The Historical past of New York Airways’ Helicopter Operations

If a person about to board an airplane in Omaha ended up questioned where he was traveling to and he responded, “Omaha,” he might acquire a couple of perplexed appears to be like and even an audible, “But are not you there now?” Still, when you stay in metropolises that support various airports, this kind of as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Tokyo, it is possible to fly from a person to the other.

When distances amongst them may not be that abnormal, surface area journey, especially during hurry several hours, can require excess time, and there is nothing at all like landing at an airport and continuing to the following gate for a connecting flight and even owning your checked baggage interlined to it.

New York qualifies as having a person of these inter-airport networks and its namesake New York Airways manufactured a valiant, two-ten years try to present scheduled, rotary-wing assistance within just it.

As the 3rd to do so, it adopted Los Angles Airways and Helicopter Air Expert services of Chicago and was awarded an operating certificate by the Civil Aeronautics Board (Taxi) in December of 1951 to fly concerning within just the ttri-airport Idlewild, La Guardia, and Newark catchment spot.

Reflecting early-aviation enhancement, in which open-cockpit biplanes carried mail above designated routes and accommodated a several passengers to augment profits when place authorized, it transitioned to the passenger variety of payload on July 8, 1952 with 7-seat Sikorsky S-55s, sooner or later increasing further than its inter-airport network to New Brunswick, Princeton, and, Trenton in New Jersey. Manhattan-penetrating service to the Hudson River hugging West 30th Avenue Heliport began four a long time later on, on December 5.

Sound and vibration have been counteracted with usefulness, velocity, travel occasions that had been calculated in minutes, and unparalleled sights of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. Strategies to the encircled “H” touchdown level on the h2o jutting pier positioned the aircraft’s size into viewpoint when vit was almost swallowed by Manhattan’s monoliths throughout its alight.

Before that calendar year, on April 21, New York Airways inaugurated the better-potential, a lot more innovative, tandem twin-rotor Vertol 44B into assistance.

“It was the initially transport helicopter to have its cabin organized like that of a conventional airliner, accommodating 15 travellers, primarily two-abreast on the starboard side of the cabin with the aisle and baggage area on the still left,” according to R. E. G. Davies in “Airlines of the United States given that 1914 “(Smithsonian Institution Push, 1998, p. 475).

Nevertheless, passenger acceptance and growth quickly necessitated even greater, a lot more highly developed tools, prompting New York Airways’ first, $4,350,000 get for 10 Vertol V-107-IIs on January 15, 1960. It was later halved to five.

The kind which inevitably grew to become its flagship and virtual symbol of it, not only traces it origins to a layout, but to the extremely, producer that produced it. Vertol, a Philadelphia-based, rotary-wing firm, was concurrently developing two tandem-rotor helicopters-specifically, the Chinook for the US Military and the CH-46A Sea Knight for the US Navy and Marines.

The latter, the end result of a design and style level of competition for a Maritime Corps medium assault transportation, initially flew in August of 1962 and was 1st sent two years later on, carrying troops and cargo in between South Chine Sea positioned ships and Vietnam. Of its three prototypes, a person was modified to civil V-107-II normal and it initially flew on Oct 25, 1960, at a time when Boeing had acquired the firm, resulting in the Boeing-Vertol title.

Powered by a 1,250-shp Standard Electric T58-8 turboshaft engine, it showcased a 50-foot rotor diameter. With an 84-foot in general size, it had an 18,400-pound gross weight.

Initial flying in entire generation guise the pursuing 12 months, on May well 19, it was FAA kind-accredited in January of 1962 and entered scheduled New York Airway service on July 1. The remaining ten created were offered to Kawasaki of Japan to serve as license-developed sample plane, but that prepare never ever proceeded into output.

Photos of the V-107-II taking off from the Pan Am rooftop heliport symbolized skyscraper-stretching Manhattan island and fashioned an integral component of the city’s culture. They also represented an factor of urban mobility: subways below its streets and helicopters over its buildings depicted effective technological triumphs more than targeted traffic-saturated streets and appreciably decreased journey periods.

“Twenty-five travellers rode in this twin-turbine design and style at a cruising speed of 140 mph,” in accordance to Len Morgan in “Airliners of the Environment” (Arco Publishing Company, 1966, p. 90). “New York Airways took you from Kennedy Global to the foot of Wall Street in 16 minutes or to the best of the Pan Am Making in seven. Possibly excursion demanded a frantic hour and a quarter by vehicle during hurry hrs.”

