Much of what transpired during the final minutes in the life of helicopter pilot Timothy McCormack remains shrouded in mystery - and some of it might never be fully understood. But as investigators begin to piece together what caused McCormack, a seasoned pilot with an impeccable safety record, to fly his otherwise unoccupied helicopter into the roof of a midtown building - killing himself, but harming nobody else - some details are beginning to trickle out.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that after ferrying his boss and the helicopter's owner Daniele Bodini, the founder and chairman emeritus of real-estate firm American Continental Properties, to a helipad on 34th street, McCormack decided to fly the helicopter back to a helipad in Linden, NJ, where it was usually parked.
After waiting for nearly two hours for a bout of bad weather to pass, McCormack took off without incident. But five minutes later, requested to return to the NYC helipad. McCormack had flown for Bodini's company for five years without incident - he even once calmly landed a helicopter after a bird damaged the windshield by colliding with it.
Seeing a break in the weather, Mr. McCormack lifted off at 1:32 pm, the law enforcement official said. Five minutes later, he was on the radio, saying he was turning around and asking for a landing spot, the official said.
It was around this time that his helicopter was spotted flying erratically over the Hudson River.
Timothy McCormack, the pilot who died in a helicopter crash in New York, "tried to land on the building to save people on the ground," airport manager says. https://t.co/2DHFvWFeMb pic.twitter.com/SiPV7s0HcV— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 11, 2019
Soon, he communicated with air traffic control that he couldn't figure out where he was. And instead of landing at the heliport, he headed inland over Midtown - into some of the most tightly controlled and heavily sensitive air space in the country.
Ultimately, he ended up in a smoldering wreck on the roof of 787 7th Avenue in Midtown.