FAA Grounds Helicopter Flights Like One That Crashed in NY

20 Marcha, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • The wreckage of a chartered Liberty Helicopters helicopter that crashed into the East River is hoisted from the water in New York

On Friday, the FAA announced it is temporarily restricting "doors-off" flights unless passenger restraints can be quickly released during an emergency.

The announcement came five days after five people died when a tour helicopter autorotated into New York's East River and rolled over.

Sen. Chuck Schumer Sunday demanded a probe into the FAA policies that contributed to the deaths of five helicopter passengers last week - questioning how the treacherous harnesses and "doors off" flights were ever allowed in the first place. Only the pilot escaped. Their lawyer, Gary C. Robb, said the restraints fasten in the back and are hard to unlatch, especially when a helicopter is tossed upside down.

Doorless helicopters allow sightseers to take unobstructed photographs, but they require the use of tight-fitting harnesses ensure passengers remain safely inside the helicopter. "Doors- off flights and this questionable restraint system should have been grounded from day one", Schumer added.

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The FAA also said it will conduct a top-to-bottom review of its rules governing these flights to make sure there are no additional safety gaps for passengers. Liberty has been referring questions to federal authorities.

Liberty Helicopters advertised the FlyNYON open door flight to tourists and photographers looking to land better shots of the city's skyline.

Although the exact cause of the crash has not yet been determined, witnesses report hearing problems of engine trouble. The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly about it and spoke on the condition of anonymity. New York Fire Department divers had to cut the passengers' bodies loose. The passengers, four men and one woman, drowned, the medical examiner said. He called it "long overdue and too little, too late" for the victims of Sunday's crash.

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