Calls to ban most helicopters over NYC intensify
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Cries to ‘stop the chop’ are growing louder following Monday’s deadly helicopter crash on a high-rise in Midtown Manhattan.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney is among the many calling for the ban of all unnecessary helicopters over New York City.
“For nonessential things like tourism, why should some tour guide be able to endanger that lives of people by flying over probably one of the most densely populated areas in the world? New York City,” Maloney said. “It doesn’t make any sense at all and it should have been banned long ago.”
Monday’s crash was a private helicopter, not a tourist flight, but it called to mind past helicopter accidents in the city.
In May 1977, five people died when a helicopter blade broke off on a helipad at the top of what was then-called the PanAm building. It led authorities to ban helipads on Manhattan rooftops, but there have still been several chopper accidents since then.
This past May a pilot miraculously survived after he lost altitude and crashed into the Hudson River.
In March 2018, five people were killed when their sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River.
In August 2009, nine people died when a chopper and small plane collided and landed in the Hudson.
Adrian Benepe, a volunteer for Stop the Chop, says a government agency like the TSA should have tighter control over access to helicopters flying in the nation’s largest city.
“If they need to keep heliports open for emergency services for official business, for NYPD, for hospital, for medical evac, that’s fine,” Benepe said.
A bill to ban tourist helicopter flights has been introduced to the city council and voted down multiple times in recent years.
The Economic Development Corporation, which manages two of the city’s three heliports, tells FOX 5 NEWS that helicopter tourism contributes about 50 million dollars a year to the local economy.
This July, Uber is set to launch its new copter service in the city, taking passengers between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy Airport.
“I think it’s about getting the rules right up front and just putting whatever cap we feel is appropriate,” Mayor de Blasio said on NY1 Monday night.
"Now that Uber is coming into the picture we have to look at that very carefully and decide what makes sense.”