Today marks the one-week anniversary of the New York Helicopter Crash. This is a summary of what occurred and what we know so far.
On Monday, June 10, 2019 Timothy McCormack (age 58) flew Daniele Bodini to the 34th Street Heliport in New York City, landing at 11:45am. McCormack had been flying the Agusta A109E helicopter for the company for five years. Bodini is the owner of American Continental Properties, which it turn operated the helicopter which was used for executive travel.
Apparently, McCormack spent the next hour or so deciding if he could safely return to the helicopter’s home station at Linden Airport in New Jersey. The biggest obstacle was the bad weather over New York City, which seemed to be worsening.
Eventually, McCormack decided he had a window of decent weather in which to make it back to Linden. He took off at around 1:30pm and two further issues occurred. Apparently, McCormack did not hold an instrument rating. This is the rating which allows a pilot to fly in less than three-mile visibility (See Doctor Aviation Session 12 for further information). The visibility was reported between one and three miles.
Restricted Air Space
The second issue is where McCormack was attempting to fly. Due to his status as the President of the United States, Donald Trump’s Trump Towers has a one mile radius restricted air space around the tower. No aircraft are permitted to fly in the restricted airspace. McCormack was in this space with his Agusta A109E
Shortly after takeoff, McCormack must have sensed some trouble. He radioed that he may have to return to his takeoff heliport. Instead he continued to proceed and 11 minutes into the flight decided (for unknown) reasons to make an emergency landing. The emergency landing turned into a crash landing.
McCormack earns high marks, thus far, for his choice of emergency/crash landing site. He apparently picked the largest flat roofed building which had walls surrounding the roof in which to corral the debris, which he must have known could occur.
Many in his hometown of Poughkeepsie are paying tribute. The NTSB is investigating, and their full report will likely come out in 18 to 24 months.
I am reminded of the three steps pilots are to exercise during an emergency landing.
1 Maintain Aircraft Control
2 Analyze the Situation and Take Appropriate Action
3 Land as Soon as Conditions Permit.
For McCormack, Step 3 seems to have been the 54 story AXA Equitable Building. This led to the New York City Helicopter Crash.
For further details see: Crash