Timothy McCormack did not have the required certificate that would have allowed him to legally fly in poor visibility conditions and rely on instruments.
The pilot who died when his helicopter crash-landed on top of a New York City skyscraper was not licensed to fly in foul weather, the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.
Timothy McCormack did not have the required certificate that would have allowed him to legally fly when the visibility was less than 3 miles and where he could use the instruments on his chopper to guide him through the gloom and rain that enveloped Manhattan on Monday, an FAA spokeswoman said.
The development came as National Transportation Safety Board investigators were trying to pinpoint what caused the deadly helicopter crash in Midtown Manhattan.
“Should the helicopter have been flying, I don’t know yet,” NTSB Air Safety Investigator Doug Brazy said at a press conference.
Brazy said they have questioned the passenger McCormack flew from Westchester County to Manhattan a few hours before the crash who told them it was an uneventful flight. He said McCormack was not in touch with air traffic controllers and that they are still trying to confirm reports the pilot made a radio call before the chopper went down on the rooftop of the building, which did not have a heliport.
McCormack was a veteran pilot but he was not “instrument rated,” said the spokeswoman, who declined to comment further and directed inquiries to the NTSB, which is expected to provide an update later Tuesday.
Al Yurman, a former air safety investigator with the board, said in an interview that federal regulators require all pilots to be instrument-rated when flying during the kind of bad weather that descended on New York City on Monday.
They must file a flight plan with air traffic controllers, he said, and they must know how to use a slate of instruments that can tell them what direction the aircraft is flying, for instance, or whether its wings and nose are level.
Without those instruments, flying in heavy clouds can cause “spatial disorientation,” Yurman said.
“It’s like putting a blindfold on,” he said. “Turn yourself around three times and see if you know where you are.”
The cloud ceiling at the time of the crash was 600 feet — or roughly the height of a 55 or 60-story building. The roof of the building on 7th Avenue that McCormack barreled into was 54 stories, fire officials said.
A lawyer for the company the helicopter is registered to, American Continental Properties, did not respond to requests for comment.
Paul Dudley, manager of the airport where McCormack was apparently returning to, in Linden, New Jersey, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday about the certification question.
But on Monday, Dudley described McCormack as an experienced and competent pilot — someone who was likely “overwhelmed” by the weather or a mechanical issue.
A review of FAA records shows that McCormack was a certified instructor and commercial pilot. The records also indicate that in October 2014, the helicopter he was piloting on a sightseeing tour was struck by a bird, causing minor scratches to a passenger.
McCormack landed the chopper “uneventfully” at a Manhattan heliport, according to the FAA record.
His brother, Michael McCormack, said that he likely “saved many lives” by putting his chopper “on the roof of a building.”
“It is a true act of heroism,” he said.
But the FAA said air traffic controllers “did not handle” McCormack’s flight — another sign that he may not have been following instrument flight rules, Yurman said.
“You have to be in radio contact with air traffic controllers,” he said.
City officials added that the section of Manhattan where McCormack crashed was under a “temporary flight restriction.”
“To go into that area a helicopter would need the approval of La Guardia tower,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Monday. “And we need to find out whether that happened or not. We do not know at this point.”
The crash led Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to renew a call for banning nonessential helicopters from flying over Manhattan.
In a statement, Maloney recalled other accidents in the city — including a tour flight that crashed into the East River last March, killing five passengers — and said the city could no longer “rely on good fortune to protect people on the ground.”
Barbara Kaiser, an aviation expert with the training and safety firm Rotor World, said that a ban on nonemergency air traffic was a good way to keep pilots without proper training from causing “collateral damage.”
“It could have been a thousand times worse,” she said.
New York GOP chairman Ed Cox and incoming chairman Nick Langworthy offered their condolences to the McCormack family.
“We were deeply saddened to learn the pilot who was killed in yesterday’s horrific helicopter crash,Tim McCormack, was the brother to our beloved Dutchess County Republican Chairman Mike McCormack. Tim’s life was cut way too short, but it’s clear he lived his last moments just as he did every day, committed to protecting others,” they said in a statement.
80 Million Stimulus Check Direct Deposits Have Been Processed. When Will They Arrive?
Americans will start to see their stimulus payments this week, a centerpiece of the $2.2 trillion rescue package meant to provide a buffer against the coronavirus pandemic that’s shuttered much of the U.S. economy.
