport, where business and commuter flights are still allowed. (File photo)

According to the New York Post, the pilot had lifted off from the E. 34th St. Heliport, after having dropped off his passenger, and was en route back to his “home port” in Linden, N.J. He flew down the East Side and then back up the Hudson River — but apparently got lost in the low-visibility conditions and wound up over Midtown.

News helicopters reportedly were 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.

Eyewitness News said the helicopter was being used for “executive travel.”

The fatal helicopter crash on top of the AXA Equitable building in Midtown sparked a two-alarm fire. (Courtesy CNBC)

“Today, New York City experienced yet another deadly helicopter crash, this time, with our nightmare of having a helicopter crash into a building,” Maloney said. “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 F.A.A. to ban unnecessary helicopters from the skies over our densely packed urban city. The risks to New Yorkers are just too high.”

In March 2018, Maloney and Congressmember 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 the East River that killed five passengers.

New York banned helicopters from landing on rooftops following a 1977 crash into the Pan Am Building, now called the Met Life Building.