East 34th Street Heliport
|East 34th Street Heliport|
|Owner||Economic Development Corp|
|Operator||Mac Quarie Aviation|
|Serves||New York City|
|Location||East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016|
|Elevation AMSL||10 ft / 3 m|
East 34th Street Heliport (IATA: TSS, FAA LID: 6N5) is a heliport on the east side of Manhattan located on the East River Greenway, between the East River and the FDR Drive viaduct. Also known as the Atlantic Metroport at East 34th Street, it is a public heliport owned by New York City and run by the Economic Development Corporation.
The East 34th Street Heliport opened on the site of the original East 34th Street Ferry Landing in 1972, providing charter, commuter, and sightseeing flights, and served as a replacement for the heliport atop the Pan Am Building, which closed in 1968 before reopening for 3 months in 1977, ending in a May helicopter crash that killed 5.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, New York Helicopter operated frequent scheduled services from the Heliport to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. Fourteen-seat turbine-powered Sikorsky S-58T helicopters were used on this service.
After several residential high rises were developed in the neighborhood in the 1980s, the city was pressured into reducing helicopter traffic in the area. Sightseeing flights were banned from the heliport in 1997. In 1998, operations were further restricted by limiting flights from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends. Weekend flights were banned altogether later in the year.
US Helicopter began providing regularly scheduled passenger service from the East 34th Street Heliport to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in 2007, but shut down operations in September 2009. As of November 2009, it was uncertain if or when scheduled shuttle service would start up again.
Since this is a heliport and not an airport, there are no Instrument Procedures for this facility. The level of boating traffic in the neighboring East River requires that pilots exercise caution in making their approach to the heliport's landing pad.
Accidents and incidents
- On May 23, 1974, David Frank Kamaiko, a 22-year man from Greenwich Village claiming to be a member of the Jewish Defense League, hijacked a helicopter from the East 34th Street Heliport and demanded $2 million in ransom. After landing on top of the Pan Am Building, the pilot tried to escape and Kamaiko shot him in the arm. The hijacker was held back by the other hostage inside the helicopter until he was taken into custody by police.
- On February 27, 1975, a Bell 47G-2A on a non-commercial flight from Garden City crashed into a fence while attempting to land at the 34th Street Heliport in gusty wind conditions. The pilot survived but was severely burned in the resulting fire.
- On April 26, 1985, the engine on an Aérospatiale SA 360 Dauphin failed shortly after takeoff from the East 34th Street Heliport, sending the helicopter into the East River. Five passengers and two crewmembers were rescued but one passenger trapped inside the submerged craft was killed.
- On May 2, 1988, a Bell 206-B on a sightseeing flight around Manhattan crashed into the East River near Long Island City while preparing to land at the East 34th Street Heliport, killing one person and injuring four others.
- On February 10, 1990, a strong gust of wind sent a Bell 206-L on a sightseeing flight crashing into the East River shortly after taking off from the East 34th Street Heliport. A 14-year-old boy was unconscious when pulled from the wreckage and later died. The pilot and three other passengers (including the boy's father and two French tourists) were injured but survived the crash.
- On June 17, 2005, a Sikorsky S-76C carrying six corporate executives from MBNA returning to Delaware after a business meeting in New York City crashed into the East River less than one minute after taking off from the East 34th Street Heliport. All eight people aboard survived the crash.
- On October 4, 2011, a Bell 206 crashed into the East River killing one person after taking off from the East 34th Street Heliport. The pilot and three other passengers on board were rescued. One week after the accident, a second passenger died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board report on the crash, released on December 20, 2012, said the cause was excess weight in the helicopter; the aircraft is rated to carry 3,200 pounds (1,451 kg), but it was estimated to have weighed between 3,228 pounds (1,464 kg) and 3,461 pounds (1,570 kg) at takeoff.
- Aviation in the New York metropolitan area
- Downtown Manhattan Heliport
- East 34th Street Ferry Landing
- West 30th Street Heliport
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- Bamberger, Werner (June 22, 1972). "4th Heliport Set to Start Service; City Facility on E. 34th St. to Offer Flights to L.I.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Waldman, Amy (July 9, 1998). "Study Rejects New Limits on Helicopters". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
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- "East Side Heliport Ceases Operations on Weekends". The New York Times. November 7, 1998. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
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- Hirsch, Abby (August 1, 1994). "Nightmare On The East River". New York. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
- Feuer, Alan (June 19, 2005). "In Seconds, a Routine Trip Became a Fight for Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Barron, James (October 4, 2011). "Copter Crashes in East River, Killing One". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "Second Passenger in Helicopter Crash Dies". The New York Times. October 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
- "NTSB: Helicopter that crashed into N.Y. river too heavy". USA Today. December 20, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2012.