The Internal Revenue Service has begun sending $1,200 payments to middle and lower income adults, plus $500 for their minor children, though it could take until September for every eligible person to get the money.
The first payments “should be deposited directly into individuals’ bank accounts; the precise date you will see payments in your account depends on how long individual banks typically take to process direct deposits,” according to a press release from House Ways and Means Committee Republicans.
The IRS will first send the money to individuals for whom the agency has direct deposit information. The remainder will be mailed as checks. That process is expected to begin April 20 but could take until the fall to complete.
The IRS processed more than 80 million payments on Friday that should be available in bank accounts early this week, Sunita Lough, the IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, said in a video conference Monday.
Payments will be made first to those earning the least.
The IRS has launched a tool for non-tax filers, such as those who had income under $12,200 last year and weren’t required to file a federal return, to enter direct deposit information to get their payments.
The agency plans to have a second website up by April 17 that will show people the status of their payments, including the date the money is scheduled to be deposited or mailed. That tool will also let people who’ve typically gotten their tax refund in the mail to provide their bank account details to get their stimulus payment more quickly.
The IRS is using information from 2018 and 2019 tax returns to process the payments. It says taxpayers who’ve yet to file a return this year should do so as soon as possible, and elect to receive the refund via a direct deposit. The information can then be used to distribute the stimulus payments. Social Security and disability recipients will receive their payments automatically.
The tax deadline was extended to July 15 from April 15 to give people more time to file and pay during the pandemic.
Taxpayers who don’t need extra time and who expect to get a stimulus payment should file as soon as possible so the agency has their most up-to-date details on file, said Christina Taylor, head of operations for Credit Karma Tax.
“The quicker, the better,” she said.
Americans earning $75,000 or less, or $150,000 and below as a couple, are eligible for the full $1,200 payout per adult, plus $500 for each child under 17. Those amounts are reduced for people with higher incomes, and people who make $99,000 or more in earnings (or $198,000 for a couple) get nothing, even if they have children. Individuals must have a Social Security number to receive a payment.
A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry.
A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming…
A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming.
Hantaviruses are a family of virus that spread through rodents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Yunnan Province, a man died on his way back to Shandong Province, according to Global Times, an English-language Chinese news outlet.
“He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the news outlet tweeted.
The tweet, sent amid a pandemic caused by a new coronavirus, has been shared more than 15,000 times.
Though countries across the globe are on high alert due to uncertainty around the coronavirus, there is no indication that the hantavirus poses a global public health threat.
According to the CDC, hantavirus cases are rare, and they spread as a result of close contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.
Certain kinds of rats and mice in the United States can carry the virus, which is transmitted when someone breathes in contaminated air.
“The hantaviruses that cause human illness in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another,” the CDC says on its website. Rare cases in Chile and Argentina have seen person-to-person transmission when a person is in close contact with someone sickened by a type of hantavirus called Andes virus, the CDC says.
In the U.S., the virus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems. Coughing and shortness of breath can occur later in the disease as the lungs fill with liquid, the CDC says,
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, found mostly in Europe and Asia, can also occur, which causes pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision, the CDC says. More serious symptoms include acute kidney failure.
Cases in the United States have typically been concentrated in the western and southwestern states.
From 1993 to 2017, there were only 728 confirmed hantavirus cases in the United States, with most being non-fatal, according to CDC data. In comparison, since late January, when the first known coronavirus case was identified in the U.S., there have been 46,805 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.
In May 1993, a hantavirus outbreak occurred in an area between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. A 2012 outbreak in Yosemite sickened 10 people. In seven states, 17 people were infected in a 2017 outbreak.
Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home
A former police officer who argued she had a right to use lethal force when she killed an innocent man after mistakenly entering his apartment has been convicted of murder.
Amber Guyger faces a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found her guilty of the murder of Botham Jean in Dallas on 6 September last year – a verdict Jean family attorneys hailed as a significant moment in the battle to hold police accountable.
Guyger is white. Jean was black.
Standing in a packed hallway outside the courtroom in Dallas, attorney Lee Merritt told reporters the ruling was “a huge victory not only for the family of Botham Jean, but as his mother, Allison, told us a moment ago, this is a victory for black people in America”.
He said: “It is a signal that the tide is going to change here, [that] police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions.”
