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The Death and Life of Helicopter Commuting

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Fifty years ago, a helicopter company called New York Airways whisked passengers from the rooftop of the iconic Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan to any city airport in just 10 minutes. A fatal accident in 1977 brought that era to an end. 40 years later, E-VTOL technology could open a new chapter in short-distance airborne commuting. Video by Raymond Schillinger Camera: Brian Schildhorn Animation / Graphics: Sylvia Yang and Chiachi Lee Sound Design: Andrew Hylnsky News Footage provided by NBCUniversal Archives. All Rights Reserved. ---------- Like this video? Subscribe to Bloomberg on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/Bloomberg?sub_confirmation=1 Bloomberg is the First Word in business news, delivering breaking news & analysis, up-to-the-minute market data, features, profiles and more: http://www.bloomberg.com Connect with us on... Twitter: https://twitter.com/business Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bloombergbusiness Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bloombergbusiness/
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Text Comments (726)
okrajoe (5 days ago)
That must have been sweet, $5 fare to the airport.
Darsh Is here (5 days ago)
All helicopters should have built in parachutes. Engine fails then at least you have a soft landing.
welp just got goosebumps, I'm watching this video on May 16th. Nice coincidence lol
AlissonSv2 (10 days ago)
American really don't have limits for wasting energy.
Zach Michaelis (10 days ago)
something amazingly helpful stopped because a couple insignificant lifes were lost
MakerInMotion (11 days ago)
I don't know how they had so many helicopters running when I've always heard that helicopters need like 10 hours of maintenance for every 1 hour in the air. They basically need to be rebuilt every time they land.
John K Lindgren (12 days ago)
Dj Dumapat (13 days ago)
Just go to Pinochet's Free Helicopter Rides, he'll fly you to a one way ride
brockelever (13 days ago)
I remember taking a helicopter in NYC and landing on the Pan Am building when I was 5 years old. Very exciting and scary. At the time this was a very common way to commute to the airport.
There is a huge movement, today, involving many companies, and spurred by Uber, to revive such services with more modern technology. But as this video shows, it takes very little to set people against it.
Tyler513 (14 days ago)
Really impressed with both the quality of the video and the information contained in it. Subscribed.
Barry A. (15 days ago)
An assistance vice provost of a shall-go-nameless top university applied for helicopter rides to work. It was denied, but they still got free housing and free $100 dinners every night.
Brandon Clarke (15 days ago)
Paid content or Nah?
Brandon Clarke (15 days ago)
RIP Michael O'Neill.
curiosityuniversal (1 month ago)
"A helicopter killed four people." Unbelievable how propaganda works. Yeah the monster helicopter murdered four people and shredded their bodies before eating them. Fearmongering...
adamgh0 (1 month ago)
6:43 You can say that again....and again and again and again.......
Doug sillig (1 month ago)
I would like to see more about EV toll technology
*Sponsored by Blade©.*
Navy Flightgamer (1 month ago)
Looks like gta 5
Richard Smout (1 month ago)
The cartoon at the end won't happen
chistine lane (1 month ago)
wow, one accident with 5 deaths. we might as well get rid of planes
lseul (1 month ago)
I would pay to fly trump air
tessamersus (1 month ago)
Loves the 1960s tune playing in the background at the first. lol
K. R. V. (1 month ago)
This bring to mind the way rich folk could secretly get around among themselves, where the rest of us could only dream of having the luxury, back in Manhattan back at the turn of the last century. There were private trains that ran in tunnels connected to a few of the most expensive and opulent hotels. That were only used a short time, I believe they were built by Vandenberg or some other mega rich guy from that era. The remnants are all still there in all their aged faded glory. But have been closed off to most, only viewed by city underground workers.
Eric Diaz (1 month ago)
What is the genre of the type of music used during 1:39 ?
Theprfesssor (1 month ago)
Got to love humans A couple accidents completely kills a industry Meanwhile cars will kill 3000 pepole today, tommorow, the day after that, then after that,and after that, like clockwork You only hear about certain things when they fail Like Trains, planes, nuclear power, even though they work as intended 95% of the time o humans
ahburs87 (1 month ago)
Kind of just looks like human sized drone airplanes
Van Graff (1 month ago)
LOL if you miss Helicopter Commuting go to Brazil
Christian Jensen (1 month ago)
Excellent analysis, I trust your superiors compensate you substantially for a job well done.
dc2008242 (1 month ago)
but what about airships? I want those back for modern transportation
turbofan450 (1 month ago)
I know people will think me insensitive but sucks that such a viable industry died because of one accident. This is earth. Planes crash. People die. Tragedies happen. Show must go on. Make it safer through technology and better regulation. As I understand a landing gear collapsed. That shouldn't have happened. Maintenance should have caught it. Point is, keep on moving and don't let tragedy stop you.
