Tim McCormack, pilot of doomed helicopter, radioed he was lost
The pilot who was killed when his helicopter crash-landed atop a Midtown skyscraper in rain and fog radioed that he was lost and couldn’t find his way back to a heliport, according to an official briefed on the probe.
Tim McCormack, 58, who was not rated to fly solely by reference to instruments, had dropped a passenger off at the East 34th Street heliport on Monday morning before heading to his home port in Linden, NJ, officials have said.
McCormack was only licensed to fly under visual flight rules, or VFR, which require generally good weather and clear conditions, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Without a rating to fly under instrument flight rules, or IFR, pilots may not fly into instrument meteorological conditions, known among aviators as IMC.
McCormack apparently became disoriented en route and tried to set his craft down on the roof of the 54-story building at 787 Seventh Ave., but ended up crashing and was killed.
McCormack’s radio calls, which the official described to The Associated Press, are the clearest evidence so far that the lousy weather might have played a role in the accident.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, wasn’t authorized to discuss the radio calls publicly because of the ongoing federal investigation.
Footage posted on social media after the crash showed a helicopter that officials believe is the doomed chopper hovering south of the heliport, then turning and making an erratic flight north through rain and clouds.
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