Doors-Off Helicopter Flights Banned at City-Owned Downtown Heliport

Brooklyn Bridge, Boats, and Helipad - NYC
Brooklyn Bridge, Boats, and Helipad - NYC via ChrisGoldNY on Flickr

In response to the deadly March 11th East River helicopter crash, the NYC Economic Development Council will ban doors-off flights from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.

The heliport is owned by the city and sometimes referred to as the Wall Street heliport due to the pier's location just off the eastern side of the Financial District. It is where Marine One lands when the President visits New York, and since 2010, all tour flights originating from Manhattan have moved to the downtown heliport to cut down on noise. The announcement is proactive in that no doors-off flights currently leave from that helipad, but it will prevent these specific types of sight-seeing flights from being able to operate downtown.

After the March 11th crash, the FAA enacted nationwide rules prohibiting doors-off flights unless they used FAA-approved harnesses and were tethered to the helicopter via straps that could be released by the passengers. In the deadly crash, FlyNYON passengers were wearing harnesses described by the NTSB as "comprised of off-the-shelf components" and the tethers were locked down and meant to be cut with a sharp tool in the event of an emergency, which is expressly prohibited by the new FAA order.

Doors-off flights may still operate over New York, but will need to leave from New Jersey locations and use proper safety equipment to be in compliance.

Read the full announcement from the NYCEDC


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