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Thread: Helicopter and Light Aircraft Collide.

  1. #1

    Default Helicopter and Light Aircraft Collide.

    Nine feared dead in NY air crash
    from BBC

    New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: "This has changed from a rescue to a recovery mission"

    Nine people are feared dead after a tour helicopter and a light aircraft collided near New York City and crashed into the Hudson River.

    The collision occurred between Hoboken, in New Jersey, and Manhattan, just across the river.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg said six people - one pilot and five Italian tourists - were on the helicopter. Three people including a child were on the plane.

    He said no-one was thought to have survived. Two bodies have been found.

    Mr Bloomberg said that the emergency operation was moving from a rescue to a recovery mission.

    He said it appeared the plane had flown into the rear of the helicopter, but stressed that an investigation needed to be carried out.

    There was some evidence from an eyewitness that one of the wings of the aircraft had been severed, the mayor said.

    He said rescue workers had located some wreckage, probably of the helicopter, but that due to the limited visibility 30ft under the water it had not been possible to confirm which of the aircraft it was.

    Falling debris

    Television footage showed rescue craft heading to the site from both sides of the Hudson River after the incident happened.

    "We heard first a huge crash, a boom almost. We turned around and saw these two mushroom splashes," said Melissa Green, who was having lunch on the New York bank of the river at the time.

    "I hope they find the people, but I don't know. They just disappeared," the Associated Press news agency quoted her as saying.

    Other witnesses described seeing debris - including the plane's wing - falling into the water.

    "We saw the helicopter propellers fly all over," said Hoboken resident Katie Tanski.

    The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopters, a sightseeing company that flies tourists around sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

    The light plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was heading to Ocean City in the same state, an aviation official said.

    The weather at the time of the collision, noon local time (1600 GMT), was said to be clear and mild.

    In January, a passenger plane with 155 people aboard ditched into the Hudson River without loss of life, after apparently hitting a flock of geese.

  2. #2


    I just took the tour a month ago, and from what I can gather it sounds like it was the plane pilot's fault. The area where they crashed is right next to the heliport itself, so I assume the helicopter was fairly low and in the process of taking off.

    I wish they'd release the tail # of the helicopter. There's a 1 in 3 chance it was the one I was in. Wonder if it was the same pilot?

  3. #3
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Clifton, NJ


    So sad. My heart goes out to the victims and families. Though, I have a question: Are small planes allowed to fly along the Hudson?

  4. #4



    There's a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) corridor along the Hudson River. 1500 foot ceiling (I think). Above that altitude, aircraft must be on instrument control.

    The VFR aircraft have transponders to identify them on radar, and there is a special radio frequency assigned to the Hudson airspace.

  5. #5


    While you're on the tour you have headphones and you're able to listen to the various aircraft announce themselves. My pilot did it quite often, but I'm not sure if all pilots are that thorough.

  6. #6


    August 9, 2009

    Deadly End for Groups on 2 Trips of Leisure


    At 11:50 a.m. Saturday, Steven M. Altman set off from Teterboro Airport in northern New Jersey at the controls of a single-engine Piper airplane for what should have been a routine, short flight to the Jersey Shore. Nearby sat Daniel Altman, his brother and partner in the familyís real estate business, and a teenage boy.

    The three had been in the air for only about six minutes when, according to the authorities, Mr. Altmanís Piper slammed into the back of a helicopter that had just taken off from a heliport on the Hudson River, carrying a pilot and five Italian tourists eager to see New York City from the sky.

    No one survived the crash.

    The helicopter passengers were part of a larger group of about a dozen Italians ó a collection of family and friends who lived in the Bologna area ó visiting New York City as part of a vacation that was to wrap up on the beaches of Mexico, according to an Italian official and a person familiar with their plans.

    On Saturday, all the Italian tourists showed up at the West 30th Street heliport, but only five would take to the air over the Hudson River while the rest waited on the ground. According to a spokesman for the Italian Embassy in Washington, the five who lost their lives in the crash were Tiziana Pedrone, Fabio Gallazzi, Giacomo Gallazzi, Michele Norelli and Filippo Norelli. Two of them were youths and the rest adults, the spokesman, Fabrizio Bucci, said.

    The helicopter pilot was Jeremy Clark of Lanoka Harbor, N.J., according to Liberty Helicopters, the tour operator.

    All told, nine people died after the two aircraft collided.

    The pilot of the airplane, Mr. Altman, 60, was the son of a decorated World War II veteran. Later in life, his father flew more than 200 volunteer flights for a nonprofit group, Angel Flight East, that ferries ill patients, according to the groupís Web site.

    Steven Altman lived with his wife, Pamala, in Ambler, Pa., a quiet, upscale suburb about 20 miles north of Philadelphia. Neighbors recalled Mr. Altman as a fit, amiable man who often walked the well-manicured route of his small cul-de-sac, chatting about basketball and the Philadelphia 76ers.

    He built a basketball court in his backyard, which he used to keep in shape, said Dawn Kelley, who lives several houses down from the Altman family.

