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In Response to Recent Deaths, FAA Halts "Doors-Off" Helicopter Flights Nationwide

In Response to Recent Deaths, FAA Halts

The order comes days after a crash in New York City when a helicopter on such a flight made an emergency landing on the East River and rolled over. "Our passenger restraints can be released quickly in an emergency".

"We just believe that helicopter tours should be flown with doors closed", Sweet said.

The family of one of the victims has filed a lawsuit against Liberty Helicopters, calling the passenger harness system a "death trap" in a water crash.

"The FAA will order operators and pilots to take immediate actions to control or mitigate this risk", the agency said in Friday.

The Helicopter Association International, which also represents pilots and others in the industry, has been warning against the growing practice of allowing people to photograph from copters without doors and has refused to certify those operations, Dan Sweet, the group's spokesman, said in an interview. "Until then, the FAA will order no more "doors off" operations that involve restraints that can not be released quickly in an emergency".




At the same time, the agency said it will conduct a "top to bottom review of its rules" governing open door flights, after a helicopter from New Jersey went down in the East River off Manhattan on Sunday.

Image of helicopter by Anna Zvereva, used under Creative Commons.

Prior to Friday's statement, the FAA said on Tuesday that representatives are looking into the use of harnesses created specifically for aerial photography flights.

The draw for open-door flights, are the unobstructed views of places like the the Hawaii Island volcanoes or Kauai's Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon.

The association certifies the safety of helicopter operators and refuses to give its accreditation to companies that conduct tours with open doors.

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