Was Helipad To Blame In Hudson River Crash?
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees all airborne craft, in 2017, the number of fatal helicopter crashes declined for the third straight year. The overall accident rate for helicopters fell to 3.19 accident per 100,000 flight hours in 2016. In 2015, that rate was 3.67 accident per 100,000 flight hours. When it comes to raw numbers, 2016 saw 106 helicopter crashes. 17 of those crashes were fatal. Part of the reason for this decrease is that the FAA is promoting a culture of safety among helicopter pilots and businesses.
The Gothamist reports on that the heliport that was the site of a recent crash has been targeted for removal several times of the past few years.
On May 15th, a helicopter crashed into the Hudson River. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the crash, but attention is being given to the fact that the helicopter took off from a controversial helipad that has been slated for closure.
New York City has a total of three commercial heliports. All three are located in Manhattan. However, the helipad located at West 30th Street is located within the boundaries of the Hudson River Park. The Hudson River Park is a public park and the helipad in question is close to a heavily used bike and pedestrian pad along the river.
In regards to this particular helipad, take-offs and landing occur roughly 20 feet from the well-traveled path that winds along the river. It is the second-busiest of the three commercial helipads, recording 12,000 flights in 2018.
Residents of the West Side and park advocates have attempted to remove the helipad for a decade. They continually cite the noise as well as the toxic fumes. A lawsuit that was settled with the helipad facing removal from the location by 2014 was stopped by a state bill that was passed in 2013, allowing the helipad to remain in perpetuity.