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

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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.

After a helicopter crash landed on a midtown New York City building, killing the pilot, on Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation into the incident.

Based on interviews the NYPD conducted at the 34th Street heliport on Manhattan's east side, the pilot was waiting out the weather but for some reason decided it was OK to go, another law enforcement source told CNN.

McCormack was 58 and from Clinton Corners, New York, according to local media.

It helps pilots learn to fly without visual reference to the sky under instrument flight rules, by relying exclusively on instruments to "fly blind" in clouds or heavy fog under the direction of air traffic control, Schiavo said.

Under federal flight rules for New York City, a helicopter pilot departing from that location would normally call LaGuardia, across the East River in the borough of Queens, to inform controllers it was taking off, though it is not strictly required to do so. The visibility at the time of the crash was about 2 kilometers, with low clouds blanketing the sky.

Tim McCormack, a longtime volunteer firefighter and former fire chief in Dutchess County, was the only victim of the crash on Monday, June 10 after he took off from the 34th Street heliport and crash-landed on top of a 750-foot building in the rain and fog.

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

It's unclear if authorities were aware before the crash that the helicopter had entered restricted air space. He said investigators have spoken to the passenger in that flight as part of their probe.

It wasn't immediately known by Monday evening if the helicopter had received permission to fly, he added.

Brazy said the helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.

The 19-year-old helicopter was linked to a real estate company founded by Italian-born investor Daniele Bodini, according to FAA records. 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.

"Pilots must have an instrument rating to fly in bad weather", an FAA spokeswoman said.

"There were no other injuries that we know of at this point in time to anyone in the building or on the ground", de Blasio said.

But a new Uber service is threatening to crowd the skies once more.

John Dellaportas, the president of the Stop the Chop advocacy group, said only public safety and medical flights should be allowed.

Sam Goldstein, a spokesman for New York's tourist helicopter industry, said operators "have already regulated themselves into a position where they're safe, predictable and a good neighbor".

Another pilot said that McCormack was highly experienced and may have made a hard landing on the roof of the skyscraper to avoid further casualties.

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