This is a rare promotional film for New York Airways, "THE SKYLINE ROUTE" that dates to 1962 and features the Boeing Vertol 107 helicopter. At this time NYA offered service to LaGuardia and Idlewild Airport. The film includes rare footage of flight operations as well as images of 1960s New York with its traffic jams, which was the primary selling feature for the Skyline Route service. At 10:09, a future service from the Pan Am building's roof heliport is discussed -- a feature that would eventually prove the airline's undoing when there was a major accident atop the skyscraper (read below).
NYA was a helicopter airline in the New York City area. It was founded in 1949 as a mail and cargo carrier. On July 9, 1953 it became the first scheduled helicopter airline to carry passengers in the United States. Its headquarters were at LaGuardia Airport.
In February 1955 the one way fare from LaGuardia to Idlewild was $4.50. The ship was a Sikorsky H-19, N418A. The trip took ten minutes and their phone number was DEfender 5-6600. The first scheduled passenger flights to Manhattan arrived in December 1956 at the new heliport west of the West Side Highway at 30th St. The downtown heliport on East River Pier 6 opened in 1960 and New York Airways moved all its Manhattan passenger flights down there around December 1960.
Due to route restrictions on the single-engine Vertol 44, nonstop flights from Manhattan to Idlewild didn't begin until the twin-engine 107 arrived. Scheduled flights to the top of the Pan Am Building began in December 1965; they ended in 1968, then resumed for a few months in 1977. In April 1966 23 flights a day flew nonstop to Pan Am's terminal at JFK, scheduled 10 minutes; passengers could check in at the Pan Am Building 40 minutes before their scheduled departure out of JFK. The downtown heliport had 13 flights a day to Newark, 5 nonstops to TWA's terminal at JFK and 12 to LGA, all of which continued to JFK. (Downtown had no weekend flights.) Soon after Pan Am Building flights resumed the March 1977 OAG showed 48 weekday S-61 departures from there: 12 to EWR, 14 to LGA then JFK, and 22 nonstops to JFK.
New York Airways employed the first African American as an airline pilot. Perry H. Young made his historic first flight on February 5, 1957. Young had previously made history as the first African American flight instructor for the United States Army Air Corps. On May 16, 1977, the landing gear failed on a Sikorsky S-61L (N619PA) while it was taking on passengers on the roof of the Pan Am Building. The aircraft rolled onto its side. Its spinning rotor blades killed four passengers waiting to board (including movie director Michael Findlay) and injured a fifth. Parts of a broken blade fell into the streets below, killing one pedestrian and injuring another. The accident precipitated the permanent closure of the heliport.
The airline could not recover after the accident and the 1979 energy crisis and New York Airways filed for bankruptcy on May 18, 1979. Passengers boarded, in thousands, scheduled flights only: 68 in 1957, 144 in 1960, 537 in 1967, 268 in 1970.
We encourage viewers to add comments and, especially, to provide additional information about our videos by adding a comment! See something interesting? Tell people what it is and what they can see by writing something for example: "01:00:12:00 -- President Roosevelt is seen meeting with Winston Churchill at the Quebec Conference."
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com