FAA Bans Doors-Off Helicopter Tours After 5 Die In Tragic NYC Crash

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Earlier this week, 5 passengers died on a doors-off helicopter tour of New York City. They didn’t die from the crash landing in the Hudson though, they died from drowning because they couldn’t free themselves from the harnesses used on doors-off tours. Only the pilot survived, the rest of the passengers had to be cut out of their harnesses by emergency responders. It’s the stuff that nightmares are made of.

DDF member “Something Fishy” is currently hanging out with the polar bears and a dozen DansDeals readers and DDF members. He flew with the same tour company, NYOnair, on a doors-off helicopter ride last year:



He said that he had the time of his life, but confirmed that they never once explained where the knife was located that could be used to escape from the harness in case of an emergency.

I’ve gone on breathtaking helicopter tours in Kauai and Iguaçu Falls, though never with the doors off:



I always regretted not choosing a helicopter with the doors off as the pictures come out much nicer. I almost went to the Big Island to go on a doors-off volcano tour on my recent trip to Hawaii, but bailed because the tours were already fully booked. I no longer regret missing out after this week’s accident though.

The FAA acted quickly and has now banned doors-off tours until they have harnesses that can be released quickly in case of emergency. It’s a shame that a common sense regulation didn’t exist until now, but I’m glad to see one implemented so quickly.

Have you been on a doors-off helicopter tour?

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16 Comments On "FAA Bans Doors-Off Helicopter Tours After 5 Die In Tragic NYC Crash"

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Not entirely accurate..

The FAA will order operators and pilots to take immediate actions to control or mitigate this risk,” the agency said in a statement. “Until then, the FAA will order no more “doors off” operations that involve restraints **that cannot be released quickly in an emergency.**


I went to The Big Island in January and did a doors off with Paradise. The beginning was cool but honestly it wore off. We also didn’t see any Lava and did not think it was worth the expense. We were definitely harnessed in snuggly and I didn’t even think about the “In case of emergency”. They did show a video before and someone spoke before it but I can’t recall if they mentioned emergencies.


I did a doors off helicopter tour in Kauai. One of the most memorable helicopter tours in my life. Amazing views and the pictures came out great with no glare. I’m really glad we opted to do the doors-off tour and have absolutely no regrets. Would do it again if it were allowed.


Did several doors off (and doors on) flights with Paradise Helicopters on the Big Island and each flight was awesome. My son was 8 months old when we took him on a doors off flight. Never had an issue with the harness and I was able to remove it myself each time when the flight was over. Likewise, we did a doors off flight on Kauai and never had an issue.


I took a open door tour in Kauai this past Wednesday. The seatbelts were no different than a regular car with a restraint. (you know when you pull the belt all the way and it tightens unless you let it back). I was actually nervous it could get easily opened without realizing and someone could fall out.


5 people die from a doors off accident, and they are banned within a week. 17 kids die in a school shooting and nothing.


This is such a stupid argument in so many ways. The “action” that caused this helicopter tragedy was previously 100% legal so they instituted a ban on these restraints to prevent them from happening again.

With regards to the school shooting, the action was already “illegal and banned” it is already illegal to bring firearms inside a school (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong on this one) and it is definitely 100% illegal to shoot and kill people. In this case there is no new laws needed to be created just proper enforcement of the already existing laws…


Conveniently left out the legally purchased assault rifle.


Banning items will not prevent people from doing what they want to do. It will just create an underground that will supply more dangerous items to dangerous people. Look what prohibition did for the consumption of alcohol. The definition of an assault rifle today is so wide that it probably includes half of all firearms manufactured. The problem isn’t the guns, the problem is parents, educators, flexible morals, and failure of society to identify compromised individuals for fear of political correctness. HSS is right on point.





Yitz Weiss

Any recommendations for what a frum, married woman can wear on her head while in a doors-off heli tour? The instructions we just got for our tour tomorrow says no hats allowed. Wondering if a sheitel can work. Any ideas/advice?