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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 (829)
Dick Tingler (7 days ago)
Was it to hard to write life and death instead of the reverse? So annoying
U Wot (7 days ago)
Just build bridges between the buildings.
Khanh Tranvan (8 days ago)
Lol , Electric is quiet ? dude , have u ever see a drone ?
Chris Flanagan (8 days ago)
I worked for a helicopter company in Vancouver in 2006 and learned that helicopter was actually repaired and put back in service for decades. It served in the offshore, as a rescue helicopter for the Namibian Coast Guard, and made its way back to Vancouver as a VIP helicopter. The wreck was bought by Court Helicopters of South Africa, and they had to remove it piece by piece in the service elevator - because helicopter flights were temporarily banned in Manhattan.
kebman (9 days ago)
Yes, bebop was the perfect choice, folks!
keeler1160 (9 days ago)
I wish I could use a two seater helicopter with a small trunk space as my commuter vehicle.
Wil Acevedo (9 days ago)
Anything that flies and transports passengers is high maintenance, skilled pilots dont work for minimum wage, forget about low insurance costs. The BS of uber fares is a scam. Be careful who you invest with selling you snake oil.
George Bonta (9 days ago)
One accident and the whole thing is tossed.
Scott Dann (11 days ago)
American capitalism putting money over maintenance. Same old story again and again.
largol33t1 (11 days ago)
Fact: the Empire State Building had a mast installed to dock the HIndenburg. Of course, there was that tragedy in New Jersey. Has Bell ever tried to market a corporate version of the V22? I'd love to fly on one of those...
Emilio0587 (11 days ago)
Yeah I’m going to keep riding my bike 😀
vincent g (11 days ago)
Copycat of Wendover video
Tony Diamond (13 days ago)
I Don't see why Aircraft travel itself would be at blame when its the company who was to picky to spend the money on maintenance.
Valens (13 days ago)
Nice
PNathan (14 days ago)
"Probably the most challenging thing I've ever done... except for getting shot in Vietnam. haha" what a badass haha
thriversoffset (14 days ago)
Dont say trump failed at something, or he’ll legalize it again to prove he didnt, causing more damage
Denzel Tanti (14 days ago)
But planes crash and we still use them
DeadTroperSociety (15 days ago)
Communists and helicopters are not in good terms.
citiZen (16 days ago)
EAT THE RICH
Paistin Lasta (16 days ago)
Make Pan-Am great again!
NaYawkr (16 days ago)
Good thing no Military Blackhawk Helicopters kilied anybody or we'd make the military live without them. Question: Why does not the Marine One helicopter with the same kind of landing gear strut force the President to find an alternative way to travel from the Whitehouse ?
NaYawkr (16 days ago)
So essentially 5 dead as a consequence of a single instance of metal fatigue killed forever a useful, innovative service ? So after tens of thousands dead in multiple air crashes why is air travel touted as the safest form of travel, and widely used everywhere. The Hawaiian Airlines jet had its passenger cabin rupture killing how many and we still build and use the same model jet today, and other jets worldwide that potentially could fracture from the same metal fatigue. Killing roof top helicopter service because of one instance of metal fatigue is just stupid. It makes no sense, especially since aircraft still have a similar danger built into them.
Derpster (17 days ago)
I enjoyed the jazzy undertones.
anthony gumbo (17 days ago)
Wow what are the chances you just happen to be walking to work and a freakin helicopter blade just falls from the sky and kills you . Talk about bad luck
Jack Carmichael (17 days ago)
How to properly have written the title “The life and death of helicopter commuting” Not the death and life of Jesus bloomberg
THELIFEOFPRICE (19 days ago)
Awesome video
oduffy1936 (23 days ago)
I guess we've finally come to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World; where everyone will have their own "personal helicopter". Even it's a "Uber copter".
raphael schinköth (24 days ago)
under 10 ppl were killed. so we stop technical advancements. cmon. more ppl die from smoking in nyc every day! what a complete clusterfuck.
Michael Choe (27 days ago)
this is a reality in hong kong
Jay Pay (27 days ago)
Air taxi! Bring it back. Add it to more of America. What a way to travel
Digger 0008 (1 month ago)
How come you didnt stop planes after 9/11
Toco (1 month ago)
3:27 That escalated quickly
IronBird (1 month ago)
What's the song at 1:30?
Alfred Donate (1 month ago)
Back in 1966 my aunt work for high-end lawyer she flew in from JFK and we met her there when we flew that helicopter ride on top of the Pan Am building into New York City it was very exciting I still remember to this day
icampos89 (1 month ago)
Only 5 deaths? Minor casualties. Bring them back,
Panem Today, Panem Tomorrow, Panem Forever
agent (1 month ago)
The military already developed a hybrid helicopter- airplane.
