Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ray in Pasadena

TRIVIA BOARD

Recommended Posts

What airline company was responsible for all of those noisy helicopters arriving and departing from the Port Authority Heliport? The outdoor shows valiantly contended with their overpowering decibels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK -- I'm gonna take a crack at this without checking any books, websites, or other such outside agencies for help.

Logic (and my vague recall) dictates that it would have been Pan American, as I believe the service may have originated from the then-new Pan Am building near Grand Central Station in Manhattan.

Is that right, Regis?

-- Doug Peterson --

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New York Airways was the major operator of helicopter service in NYC in the '60s, so I'll guess them. When helicopter service was revived for a time in the '80s (until a really brutal accident) from the Pan Am Building to JFK, I believe Pan Am itself was the company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too believe that Pan Am was the operator. I remember that helicopter accident. I think it may have been in the late 70's. As I recall the helicopter swung from the platform or got caught and pivoted into the upper floors of the Pan Am building office space.

I can't remember exactly but I think some people in the offices were killed. That spelled the end of helicopters on office rooftops.

By the way it irks me to see that building now called the Met Life building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, New York Airways.

One of my most prized possesions is an oval-shaped pinback button that says "I saw the Fair from the Air -- Sikorsky S-61 Helicopter", with a NY Airways chopper pictured. A scarce item due to the high cost of the ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I remember the NY Airways; I had a brochure that showed the fair through a window in the helicopter. There was also a NY Waterways; you could come to the fair on a hydrofoil. The brochure for that unfolded to about 12" x 14" and showed a hydrofoil sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember that incident atop the Pan Am building too. Apparantly the helicopter had landed but they blades kept spinning. It's supposedly hard on an engine to continuously cut it completely just for the few minutes it takes to let the passengers off. Metal fatigue caused one of the landing gear struts to collapse and the blades did the damage. Can't remember how may were hurt/killed on the roof, but I do specifically remember a person on the ground getting killed from a falling blade. At least that's what I recall from the news broadcasts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't Arthur Imperator operating NY Waterways from Edgewater & Hoboken now. Is it the same NY Waterways? What ever became of the hydrofoils? Sounds very European.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Passenger helicopters were considered hotstuff in '64/'65. Whoever was on one was probably having there first flight. The World of Tomorrow? 35 years later it's still not really here as a passenger service for most people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The helicopters did in fact become popular for awhile. They were a quick way for business people to go from Manhattan to LaGuardia. NYAirways was plaqued with non-compliance issues regarding maintenance records with the FAA. The crash atop Pan Am killed them.

NY Waterways, I believe, is still operating as a commuter service. Replacing helicopters is a water shuttle to the Marine Air Terminal.

Ray, that was basically their route. They also flew into Morristown NJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flew one in 1977! I've always been an air buff and in '77 I decided I had to see what it was like to take NY Airways.

The most spectacular part of the trip was the take off from the Pan Am Building. The thing taxied over to the edge of the roof ... the back end lifted up so that you are kind of pointing down ... and it swooped off of the roof! You got this incredible view of the "canyons" of Manhattan. It was a neat experience.

I think the accident occured the next year and the service was stopped. I believe three people were killed -- two men on the rooftop waiting to board and a lady walking several blocks away was killed after one of the blades riccochet off of an edge of one of the buildings and came hurtling down at her.

That was back in the days when I was working and living at home with my parents and had money to spend on daredevil things like Manhattan Helicopter rides. Now, it's strictly "priceline.com"!

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, you lucky dog!!!

OT:

The Pan Am heliport and NY Airways is featured prominantly in the movie "Coogan's Bluff".

Also:

I destinctly remember going into the Pan Am building for some reason in '64 or '65 and having the P's ask about reservation information for Moon flights!!! Pan Am actually planned service in space!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pan Am's lunar reservations were a very successful PR gimmick which highlighted their leadership in the U.S. for long-distance flights. Are you sure it was '64/65? I always thought that the campaign was inspired by the Pan Am space shuttles portrayed in "2001:A Space Odyssey" which came out in '68.

Of course now you can't fly Pan Am-the real one- anywhere. The Met Life(Pan Am) Bldg. or the Sea of Tranquility.

Which inspires another trivia question. Which airlines had exhibits at the NYWF?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, for sure, Eastern had their waiting room over near the Ford Pavilion. I know I've seen a picture of the Transportation and Travel Pavilion and I can distinctly make out the TWA Globe Logo behind the glass windows of T&T. I think United might have had something in T&T and possibly also Pan Am. These may all have been ticket centers for all I know though. KLM sponsored "To the Moon and Beyond" at T&T in the Moon Dome, didn't they? You can see SAS on the rooftop of the Denmark pavilion when you view film clips from the Swiss Sky Ride.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gene:

Thanks for the confirmation. Yep, I'm sure it was well before 2001 came out. Pan Am's "future-think" was one reason Kubrick awarded them that prestigeous route in the movie.

I always thought Pan Am was the king of the airlines. You're right; the king is dead!

Bill:

As far as exhibits, I would add United's film on jet travel in T&T.

A quick check of my promotional materials indicates Fair-specific promos from: American, Eastern, Mohawk, National, Pan Am, TWA, United.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barring some foreign national airline with a display in one of the pavilions, I think you guys got them all. Eastern was the only one with their own building. United had a highly-regarded film, "From Here to There" by Saul Bass. Given the obvious tie-in of airlines and a World's Fair it's surprising the participation wasn't greater. Perhaps because R.M. didn't control the Port Authority and which could have twisted some arms!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gene,

The Port Authority would have had nothing to do with airline participation. Airlines don't generally participate that heavily. I know, I work for one. At Disneyworld Eastern sponsored an attraction. Shortly before they went out of business Disney let them go and Delta took over the attraction and sponsorship for a few years. Eastern's building at NYWF was not much more than a service facility for the airline

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's my understanding that throughout the history of commercial aviation even in the '60s, a relatively golden time for the traditional carriers like TWA and the old Pan Am, airlines have usually not been cash heavy. Perhaps because of the need to finance the voracious demands of new aircraft. There usually isn't much left for intangible assets like a WF exhibit.

My point about the PA was that since that entity controls the NY airports it would have been in a position to pressure airlines to participate. In fact the PA by the '60s was seen by Moses as a competitor. If the PA shared that view they would not have been eager to go out of their way to help out what was generally viewed as a R.M. fiefdom.

Just speculating about what seems to be the strangely low profile of a major industry during a prosperous period at an event that certainly played to a key customer group-tourists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×