Officials say the pilot who died when his helicopter slammed into the roof of a New York City skyscraper wasn't authorized to fly in limited visibility.

The Federal Aviation Administration says Tim McCormack was only certified to fly under regulations known as visual flight rules, which require generally good weather and clear conditions.

An air safety investigator said Tuesday that an earlier passenger in the helicopter said nothing seemed out of the ordinary during the previous flight.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy says the short flight had taken the passenger from Westchester County to a Manhattan heliport. Then the pilot left by himself on a planned flight to Linden, New Jersey, after waiting and reviewing the weather. He crashed shortly after during a rainstorm.

The former fire chief in upstate Clinton, New York, was an experienced pilot.

The crash shook the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee.

The helicopter was flying in a driving downpour with low cloud cover and in tightly controlled airspace.

A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet (914 meters) within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the crash site.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Authorities say the helicopter that struck a New York City skyscraper took off from a Manhattan helipad and was in the air for about 11 minutes before it crashed.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Monday that the privately owned aircraft took off from a pad on the East River.

He says it may have been headed to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey. The helicopter struck the 750-foot-tall AXA Equitable building just before 1:45 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it isn't clear why the helicopter went down.

The Agusta A109E was flying in rain and heavy clouds. From the river, it veered into Manhattan airspace that is supposed to be off limits for security reasons.

The pilot was killed. Officials didn't immediately release his name.

O'Neill said the aircraft was used for executive travel.

While speaking to reporters at the White House, President Trump said, "I spoke with Governor Cuomo and about the helicopter accident in New York. We have a lot of great folks over there working very closely with New York City New York State. And it's a big tragedy that (we) will be reporting a little while as to what happened and why it happened. But a very, very sad event. The pilot was killed as you know. But we'll have a full report on that soon. But the federal people are working with the city and state people and they'll have a full report very soon. Thank you very much." 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says several buildings were evacuated. “The preliminary information is that there was a helicopter that made a forced landing, emergency landing or landed on the roof of the building.” 

“If you’re a New Yorker you have a level of PTSD from 9/11 and I remember that morning all too well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes,” Cuomo said.

New York City has a history of both minor and major helicopter wrecks and crash landings.

Last month, a helicopter crash landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport. The pilot escaped mostly unscathed.

Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River last year. Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Nine people died in a collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane in 2009, not far from the scene of Monday's mishap.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)