Ars 1 (1 month ago)
How much was 5 dollars back in 1977 also living back then was the real American dream
Nuka Gaming (1 month ago)
$5 was a lot back then though
It was certainly considerably more than $5 today! Accounting for inflation and cost of living increases $5 in 1977 had the same buying power as $21 in 2018.
juanchoja (1 month ago)
Drones or no drones, if it has at least one moving part, there will always be a chance of an accident. Sure, you can bring the safety numbers to 99.9%. but that 0.1% or even a fraction of that, say 0.01%, means that for every 10.000 trips there could be an accident. make it 99% safe, means that 1 out of 100 trips would have some sort of a problem. We can't guarantee a perfect product, and the risks of flying vehicles hoovering in highly populated areas makes it very risky. Mathematically speaking, you can't escape that fact that something will happen, and again, and again.
Paelorian (1 month ago)
So if they just stopped the blade spinning when they weren't flying like they should have there never would have been an accident. How much more would that have cost them in added wear and tear, a relative drop in the bucket? Instead they compromised safety, killed passengers and innocent bystanders, and destroyed their company and industry. At least we know to demand they don't make the same mistake in the future.
Johnny Boy Glasgow (1 month ago)
Paelorian And innocent people died because of them
David Thomas (1 month ago)
For five dollars I'd have been taking helicopter rides for fun on a daily basis.
Orella Minx (1 month ago)
2:43 Gotta love Nam vets, they always giggle at the memories of meeting death and just shaking his hand.
KutWrite (1 month ago)
NIcely done. Aside from the story itself, I really liked the music.
udaysaleen (1 month ago)
i knew before watching that it was maintenance issue
LushForests (1 month ago)
2:42 .... Epic
MrKelra (1 month ago)
Well by this criteria, not a single transportation system coukd be allowed in the US. Im sure, exept of planes and elevators, no other vehicle has a lower death-rate than a helicopter^^
Sharon B (1 month ago)
If Blade doesnt even own their own planes, it will be the same safety issues of the 60s but even worse cause they can just pass the blame.
really dude (1 month ago)
They didn't wanna pay the maintenance costs? They're in New York making so much money and they just couldn't do it
Diane Fitzpatrick (1 month ago)
Noise pollution...can't stand the sounds of blades.
LegitDaddy (1 month ago)
how much is that 5$ adjusted for inflation?
Jebi Se (1 month ago)
500 000 passengers per year and only 5 dead in all that time? pretty safe to do.
Mister K (1 month ago)
7:06 what genre? Sounds like swing but fast paced?
garrett21 (1 month ago)
Interesting. Almost every movie has some guy landing in a helicopter on top of a building
Emilio Javier (1 month ago)
A New Age of Fatal, Tragic Air Traffic Accidents., NAFTATA. And you won't need to worry about Jihadist hijackers because ordinary citizens can crash into buildings and crash land into the street below.
Calvin Sanders (1 month ago)
Drones: The future is now, old man.
Agni Dev (1 month ago)
Commercial for blade?
matthewnb (1 month ago)
The 29 year old lady who was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the accident would have lived to be 70 this year if it wasn't for the rogue falling blade. You never know when you could go. RIP.
Vlad (2 months ago)
@6:49 takes a Trump to try a failed idea and make it even worse
Collateralcoffee (2 months ago)
excellent video!!!!
Mrjmaxted0291 (2 months ago)
Airlifts around new york city for $5? How far we've fallen.
MrRideutah (2 months ago)
That man in the red was not a passenger
JunkVideos (2 months ago)
Is this why a bunch of high towers have heli-pads on the roof?
Mark Marsh (2 months ago)
Marc Maron said it best after a terrifying ride in one:. ... "Helicopters are dicey machines." ... I would NEVER get in one of those hairbrained contraptions.
Ryan M. (2 months ago)
No security No scanners No tsa The glorious days before multiculturalism
Robert Lewis (6 days ago)
Sky Barren yes
NAchOLIbReee_ (11 days ago)
You do realise that there was not a single day in the history of the USA without multiculturalism? The US is literally built upon multiculturalism
ganymedeIV4 (1 month ago)
I've gotten so much shit through TSA we're not supposed to have, it's concerning.
trinichick76 (2 months ago)
How is it that São Paolo does it with little problems?
trinichick76 (2 months ago)
MrRoniGaming (2 months ago)
This was very well done, good job bloomberg
algorithm (2 months ago)
6:35 The red helicopter is N350LH, that helicopter crashed into the East River on a photography flight, March 12, 2018, killing 5.
