New York City to ban doors-off helicopter flights

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City will no longer allow doors-off tourist helicopter flights to take off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, a consequence of a deadly crash last month.

No doors-off flights currently depart the heliport in lower Manhattan, which is the only pad in the city where tourist flights originate, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation is instituting new rules to make sure it stays that way.

“It is our hope that by officially banning doors-off helicopter flights out of New York City, we will help improve air safety within the five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett.

An open door flight for a photography shoot that took off from New Jersey crashed in the East River March 11 after a strap snagged a fuel line. Five passengers died after they were stuck in their harnesses.

“By calling for today’s hearing of the Committee on Economic Development, we were hopeful that immediate positive safety changes would occur for helicopter aviation in the city,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, chair of the NYC Economic Development Committee. “This agreement is very welcomed news and takes a huge step in the right direction.”

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