New York Airways was able to function at half-hour intervals and its annual passenger totals mirrored the popularity of its choices-8,758 in its first year of operation and far more than 250,000 in its tenth.

Whilst rotary-wing operations offered a lot of rewards, which includes a number of every day frequencies very low-potential, easy-to-fill cabins brief aerial hops unparalleled sights and the capacity to alight on any postage-stamp sized patch, whether or not paved or not, they also had their down sides. They had superior working expenses, manufactured substantial sound, showcased motor and mechanical complexity, operated inside of very populated city regions in which basic safety was of paramount worry, necessary subsidies for profitability, and, at minimum originally, ended up dependent on weather conditions and visible meteorological conditions.

Progressively diminished subsidies necessitated support discontinuations, which include people to the West 30th Avenue Heliport and Bridgeport, Connecticut. On April 11, 1965, they had been entirely removed, impacting not only New York Airways, but the other equivalent rotary-wing concerns in Chicago and Los Angeles.

A financial lifeline was forged by Pan American World Airways, which bought two further V-107-IIs for $850,000 each and every and then leased them to New York Airways for procedure to the 1964 World’s Honest in Flushing Meadows.

Sikorsky, by means of its Untied Aircraft Corporation guardian, did the very same with 3 S-61s. Powered by the similar Basic Electric T58-8 motor, but showcasing a distinct configuration, a shorter fuselage, and a bigger, 62-foot rotor diameter, it was the V-107-II’s competitor, but it was if not similar with a 25-passenger ability and an 18,700-pound gross weight. It was inaugurated into services on December 21, 1965.

Bypassing all surface site visitors and lowering travel time to a mere 7 minutes, Boeing-Vertol V-107-II and Sikorsky S-61 services amongst the Pan Am rooftop heliport and JFK enabled passengers to check out-in for their preset-wing flights in the Pan Am Creating 45 minutes just before they were scheduled to depart. Seventeen everyday roundtrips offered supreme benefit. Fares were $7.00 a single-way and $10.00 roundtrip.

Simply because the support fulfilled the CAB’s “general public convenience and necessity” clause, the two Pan Am and TWA had been able to make stockholding investments in New York Airways, the previous to the tune of 24.4 per cent and the latter at 15.6 per cent.

The Sikorsky S-61s sported TWA’s emblem on their aft fuselage sides.

Apart from the airline’s economic fatalities, there were also human kinds, developing dark clouds of doubt on rotary-wing technological know-how for scheduled industrial functions.

On May possibly 18, 1977, for instance, a New York Airways S-61L keeled more than for the duration of boarding on top of the Pan Am heliport, taking the lives of 5 with it when it did, which includes that of a person going for walks on Madison Avenue down below where by the unleashed rotor blade hit him.

Two yrs later on, in April of 1979, a few have been killed when a rotor blade snapped off of yet another S-61 at Newark Intercontinental Airport.

Metal exhaustion and failure experienced triggered the proper landing gear to collapse in the initial incident and the tail rotor to split off in the 2nd.

Forced to stop functions, New York Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy safety and, though different tactics have been devised to resurrect it, none proved fruitful.

New York Airways’ 18-yr, 4-sort, scheduled mail and passenger, inter-airport and neighboring-point out rotary-wing functions were practical and preferred and defined a new market and objective for the structure. But people then in existence were loud, sophisticated, gasoline-thirsty, and finally flawed, and not automatically of adequate progression for safe, rewarding, higher-frequency, day by day functions, leaving later carriers, these as New York Helicopter, to fill the hole in the New York airport spot and many other folks in the course of the world. Although technological innovation experienced intermittently enhanced and was a single measure of the type’s achievement, its functioning expenditures and profitability constituted its other people.

“Immediately after twelve several years of passenger operations, as a result, the Helicopter carriers (together with New York Airways, Chicago Helicopter Airways, Los Angeles Airways, and San Francisco and Oakland Airways) experienced been provided a great prospect to verify the efficiency of rotor-driven plane, but had unsuccessful to make their case,” Davies concludes (op. cit. p. 479).

Posting Resources:

Davies, R.E.G. “Airways of the United States Considering the fact that 1914.” Washington: Smithsonian Institution Push, 1998.

Morgan, Len. “Airliners of the World.” New York: Arco Publishing Corporation, Inc., 1966.

Anette Rentie

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