Wikipedia: 'New York Airways flew Vertol 107 helicopters from the rooftop helipad to Pan Am's terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport from December 21, 1965, to February 18, 1968, when the service ceased due to inadequate passenger loads. For a short part of that time, they also offered service to Teterboro Airport.
Service to JFK resumed in early 1977 using Sikorsky S-61s. On May 16, 1977, about one minute after an S-61L landed and its 20 passengers disembarked, the right front landing gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to topple onto its side with the rotors still turning. One of the five 20-foot (6.1 m) blades broke off and flew into a crowd of passengers waiting to board. Three men were killed instantly and another died later in a hospital. The blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a female pedestrian on the corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street. Two other people were seriously injured. Helicopter service was quickly suspended, and never resumed'.
I admit, that's terrifying and somewhat mind blowing. The landing gear collapsed while it was 'parked' - ultimately killing a person a block away with the blades.
New York Airways also flew to Wall Street (ground level landing) from Laguardia for around 40 bucks in today's money in the 70's.
Do you know what the price was?
$5 in 1977 is about $21.15 give or take a few cents according to most of the website i checked the numbers on.
So while it might be $5, that was definitely not as cheap as it might otherwise seem.
Regardless of the inflation adjustments, ~$20 is surprisingly inexpensive for a commuter helicopter ride, I wonder if the economies of scale really do bring it down or if they were still eating their losses trying to grow business at that price.
Taxi flat rate from Manhatten to JFK is over $50. How the price for a helicopter ride could be on the same order of magnitude as a taxi is beyond me.
An uber to JFK from Manhatten is ~$100 - that's still dirt cheap!
A helicopter can go in a straight line and land on the apron, right next to a waiting aircraft. How long is a ferry going to take to get all the way around Brooklyn, through the bays and where is it going to dock when it gets there?! That'd take hours.
20 minutes?! It's like 20 miles around Brooklyn. It'd need to be a 60 mph ferry! Does such a thing exist?
It's about 1h20m from Penn Station to JFK taking first the LIRR to Jamaica and then changing to the AirTrain. Sometimes you'll get lucky and get an express train and you can do it in about 40 minutes. The distance is about 15 miles or 25 kms.
It's normally longer (and a lot more expensive) to take a taxi.
It would take about 1h30m to cycle to JFK from Penn Station, which is comparable to public transport (though obviously impractical for most people taking a flight).
With well designed public transport the trip should be no more than 30 mins. That's an average of 30 mph, easily achievable by light rail. There should be a direct train connection to JFK instead of the slow AirTrain. Why isn't there? Basically because NYC can't get it's act together when it comes to building public transport. The Wikipedia page has more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirTrain_JFK
We do have well designed public transportation, but you can’t make every point on the island take equal time.
It’s similar with the Paddington Express in London. It’s one of the nicest airport train experiences, period. But then you’re in Paddington Station and you need to get to wherever you need to go in the city and that makes it take as long as the JFK trip for most people.
If you actually look on a map there’s basically no way anyone could have built a LIRR style train to JFK in modern times without the entire length being a tunnel. The AirTrain is fast and very good at what it does — get you to the subway or LIRR.
I can't agree that NYC has well designed public transportation. Metro North, the other train line I have experience with, is also dreadfully slow. The subway is old, dirty, and has poor signage.
It seems like the Heathrow Express comparison is fair then; Paddington's a transport hub (surface trains and several tube lines pass through it), and it takes 15 mins to Heathrow.
Because nobody wants to pay for it until its on fire. There's also political fighting between state vs. city for control of the MTA.
Edit: Uber is including the car on both ends, so that's an advantage. And their luggage allowance is 50 lbs vs. Blade's 25, so that's nice too.
It might have made the owner lots of cash and they just stopped.
Its the people not making money that imagine their one single idea in life is going to strike it big and they'll get married to it.
