Pilot, aviation lawyer weighs in on NYC helicopter crash

Posted: Updated:
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS -

Longtime pilot and aviation lawyer Sal Lagonia is weighing in on the helicopter crash in midtown Manhattan Monday that claimed the life of Dutchess County resident Tim McCormack.

"The conditions were bad," says Lagonia. "It could have been a disaster if it had fallen into the street."

MORE: Dutchess County mourns chopper pilot killed in NYC crash 

McCormack was flying his twin-engine helicopter in windy, rainy and foggy conditions when it crashed onto the the roof a 54-story midtown office building and burst into flames. The 58-year-old former volunteer firefighter was killed.

According to investigators, McCormack was flying very close to restricted airspace in midtown Manhattan. The crash has prompted some lawmakers to call for more restrictions over New York's airspace.

 

Lagonia says that's not going to change anything.

"If he in fact had some kind of an emergency on that helicopter, all restrictions are off and he can do almost anything he wants - to safely get the aircraft on the ground. He tried to do that, we think at least, by landing on top of the roof," says Lagonia.

McCormack was on his way to New Jersey after picking up a passenger in Westchester and dropping them off on the 34th Street helipad.  Investigators are looking at weather as a factor in the crash.

The FAA says that McCormack wasn't authorized to fly in limited visibility. They say he was only certified to fly under regulations known as visual flight rules, which requires generally good weather and clear conditions. The FAA says air traffic controllers did not handle McCormick's flight.

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