You’ve may have heard of Blade, but have you heard of New York Airways? NYA was a helicopter “ridesharing” service which started passenger operations in 1953 in Manhattan. Arguably the first company to have scheduled helicopter service, NYA was a way for busy folk to commute from Manhattan to the New York-area airports in a matter of minutes. The company served the following destinations using a variety of helicopters, but most notably the Boeing V107-II (also known as the Sea Knight in military circles):

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • LaGuardia Airport
  • Newark Airport
  • West 30th St, Manhattan
  • “Wall Street” Heliport
  • Stamford, Connecticut Heliport
  • Teterboro Airport
  • Westchester County Airport
  • Downtown Trenton
  • New Brunswick
  • Hadley Airport
  • Morristown Municipal Airport

The Fall of New York Airways

In 1965, NYA commenced service to The Pan Am Building (currently, the MetLife Building), a 59-story skyscraper in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. By 1966, NYA had 23 scheduled daily flights from The Pan Am Building to New York’s JFK airport.

In 1977, one of NYA’s Sikorsky S-61L helicopters was attempting to land on the roof of The Pan Am Building when the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft rolled to its side. When all was said and done, five people were dead due to the incident. NYA never recovered from this. It took two years from accident to bankruptcy in 1977.

Take a few minutes today to check out this great (short) documentary on New York Airways produced by Bloomberg: