Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New York Airways

New York Airways was an airline that offered scheduled helicopter service from a helipad atop the Pan Am Building in Midtown Manhattan, New York City to airports in the area. Founded in 1949 as a mail and cargo carrier, it commenced passenger operations on July 9, 1953, becoming the first scheduled helicopter carrier in the United States and the first passenger helicopter carrier in the world. Its headquarters were located on the grounds of LaGuardia Airport.

In February 1955, the one way fare from LaGuardia to Idlewild was $4.50. The ship was a Sikorsky H-19, N418A. The trip took ten minutes, and their phone number at the time was DEfender 5-6600. At its peak, the airline partnered with 24 international and domestic airlines and served destinations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut,

On May 16, 1977, the landing gear failed on a Sikorsky S-61 while it was taking on passengers on the roof of the Pan Am Building. The aircraft rolled onto its side. Its spinning rotor blades killed four passengers waiting to board (including movie director Michael Findlay) and injured a fifth. Parts of a broken blade fell into the streets below, killing one pedestrian and injuring another.

 Fuel prices soared after the 1973 energy crisis, however, damaging profitability. It could not recover after the 1977 accident and the 1979 energy crisis, and New York Airways filed for bankruptcy on May 18, 1979.

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