Part 135 Rotorcraft Ops Restored Over Manhattan
Closed by a ban on operations within three nautical miles of the World Trade Center site since September 11, Manhattan’s three public-use heliports were partially reopened on October 12, but only to Part 135 operations. The announcement came as good news for air-taxi operators but disappointed the large local population of Part 91 corporate operators. Efforts by local helo operators, spearheaded by the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, to allow corporate helicopters access to the Manhattan heliports propose providing the FAA with the identities of both the helicopters and those who will fly and travel in them, and attesting to the security with which they are hangared and their operations, passengers and crew screened for security–in return for which they will be provided with passwords or discrete transponder codes. At press time, that proposal was reviewed by the FAA. Whatever the outcome, it will be a long time before air-tour operations resume over Manhattan, if indeed they ever do. Liberty Helicopters, the area’s leading tour provider, ceased operations on September 11 and has been forced to lay off 100 employees. Local observers predict it will be a long time indeed before helicopter-borne tourists once again view the Big Apple from the air and capture its brutally disfigured skyline on celluloid.