De Blasio and Chuck Schumer call for increased helicopter regulations after last week’s crash

June 17, 2019

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Following the deadly crash of a helicopter in midtown last Monday, lawmakers are calling for greater oversight on helicopters flying over the city, the New York Post reported. “I think we need a full ban on any helicopters going over Manhattan itself,” Mayor de Blasio said on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show last Friday, noting that “exemptions should be made for emergency responders, first responders, uniform services,” and news cameras. On Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to include data recorders in all helicopters.

De Blasio emphasized that the FAA should lead the charge on these regulations, as the agency governs the city’s airspace. The FAA previously changed air traffic regulations over the Hudson River after nine people died in 2009 when a tourist helicopter crashed into a small airplane. “Federal government regulates helicopter traffic and for what we’re talking about in terms of safety we need federal help,” he said.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has also voiced support for more regulations on helicopters and said he would support a city council bill with new regulations. “I think we have to look at cutting down nonessential flights,” Johnson said on Thursday.

On Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer said that all helicopters should be equipped with black boxes that record and store flight data and pilot communications, as reported by the Daily News. Large commercial aircraft and some smaller commercial, corporate, and private aircraft are required by the FAA to have two black boxes on board, but that doesn’t apply to helicopters. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, without black boxes, there’s no way of knowing exactly what happens in the event of a crash.

“If we are going to have helicopters in the air, even highly regulated in terms of when and where they can fly, they should still have black boxes, if, God forbid, a crash occurs,” Schumer said on Sunday. “We do this for commercial planes, so it makes all the sense in the world for choppers, too.”

[Via New York Post]



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