The rest of us just make money, with the comfort that we now have enough money, or can make more with one of our monthly ideas, or can attract capital due to prior success or having made a profit for shareholders in the prior venture.
Furthermore, attaining some modest success does not tend to make business owners indifferent to the prospect of having a bit more success. Letting the business wither and die while one takes pills on Party Island is not the way it goes.
You go and do something more fulfilling, sometimes more profitable.
Even if that means just buying a bunch of treasury bonds on your nest egg of 30 million and going off on Party Island.
"""U.S. Helicopter Corporation (the "Company") has put substantially all of its operations and business activities on hold as of September 25, 2009 due to the Company's inability to obtain the financing necessary to continue to operate its business."""
Anyway, why was a helicopter company publicly traded last decade? Thats funny, too bad they needed to rollover debt during a period of time when financing had dried up for everyone in 2009.
Is a public company from 2009 the only data? I thought the whole premise of this subthread was that there were companies always filling the void.
> The Airbus AS350 series of helicopters, one of the most popular among tour operators, produces approximately 950 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per hour; the average car produces 22 pounds per hour.
> There are often eight helicopters motoring on the downtown heliport at any time. For those living and working nearby, that’s like 340 cars idling outside your window. Conservatively estimated, the 56,000 annual tourist flights have a carbon footprint greater than 6,000 metric tons.
Assume that the helicopter can make 3 trips per hour (8 minutes flight time, plus 12 minutes turnover).
950 / 3 = 316 lbs of C02 per flight. It looks like the Bell 430 configuration they have has 6 passenger seats, so 52.7 lbs of C02 per passenger.
Even if the taxi has only one passenger and takes 1.5 hours to reach JFK in moderate traffic, that rider will only be generating 33 lbs of C02 (37% less C02 than a helicopter in a best-case scenario for the helicopter).
Buses do produce more CO2 than cars, but are generally 6-8 times more efficient on a passenger-mile basis.
Let me see how much high school chemistry I still remember...
CO2 = C (12) * 1 + O (16) * 2
Suppose AvGas is just Octane, C8H18
C8H18 = C (12) * 8 + H (1) * 18
So yeah, you get 3 lb CO2 from 1 lb of octane.
It looks like they ultimately intend to go electric. Still, electric or not, vertical takeoff vehicles consume a lot of energy. Lets hope they plan to use renewable electricity.
The Sikorsky Firefly is a one-passenger electric helicopter, one of not that many electric helicopters, with a max takeoff weight of about 2K lbs, a little more than one pilot's worth of weight between MTW and its empty weight (no passengers). Over half its weight, 1150 out of 2050 lbs, is comprised of its two batteries, burning up to 140kW for 15 minutes max (IE, not flying like Airwolf).
So the technology is there to make the electric flight about one way before a long recharge with one very wealthy passenger and no cargo provided the passenger is the pilot, presuming the batteries are replaced regularly and it's not too cold.
Maybe they should use solar paneling for the rotor blades? ;)
Helicopters are the beasts - mechanically, operationally and humanly. We need to invest in quad/hexcopter style autonomous point-to-point person-carrying flying vehicles. That could enable ability to fly out from nearly every building roof top with fraction of a cost. The 10-minute flight is also easily achievable with electrical UAVs.
Seriously, I doubt they care. They probably know about these negative impacts, the risks, etc. but money is money.
Crashing a taxi isn't such a big deal, but crashing an airplane or helicopter is.
All NYC cabs now let you use an app like Curb to just key in their number and have the ride paid like magic with no card payment interaction at all.
Only use case left for ride hailing would be if you’re all dressed up and don’t want to walk from your front door to hail a cab, but the ride hailing drivers seem completely confused when expected to show up at an actual address instead of a pin on a corner, so the brands squander that advantage.
