The pilot killed on Monday when his helicopter rammed into the roof of a New York skyscraper and, according to his pilot's certificate, did not have a restricted view. This raised questions about why he took off in fog and continuous rain.58, has been certified, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), only for flying under visual flight rules, which generally require good weather and clear conditions.
at least 3 miles of visibility and that the sky is clear for day flights. At the time of the crash on Monday, visibility in nearby Central Park was about 1
McCormack was not allowed to use instruments for flying in cloudy or inclement weather, the FAA said.
] The crash in Midtown Manhattan's severely-controlled airspace shook the 750-foot AXA Equitable building, extinguishing the Agusta A109E helicopter, lighting a fire, and forcing office workers to flee.
It briefly sparked memories of 9/11 and fears of a terrorist attack, but the authorities said there is no indication that the crash was deliberate. Flight safety investigator Doug Brazy told a National Transportation Safety Board briefing Tuesday that McCormack had come to a heliport on New York's East River after traveling with a passenger from nearby Westchester County.
The passenger told the investigators that nothing was out Brazy said it was an ordinary 15-minute flight.
McCormack waited about two hours at the heliport and checked the weather before setting out on a trip to the helicopter's home base in Linden, New Jersey, Brazy said helicopter south, past the city's harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
Investigators reviewed a social media video Monday afternoon showing a helicopter that investigators believe the failing helicopter stops a short distance south of the heliport and then spins and returns irregularly through rain and make clouds to the north.
The helicopter hit the Manhattan Tower about 11 minutes after takeoff in an area where flights were not scheduled.
Limited Air Traffic Since then President Trump has taken office and forbids airplanes to fly under 3000 feet within a 1.6 km radius of the Trump Tower, just a few blocks from the crash site.
Helicopters entering and leaving the heliport on East 34th Street may only fly in the restricted area if they have a permit and are in constant communication with air traffic control.
Brazy said the pilot had never done so and did not contact air traffic control, even though the investigators were trying to check if McCormack had made radio calls to anyone shortly before the crash. Brazy said McCormack's proposed route to Linden would not have obliged him to contact air traffic control.
Asked if the weather was a factor, Brazy said, "It's certainly one of the most interesting concerns we have."  "Should the helicopter have flown? I do not know yet," he said.
Brazy said the helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder.
McCormack was a former fire chief in the inland Clinton Corners, New York. With 15 years of experience in helicopter and single-engine airplane flying, he was admitted as a flight instructor last year, according to FAA records.
The East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department announced on Facebook that McCormack has "technical knowledge and ability". Emergencies were exceptional.
Linden Airport director, Paul Dudley, described McCormack as a "very experienced" and "very respected" pilot.
Brazy said a salvage crew expected to remove the wreckage from the roof on Tuesday night parts are taken down the stairs and down the elevator. "The location – within the city and on the roof of a building – is probably the biggest challenge in the investigation," Brazy said