This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Four weeks after a deadly helicopter crash in NYC that’s led to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ban of doors-off helicopter flights, shocking details have emerged from internal company emails about the safety of these flights.

According to a detailed NYTimes report, helicopter pilots repeatedly expressed concerns about the safety of harnesses used by passengers in these doors-off FlyNYON flights. However, executives at the company dismissed concerns about the very harnesses that would end up trapping the passengers in their seats.

In one particularly ominous email, FlyNYON CEO Patrick Day is quoted as saying, “Let me be clear, this isn’t a safety issue with the harnesses.”

Details shared in the report show that — despite FlyNYON claiming to have a “proprietary 8 Point Safety Harness System (SHS)” — the harnesses were actually just off-the-shelf construction harnesses available at Home Depot for $52.

In the safety video shown before the flight, passengers are instructed on how to use the provided hook-shaped blades to cut the tethers and free themselves in case of an emergency. In the video, the blade is able to easily cut through the tether. However, the tethers in the video weren’t the same as the ones installed on the helicopter. Internal testing of the cutters showed that it was “extremely difficult to sever the tether using the cutter.”

In response to the pilots’ demands, FlyNYON had started to install new “blue harnesses” in some helicopters. Where the yellow harnesses were standard construction harnesses, the blue harnesses were approved by the FAA for some flights — although not specifically for open-door helicopter flights.

Instagram video posted by the passengers before the flight showed that the harnesses in the accident aircraft were the older construction harnesses.

The pilots who’d raised internal concerns about the safety of these harnesses are “seeking whistle-blower protections in order to speak out.” The pilots are afraid of being blackballed in the industry for speaking truthfully to the FAA and NSTB.

Indeed, FlyNYON’s CEO is already going after these pilots in response to the NYTimes’ request for comment, saying that the pilots “should have ceased operations and addressed the issue with Liberty management” if they had safety concerns.

Featured image by Boston Globe / Getty Images

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.