Helicopter Pilot That Crashed Into N.Y.C. Building Didn't Have Certificate to Fly in Bad Weather
The helicopter pilot who died during Monday’s crash-landing in Midtown Manhattan was not licensed to fly in bad weather, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed on Tuesday.
Timothy McCormack, 57, did not have the proper certification to fly in weather conditions where the visibility is less than three miles, an FAA spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE. This means the helicopter was not equipped with the navigation instruments that would have guided him through the rain and clouds over Manhattan on Monday, an FAA spokesperson told NBC News.
The National Transportation Safety Board is already investigating in an effort to identify what exactly led to the helicopter’s fatal crash-landing atop a roof of a 54-story Manhattan high-rise at 787 Seventh Avenue, which did not have a heliport.
“Should the helicopter have been flying, I don’t know yet,” NTSB Air Safety Investigator Doug Brazy said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Without the necessary navigation instruments for foul weather, “flying in heavy clouds can cause ‘spacial disorientation,’ ” former Air Safety Investigator Al Yurman said in an interview, according to NBC.
Fire officials say the cloud ceiling was 600 feet at the time of the crash, which is nearly equivalent to the height of a 60-story building.
McCormack — a certified helicopter instructor and commercial pilot — was the only person to die during Monday’s crash-landing. McCormack’s passenger from earlier that day indicated that the pilot was not in communication with air traffic control, which is a violation of instrument-flight rules for foul weather, NBC News reported.
“You have to be in radio contact with air traffic controllers,” Yurman told the outlet.
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