Merritt said the community should not have had to wait “on pins and needles” for the conviction of someone who killed a man who was “completely non-aggressive, sitting at home eating a bowl of ice cream and someone barged into his home and shot him to death.”
He added: “This should have been automatic, anticipated, expected, but it is extremely rare. From this day forward we are pushing so that it’s not rare.”
The jury began deliberating on Monday afternoon and reached a verdict on Tuesday morning, with sentencing to follow. Guyger pleaded not guilty. In Texas, murder usually carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison but judge Tammy Kemp had allowed the jury to consider convicting the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Jurors, however, decided that Guyger had committed murder.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Jean family, told NBC local news, said: “Thank God, finally America saw the humanity of an unarmed black man who was killed in an unjustifiable way and they returned a verdict that is befitting the criminal, cowardly act of this woman, killing Botham Jean in his own apartment.”
Crump added in a press conference: “This is a precedent now that will go forth across America for equal justice for everybody.”
He said the incident underscores the need for better police training and that the verdict was for “so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America” who died in interactions with police.
Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, had settled down on his couch to watch television and eat some vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his home. She claimed she mistakenly believed it was hers and thought he was an intruder.
Kemp controversially allowed the jury to consider whether Guyger’s conduct could be justified under Texas’s so-called “castle doctrine”. Expanded in 2007, it is comparable to “stand your ground” laws in other states and allows a civilian to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes … [it] is immediately necessary” in certain circumstances, such as during a burglary.
Though Jean was on his own property and Guyger the intruder, seemingly inverting the intent of the law, her attorneys argued she made a “mistake of fact” when she went to the wrong home, making her subsequent conduct reasonable. They said she was tired after a long day and many other residents had found themselves at the wrong unit in the past because signage was unclear and floors looked similar.
“She made a series of horrible mistakes,” Toby Shook, one of her attorneys, said. “The law recognises that mistakes can be made.”
Prosecutors said it was “absurd” to believe the 31-year-old’s “commando-style” behaviour was reasonable, especially given her training as a police officer and status as a more than four-year veteran of the department.
They noted that Guyger failed to retreat and call for back-up, questioned the veracity of her claim to have given Jean verbal commands before firing, and pointed out that after calling 911 she appeared to provide only limited medical assistance as Jean, who was from St Lucia, lay dying from a chest wound.
Rather than feeling tired, prosecutors alleged, she was distracted because she had been “sexting” a colleague. Jean had a bright red mat in front of his door that ought to have been impossible to miss.
Guyger – who was fired by Dallas police – wept while testifying.
“I was scared this person inside my apartment was going to kill me,” she said. “I ask God for forgiveness and I hate myself every single day. I feel like a piece of crap.”
In closing statements, Jason Fine, a prosecutor, called most of her testimony “garbage”. Fine said Jean did not act in a threatening manner, but started to stand up “like a normal reasonable person who has somebody busting into his home, and before he can even get up he is shot dead in his own home.
“Killing this man was unnecessary and unreasonable from start to finish.”
Special security measures were put in place during the trial. Jean’s death sparked protests and demands for justice from activists who cited it as one of a long line of racially charged shootings by a police department that lacks accountability. Though she was off duty, Guyger was still in uniform and used her service weapon when she encountered Jean.
Critics of the department have also claimed Guyger was given preferential treatment. It emerged during the trial that the head of the Dallas Police Association told another officer to shut off an audio-visual recording system inside a patrol car so that he could have a private conversation with Guyger soon after the shooting.
She still faces a civil lawsuit brought by Jean’s family.
- USA5 years ago
Search for Gunman Puts Community College of Philadelphia on Lockdown
- USA5 years ago
Hacktivist Group Anonymous Publishes Names of Alleged Ku Klux Klan Members
- Breaking News4 years ago
Developments in Presidential Race, Trump does Terribly at Forum as Clinton shines
- ENTERTAINMENT4 years ago
Usher’s Naked Selfie Exposes Too Much Despite Attempt to Censor Image
- Trending4 years ago
British Woman Shares Image of Herself Before and After Panic Attack
- News11 months ago
‘Only Survivor’ Reveals Truth of Fatal Accident in 1994 Linked to Ricardo Rossello
- News11 months ago
VIDEO Pregnant Woman Fights in Parking Lot, Before Getting Hit and Run Over by SUV
- ENTERTAINMENT3 years ago
Marxism in Black Mirror, Social Media Reigns