FAA officials say the helicopter pilot who died after crashing on top of a New York City skyscraper should not have been flying

East Clinton Volunteer Fire DepartmentPilot Timothy McCormack died after crash-landing on top of a New York City skyscraper in limited-visibility conditions on Monday. He was the only person on board.
  • Pilot Timothy McCormack died after crashing a helicopter on top of a New York City skyscraper on Monday. He was the only person on board.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration told NBC News and The Hill on Tuesday that McCormack was not licensed to fly in the limited-visibility conditions present in the New York-area Monday.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the fatal crash.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

The pilot who died after crashing a helicopter on top of a New York City skyscraper on Monday should not have been flying, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

The FAA told NBC News and The Hill in a statement on Tuesday that Timothy McCormack was not licensed to fly in the low-visibility conditions that clouded the Manhattan area on Monday.

An FAA spokesman declined to comment further to NBC News, directing all further questions to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the cause of the crash.

However, NBC News spoke to a former NTSB air safety investigator, who explained the type of licence that McCormack lacked.

Al Yurman told the outlet that federal regulators require all pilots to be “instrument-rated” if they will be flying in bad weather. This means that they know how to use tools on board their aircraft that can tell them where they are headed and whether they are level, things that may be difficult to ascertain in low-visibility scenarios.


Read more:
The pilot whose helicopter crashed into a New York skyscraper was a seasoned flier and volunteer firefighter

Not knowing how to use these tools in these situations can cause a pilot to experience “spatial disorientation,” which Yurman likened to putting a blindfold on, spinning around three times and seeing “if you know where you are.”

FAA records show that McCormack first got his helicopter pilot’s licence in 2004, and became an approved flight instructor in 2018.

Paul Dudley, the manager of the Linden, New Jersey airport where McCormack was based out of, told ABC 7 that he was a “very competent, well-liked, respected individual.”

“He was no kid. He was a veteran helicopter pilot in this area. Something had to overwhelm him, mechanical or weather,” Dudley said.

Dudley also told the Poughkeepsie Journal that he thinks McCormack landed on the building “to save the people on the ground.” “Because if he went to the ground it would have been carnage,” Dudley told the newspaper.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.