New York’s Senators Call for Probe of FAA Approval of Doors-Off Flights

March 20, 2018

New York’s senators are calling for a probe into how “doors-off” helicopter sightseeing flights and the tight harness systems were ever approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in the first place.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand made the demand in a joint letter to the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General on Sunday.

They say “clearly something went remarkable wrong” with the FAA’s approval process that allowed helicopters that fly with doors open, often so passengers can take pictures, and use harnesses that can’t be quickly released.

On Friday, the FAA temporarily grounded open door flights and the use of tight seat restraints.

The ban came amid concerns such harnesses prevented passengers from escaping when their helicopter plunged into the East River last Sunday, killing five people.

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