FAA: Pilot in fatal NYC helicopter crash not licensed for flight conditions

FAA: Pilot in fatal NYC helicopter crash not licensed for flight conditions

The pilot involved in a fatal helicopter crash in New York City Monday was not licensed to be flying in the weather conditions that day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Timothy McCormack's airmen's file with the agency does not list the rating needed to legally fly when visibility is less than 3 miles, as it was on Monday in Manhattan.

A spokesperson from the FAA told the The Hill that "the pilot did not have an instrument rating, which is required to fly in low visibility."

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Al Yurman, a former air safety investigator with the board, told NBC News in an interview that federal regulators require all pilots to be instrument-rated when flying during the weather affecting the city when McCormack crash-landed.

Helicopter pilots must know how to use a set of instruments that can tell them what direction the aircraft is flying, for instance, or whether its wings and nose are level, he explained.

Without those instruments, flying in heavy clouds can cause “spatial disorientation,” Yurman told NBC.

“It’s like putting a blindfold on,” he said. “Turn yourself around three times and see if you know where you are.”

The roof of the building which McCormack crashed onto was 54 stories, right around the cloud ceiling at the time which was at 600 feet.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

McCormack was the only fatality.