SilkSatin Paradise (2 months ago)
That's incredible.
TheSpacemannspiff (2 months ago)
Sad what happened to PAN AM they owned NY Airways it was one of the first but many blows to the company that would result in bankruptcy and it's eventual going out of business.
The Fibler (2 months ago)
There is a scene in Scarface where Tony is on the phone while waiting at a Heliport in NYC.
sih1688 (2 months ago)
English is not my first language,  but coming from a world top-notch English new mdia I thought the title should be "The Life and Death of Helicopter Commuting".   What you think?
Zander Thurston (2 months ago)
7:16 this this the helicopter that crashed into the river in March
AlphaPilotGuy (2 months ago)
I think so. If not, it looks identical.
ilikeceral3 (2 months ago)
Give me the airships bitches
CptMikeTango (2 months ago)
This wasn't even a crash
code988 (2 months ago)
There’s a helipad near where I live in California
Nicholas Littlejohn (2 months ago)
reverse thrust (3 months ago)
So where did they scrape up the jet set chicks?
Tina Laugel (3 months ago)
amazing doc
whatroads4x4 (3 months ago)
Madara Uchiwa (3 months ago)
*Hmmm( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)....did you know we are just watching a long Ad......* *Youtube....you need to suck a dick ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)!!!*
Ian Thompson (3 months ago)
Very interesting!!!! Never really knew about this!
John D (4 months ago)
The notion of a helicopter airline was the most striking thing about Coogan's Bluff for me.
jamie heiney (4 months ago)
Not forever ...
walter riely (4 months ago)
EP heli's for this task will be a loooooong way off ! Won't see it an my lifetime!
hillberg100 (4 months ago)
Aguiar Ed (4 months ago)
And you forgot to mention that the Pan-Am Helicopter landing pad was also featured in Disney’s Rescuers
João de Carvalho (5 months ago)
Airships also suffer from tragedy trauma. Even today they still use helium instead of hydrogen. I hate noise, so I am more sympathetic to lighter than air transportation than helicopters.
TheTech660 (5 months ago)
Like all your Videos. Very well put together. You got a Sub!
SevenDeMagnus (5 months ago)
Hi. Life is short. You never know what's gonna happen in a day (the woman just walking home didn't know it was gonna' be her last moment). God bless, Proverbs 31
Joseph Montante (6 months ago)
p caetano (6 months ago)
these rich people are smoking crack ... even with lame ass new tech , it still requires really good maintenance and safety protocols that will ramp up prices, that the masses will not buy into , how about just making better buses , where is that new tech , were are the driver less buses ?
p caetano (6 months ago)
it was not just in New York but also in Los Angeles and tragic crashes happened in both City's see the disneyland crash. .
jacob caudill (6 months ago)
It's be just as quiet if MD opened up the notar tech to larger helos. getting rid of tail rotors reduces the noise alot.
bogey19018 (6 months ago)
Maybe trump will bring it back.
SophiaLB (6 months ago)
I work in the financial district of Mexico City. Us mortals get a company provided Uber and our supervisors/exects get a helicopter 🚁 ride home every night. Keep in mind that the minimum we can make for the company is $25k a day and we get paid slightly less than a thousand dollars a month on average so the company is making bank
Maxim Mee (7 months ago)
the cause was metal fatigue,,,,then they should ban ALL helicopters. NOT roof top landings. what is the link to roof top landings ?
Maxim Mee (7 months ago)
1977 accident ??? what an archaic society ..... maybe if you give some shares to Hillary, the business will start booming again.
ramzohh (7 months ago)
That accident is some Final Destination type shit.
joeashbubemma (7 months ago)
The noise alone will drive people insane.
GSRG (7 months ago)
meteda1070 (7 months ago)
Final Destination, eat your heart out.
Luqman Wadood (7 months ago)
so ur not gonna mention the 1979 crash?
octet33 (7 months ago)
Something tells me that PAN-AM building tragedy killed more than 5 people by raising the use of cars. People are just really good at overreacting to tragedies.
Sckoux Da Sckoux (7 months ago)
Don't care what you say, Helicopters will always look cooler than a VTOL. Until they make something that actually looks cool that is.
Giusi Mastro (7 months ago)
Thank you this is a very nice video
none (7 months ago)
Yet another Trump failure.

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