Note: I’m not price conscious, it’s literally just more hassle to use something other than a cab if you’re in Manhattan. If Uber, Lyft, or Juno saved me time or hassle, I’d spend an arbitrary price. They don’t, they take longer, and are completely unpredictable as to whether they’ll ever stop circling the block and actually come get you. Can add 15+ minutes just messing around getting to you in midtown. Cabs are less volatility, now just as easy to pay for (there’s an app for that), and incidentally, also less cost.
I'll hail one if I'm in a hurry and I'm already on an avenue, but otherwise I'll go out of my way to avoid it. I agree that it's really frustrating waiting for an Uber in traffic-heavy places like Midtown during rush hour, though - the yellow cab probably wins for those cases if you can find one that's empty.
This sums up most of my urban Uber/Lyft experiences, be it Boston, Chicago, or NYC. Also my experiences when I'm driving and somebody's got an Uber sticker on the car.
Cabs don't exactly vet driving, but Uber/Lyft have a lot of folks out there that probably shouldn't be driving. And it's pretty wishful thinking to think that Uber/Lyft don't have recent arrivals driving--Uber at least will give a warm body a lease and take the payments out of what those drivers make on the platform. (A big part of what passes for "their business" is car loans!)
With Uber's driver turnover being what it is, I wonder what has to happen for Uber to bar a driver.
My bet is that they'll semi-shadow ban instead. Keep them in the system for capacity, but silently send less work their way. Especially to "complainy" customers.
Rarely have a yellow cab driver get lost, despite no GPS. I can think of three in three years.
At least 2 of every 5 ride-share pickups, drivers can’t seem to figure out how to get to me.
At last 1 of 5 ride shares I file for refunds on drive costs because drivers blindly followed GPS directions despite bad signal on their phones, circling the destination, sometimes passing within a block of destination several times, yet never arriving.
In each of these cases, the ride share company has the data that shows the driver can’t find the pickup and can’t find the destination, yet doesn’t do anything proactive with that knowledge.
Didn’t mind any of the prices offered, ranging from $60 (Lyft) to $160 (Uber XL). Some had waits of 15 mins plus, some couldn’t get the pick-up pin to stick where I was, Uber went into beach-ball spinner mode, and wouldn’t match to a driver.
Fed up with all the tech fail, I walked to cab line, no wait, $55 flat fee to midtown.
I can have an Uber at my door in < 3 minutes with two clicks on my phone.
Depends a lot on your neighborhood, and the time of day.
I lived in The Loop, and in the Gold Coast, and just walking out the front door of my building, I'd get anywhere from one to three cabs honking at me to see if I needed a ride.
But then, once you got past Halsted, Division, or Harrison, it was taxi ghost town.
In every town I've lived, the taxi industry killed itself by focusing on tourists and office workers, and not being available where the locals need them.
Here in Chicago someone would just ask “why don’t you take dah CTA over derr?” and you know it’s true, heh.
Meanwhile, my office is on Canal Street, which seems to be basically filled with already booked cabs - while it's in a busy part of lower Manhattan, I have had no luck street hailing when I'm sick and need to get home. If you're in Midtown I definitely believe that street hailing is easier/faster than app hailing.
I don't want to key in numbers and shit. Not even a QR code?
For this standard experience, I'm willing to sacrifice the tails: driver getting lost on way, driver being a dick. The rarity makes that worth it. Happens to me maybe once in 20 rides. Looks like you have a different calculus.
It's like Uber, but instead of using an app on your phone, you use a phone on your phone.
Whenever I'm in NYC or other cities, it's also much more convenient to just use Uber or Lyft than to have to download and register an account for whatever app that city's taxis use.
Certainly not like this in Toronto.
Sometimes happens at Fri/Sat 2AM on King/Queen downtown. Uber/Lyft will surge and there'll be a million empty cabs driving by.
With the ride share services, I have a full record of my trip and ability to rate the driver afterwards. I can even contact someone if something goes wrong or if I lose something in the car.
I just have a much better experience start to finish and I'm willing to pay a premium for that.