New York lawmakers seek to ban all non-essential helicopters over NYC
A trio of New York City lawmakers aim to ban all tourist and ride-sharing helicopters flying in Big Apple airspace in the aftermath of deadly crashes.
Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez will unveil their legislation to restrict commercial helicopter rides on the steps of City Hall on Saturday morning.
“The Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019 would drastically reduce helicopter traffic, improve safety, and cut down on noise by prohibiting non-essential helicopters from flying within New York City airspace,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
The bill will be tailored to apply just to New York City, given the population density and size specified in the text, according to an aide.
The ban would apply to all sight-seeing chopper rides as well as Uber, Blade and other flight-hailing services. Exceptions would be made for police, medical, emergency and disaster relief efforts. News gathering outlets could also still fly, according to another aide briefed on the bill.
The legislation comes after a sight-seeing helicopter crashed into the East River on March 11, 2018, killing five passengers.
Then in June, a helicopter made a crash landing on a midtown skyscraper, killing the pilot Tim McCormack.
At least 30 helicopters have crashed in New York City, causing at least 25 fatalities since 1982, the lawmakers said, citing National Transportation Safety Board records.