Shoorit (1 month ago)
Every single time I see the New York skyline it makes me sad because it sticks out so much.
Friek555 (1 month ago)
Extremely wasteful way to give tourists a flashy ride. I'm glad they don't do it anymore
John Thompson (1 month ago)
Bring back the helicopers
John Thompson (1 month ago)
Pan Am,,,, what a great company
Angelo (1 month ago)
“Donald Trump”? It’s President Donald Trump you cocksuckers.
James (1 month ago)
That chopper crash at the Pan Am building at least led to a memorable scene in "Superman." RIP to the victims. Oh, back in the day they were planning entire airports on buildings in NYC. As in, hangars and everything. Never happened for practical reasons, but people back then shrugged off the danger. Two chopper landings in the East River in the last year or two. Until they improve the tech, not ready for prime time.
Liam H (1 month ago)
$5 in 1953 is $47 today so I'd hardly say "as little as $5"
Daniel Clark (1 month ago)
fuck these guys they fly over the train tracks and everything in my house fucking shakes
Mmm (1 month ago)
Helicopters were banned in France because a woman got her vagina stuck on the rotors.
Jonny B (1 month ago)
Hahah fucking of course Trump would be involved in an obviously stupid business decision NYC seriously needs to invest in a new form of transportation. Maybe those vacuum tubes or something. Anything.
noelsoong777 (1 month ago)
once i fly in a flying car i can die happy
Major League Gamer (1 month ago)
But at least you have helicopters tours
okrajoe (1 month ago)
That must have been sweet, $5 fare to the airport.
Darsh Is here (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
American really don't have limits for wasting energy.
Zach Michaelis (2 months ago)
something amazingly helpful stopped because a couple insignificant lifes were lost
MakerInMotion (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
*Kiitos*
Dj Dumapat (2 months ago)
Just go to Pinochet's Free Helicopter Rides, he'll fly you to a one way ride
brockelever (2 months 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.
How Does it Really Work (2 months ago)
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 (2 months ago)
Really impressed with both the quality of the video and the information contained in it. Subscribed.
Brandon Clarke (2 months ago)
Paid content or Nah?
Brandon Clarke (2 months ago)
RIP Michael O'Neill.
curiosityuniversal (2 months 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 (2 months ago)
6:43 You can say that again....and again and again and again.......
Doug sillig (2 months ago)
I would like to see more about EV toll technology
Only the dankest survive (3 months ago)
*Sponsored by Blade©.*
Navy Flightgamer (3 months ago)
Looks like gta 5
Richard Smout (3 months ago)
The cartoon at the end won't happen
chistine lane (3 months ago)
wow, one accident with 5 deaths. we might as well get rid of planes
lseul (3 months ago)
I would pay to fly trump air
tessamersus (3 months ago)
Loves the 1960s tune playing in the background at the first. lol
K. R. V. (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
What is the genre of the type of music used during 1:39 ?
Theprfesssor (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
Kind of just looks like human sized drone airplanes
Van Graff (3 months ago)
LOL if you miss Helicopter Commuting go to Brazil
Christian Jensen (3 months ago)
Excellent analysis, I trust your superiors compensate you substantially for a job well done.
dc2008242 (3 months ago)
but what about airships? I want those back for modern transportation
turbofan450 (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
How much was 5 dollars back in 1977 also living back then was the real American dream
Nuka Gaming (3 months ago)
$5 was a lot back then though
How Does it Really Work (2 months ago)
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 (3 months 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 (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
Paelorian And innocent people died because of them
David Thomas (3 months ago)
For five dollars I'd have been taking helicopter rides for fun on a daily basis.
Orella Minx (3 months ago)
2:43 Gotta love Nam vets, they always giggle at the memories of meeting death and just shaking his hand.
KutWrite (3 months ago)
NIcely done. Aside from the story itself, I really liked the music.
udaysaleen (3 months ago)
i knew before watching that it was maintenance issue
LushForests (3 months ago)
2:42 .... Epic
MrKelra (3 months 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 (3 months 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 (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
Noise pollution...can't stand the sounds of blades.
LegitDaddy (3 months ago)
how much is that 5$ adjusted for inflation?
Jebi Se (3 months ago)
500 000 passengers per year and only 5 dead in all that time? pretty safe to do.
Mister K (3 months ago)
7:06 what genre? Sounds like swing but fast paced?
garrett21 (3 months ago)
Interesting. Almost every movie has some guy landing in a helicopter on top of a building
Emilio Javier (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
Drones: The future is now, old man.
Agni Dev (3 months ago)
Commercial for blade?
matthewnb (3 months 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 (3 months ago)
@6:49 takes a Trump to try a failed idea and make it even worse

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