    Mr. Altman, a Cornell graduate with a degree in engineering, was the principal of Altman Management Company, a real estate investment firm in Port Washington, Pa., that owns and manages residential properties. Daniel, his brother, was a vice president.

    Since 2008, Steven Altman was on the board of directors of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, which runs several hospitals and medical facilities in the Philadelphia area.

    As for the Italian victims, Mr. Bucci said that, according to their passports, they hailed from two different parts of Italy: Some were born in the northeastern part of the country around Bologna, while others were originally from a town not far from Naples called Benevento.

    After New York City, the Italian tourists had planned to spend time in Florida before heading to Cancun. The survivors have now changed those plans and intend to return to Italy.

    Al Baker and Patrick McGeehan contributed reporting.

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  7. #7


    Tourist shuns copter ride then takes
    amazing pictures of collision above Hudson River

    BY Helen Kennedy

    Sunday, August 9th 2009, 1:57 AM

    A Canadian tourist who balked at paying $150 for a helicopter ride ended up watching the chopper's terrible midair collision through the viewfinder of her camera from the Circle Line.

    "We were planning to go on that same helicopter trip, but it was too pricey," said Indra Singh of Ottawa.

    "Thank God we canceled that helicopter trip."

    Singh, her teenage daughter, Sonia, and her grandson, Shalon, ended up taking a sightseeing cruise instead, she told Fox News.

    From the deck of the Circle Line boat, Indra Singh looked up and saw something unusual.

    "I saw the helicopter and the plane come very close together," she said.

    "I wanted to take one picture with both in the same snap. The next thing I knew, I was taking pictures of the crash."

    Singh's striking photos showed the two aircraft, one white and one dark, breaking up against the clear blue sky.

    The plane is seen trying to stay aloft with one wing gone. Equally crippled, the chopper is falling into pieces as it falls to earth.

    "It seemed the helicopter clipped the plane," Sonia Singh said. "It's hard to say - it happened so quickly."

    Circle Line Capt. Ken Corcoran turned to go help and the big tour boat was among the first at the site, soon joined a flotilla of police boats, sailboats, ferries and rafts trying to find survivors.

    "We were moments away," said Sonia Singh. "[Passengers] were devastated. Some people were crying."

    Shalon said that since it was New York City, he assumed at first it must have been some sort of spectacular special effect for a movie.

    "It was pretty difficult to realize the truth," he said.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Shalon said that since it was New York City, he assumed at first it must have been some sort of spectacular special effect for a movie.
    Somethin' else.

  9. #9


    After 9/11 how is it that aircraft can fly so low and how can there be airspace that is without guidance? Is all of that anti-terrorism talk a joke?

    If these families can sue the city, I hope they do... and big.


    "The NTSB has long expressed concern that federal safety oversight of helicopter tours isn't rigorous enough. The Federal Aviation Administration hasn't implemented more than a dozen NTSB recommendations aimed at improving the safety of the tours, called on-demand flight operations.

    A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation's inspector general last month found that 109 people died in accidents involving on-demand flights in 2007 and 2008..."

    The newspaper LaRepubblica reports that those 109 people who died, represent 33 accidents involving on-demand flights.


    And after this tradegy listen to Bloomberg's genuine a-hole comment:

    "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, asked about federal rules for the corridor, said he did not favor changes in the rules, citing the city’s interests in tourism."

    Last edited by Fabrizio; August 9th, 2009 at 01:14 PM.

  10. #10


    Well then. I'm glad I took the tour when I did, because I'm sure the insurance rates are going to increase along with even more flight restrictions.

  11. #11


    VFR air traffic is common everywhere. If you put it on instrument traffic control, the system would collapse.

    The problem is control of the industry.

    Liberty Tours used to be much worse. They would fly closer to the shoreline as they swung around the tip of Manhattan. I actually saw this one day two years ago while on the Manhattan Bridge walkway: A helicopter was hovering just north of the Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan tower. It swung up and looped back down. I first thought it was in trouble and the pilot was trying to find a place to land. But it did this maneuver a few times, and I realized it was a photo-op.

    Ironically, it was noise complaints (many from my neighborhood), not safety, that led to a tightening of regulations. But it's still pretty crowded.

  12. #12
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    East Boston, MA.


    Seems like New York has been mercilessly cursed by seemingly endless tragic disasters since 09-11!
    Last edited by Daquan13; August 10th, 2009 at 12:45 PM.

  13. #13
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Dwelling on the negative is a choice.

  14. #14


    It is a bit worrying that there are so many incidents. You tend not to hear of such scenarios in places such as London (where there are some 30mppa more people in the air each year) or Tokyo (helipad crazy) which probably have as busy airspaces.

  15. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by nick-taylor View Post
    (where there are some 30mppa more people in the air each year) or Tokyo (helipad crazy) which probably have as busy airspaces.
    You may be correct, but what does that number measure?

    Is it what we would call class-A, or controlled, traffic? There's a lot more traffic in the air around here than what is measured out of major airports. Especially since NY, unlike London, is surrounded by water.

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