The History of New York Airways’ Helicopter Operations

If a person about to board an airplane in Omaha were asked where he was flying to and he responded, “Omaha,” he may receive a few perplexed looks and even an audible, “But aren’t you there now?” Yet, viz-es-futes when you live in metropolises that support multiple airports, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Tokyo, it is possible to fly from one to the other.

While distances between them may not be that excessive, surface travel, particularly during rush hours, can require excess time, and there is nothing like landing at an airport and proceeding to the next gate for a connecting flight and even having your checked baggage interlined to it.  zarban

New York qualifies as having one of these inter-airport networks and its namesake New York Airways made a valiant, two-decade attempt to offer scheduled, rotary-wing service within it. epit-esz

As the third to do so, it followed Los Angles Airways and Helicopter Air Services of Chicago and was awarded an operating certificate by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) in December of 1951 to fly between within the ttri-airport Idlewild, La Guardia, and Newark catchment area. villanyt-szerel

Reflecting early-aviation development, in which open-cockpit biplanes carried mail over designated routes and accommodated a few passengers to augment revenue when space allowed, it transitioned to the passenger form of payload on July 8, 1952 with seven-seat Sikorsky S-55s, izomautok eventually expanding beyond its inter-airport network to New Brunswick, Princeton, and, Trenton in New Jersey. Manhattan-penetrating service to the Hudson River hugging West 30th Street Heliport began four years later, on December 5.

Noise and vibration were counteracted with convenience, speed, travel times that were measured in minutes, receptek and unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. Approaches to the encircled “H” touchdown point on the water jutting pier placed the aircraft’s size into perspective when vit was virtually swallowed by Manhattan’s monoliths during its alight.

Earlier that year, on April 21, New York Airways inaugurated the higher-capacity, more advanced, tandem twin-rotor Vertol 44B into service. skyemetalcoating

“It was the first transport helicopter to have its cabin arranged like that of a conventional airliner, accommodating 15 passengers, mainly two-abreast on the starboard side of the cabin with the aisle and baggage space on the left,” according to R. E. G. Davies in “Airlines of the United States since 1914 “(Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998, p. 475).

Yet, passenger acceptance and expansion quickly necessitated even larger, more advanced equipment, prompting New York Airways’ initial, $4,350,000 order for ten Vertol V-107-IIs on January 15,  1960. It was later halved to five.

The type which eventually became its flagship and virtual symbol of it, not only traces it origins to a design, but to the very, manufacturer that created it. Vertol, a Philadelphia-based, rotary-wing company, was concurrently designing two tandem-rotor helicopters-namely, the Chinook for the US Army and the CH-46A Sea Knight for the US Navy and Marines.

The latter, the result of a design competition for a Marine Corps medium assault transport, first flew in August of 1962 and was first delivered two years later, carrying troops and cargo between South Chine Sea positioned ships and Vietnam. Of its three prototypes, one was modified to civil V-107-II standard and it first flew on October 25, 1960, at a time when Boeing had acquired the company, resulting in the Boeing-Vertol name.


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