Pilot killed in crash wasn't certified to fly in bad weather

Clay Curtis
June 12, 2019

Firefighters work on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue at 51st Street after a helicopter crashed there on June 10, 2019 in New York City.

The pilot then flew around Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan, up the west side of the island and then, somewhere around the streets in the 40s, started to veer toward midtown Manhattan before ultimately crash landing, the law enforcement source said.

The Monday crash killed the pilot, Tim McCormack.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations require pilots to have an instrument rating when flying through poor weather conditions and pilot Timothy McCormack did not have that rating, FAA officials told Fox News on Tuesday.

He was taking the chopper from the city to New Jersey when he crashed at 787 7th Avenue, a 52-story high-rise.

The helicopter was flying in a downpour of rain with low cloud cover and in tightly controlled airspace.

The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a briefing for Tuesday afternoon.

That trip would have taken the helicopter south, over the city's harbour and past the Statue of Liberty.

It is still unclear what caused the crash.

"Those questions are part of our investigation", safety board spokesman Terry Williams said.

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"We think his route of flight did not go as planned and he may have ventured into air space that required that he contact air traffic control", Brazy said. The helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder, he said.

Federal investigators have yet to determine why McCormack was flying over one of the United States' most densely populated areas.

"I couldn't tell if the smoke preceded the helicopter coming over, or if it was from the helicopter crashing into the building", he said.

A dramatic video circulating on social media shows a helicopter flying erratically over the East River. The helicopter was a privately-owned aircraft used for executive charter flights. The crash occurred about 11 minutes after he'd taken off from a heliport along the East River, a little more than a mile away, according to the New York City Police Department. Those flights were cut in half to about 30,000 a year under a 2016 deal between operators and the city, which runs two of Manhattan's three commercial heliports.

John Dellaportas, the president of the Stop the Chop advocacy group, said only public safety and medical flights should be allowed. "We've got some information that the pilot may have tried to make radio calls near the end of the flight".

"It's a bit like Groundhog Day that every time there's a deadly crash, politicians say great things and then everybody goes back to their business", said Dellaportas, a lawyer.

McCormack had volunteered with the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department since 1994 and served as the department chief for 10 years, East Clinton Fire Department Chief Don Estes said reading a statement.

McCormack graduated from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville.

"The aircraft came down between structural metal supports and mechanical equipment on the roof", the official said.

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