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‘Doors-Off’ Helicopter Flights Halted by FAA After NYC Photo Tour Crash


The FAA has issued an immediate ban on certain “doors-off” helicopter flights nationwide in the aftermath of the photo tour helicopter crash in New York City this week. 5 passengers died by drowning in the East River after not being able to escape their safety harnesses.

The New York Times reports that the FAA is scrutinizing on the harnesses used in “doors-off” flights, as they attach passengers to the rear of the cabin and do not have any way to be removed quickly in the event of an emergency.

Doors-off helicopter flights have become increasingly popular for photography purposes, as they allow photographers to capture aerial photos without glass interfering with their images.

And among doors-off helicopter flights available across the US, many use harnesses that are difficult for passengers to remove themselves. The passengers in the doomed NYC flight were given small blades to cut through the tethers in the event of an emergency, but it’s reported that many passengers may not even be aware of where the blades were located in the cabin.

Image credits: Header photo by Ryan Hallock and licensed under CC BY 2.0