A rogue helicopter pilot led the NYPD on a 70-mile chase over the New York City skyline after picking up passengers from vacant Brooklyn lot before landing at an airport in central New Jersey.
Witnesses in residential Brooklyn were stunned to see the helicopter land on the undeveloped corner lot of Crown Heights and pick up two passengers around 1:30 p.m.
“It was something else – not something you see every day,” said a witness.
The witness’s wife said she saw the helicopter take off and land twice, with someone coming out briefly the second time, the newspaper reported.
An NYPD patrol was alerted by air traffic controllers at JFK Airport and followed the helicopter to Lakewood Township Municipal Airport, where the video shows the cops talking to the pilot.
Scroll down for the video.
A helicopter landed in Lakewood, New Jersey Thursday after leading the NYPD in a chase over an unauthorized landing to pick up passengers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Lakewood Municipal Airport on-site manager Kevin McKenzie said the conversation between the pilot and the NYPD was “cordial”
The parking lot where the illegal landings took place
Footage from The Lakewood Scoop shows the police helicopter landing first and officers then walking towards the helicopter as it lands.
The pilot of the helicopter, which was a New York-based R66 Robinson, appeared to descend without any penalty, according to Kevin McKenzie, the on-site manager at Lakewood Municipal Airport.
“They were talking people, and they each went their own way,” he said. “That helicopter left, and the police helicopter left, and they went north.”
New York law prohibits helicopters from landing on city streets or on vacant lots.
NYPD sources said the pilot told police he didn’t know he couldn’t do this.
Air traffic controllers at JFK Airport in Queens said the helicopter had permission to be in the area, according to reports.
McKenzie was skeptical that the pilot did not know the landing rules.
“Rules and regulations, they force it in your head. You need to know that when you pass your test, ”McKenzie said. “You’re breaking the rules, someone will find you. ”
The police helicopter landed in New Jersey before the helicopter it was chasing
The plane initially took off from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York
The helicopter finally landed in Lakewood, a town in central New Jersey
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (center), who led attempts by the city’s congressional delegation to ban non-essential helicopters over the city, called the landing “ heinous and dangerous “
The illegal helicopter flight originated from the undeveloped land at the corner of Troy and Carroll streets, which is surrounded by four-story townhouses and surrounded primarily by doctors’ offices and butcher shops.
The unidentified passengers boarded the helicopter in front of a gentrifying neighborhood synagogue before heading to Lakewood.
Helicopters have become a political issue in New York City, as congressional lawmakers and the Manhattan Borough President launched a campaign to ban non-essential helicopters from overhead the city.
“It’s completely odious and dangerous. There should be a full and independent investigation into this incident, ”Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told DailyMail.com on Friday.
“What happened yesterday in Brooklyn is another example of how helicopters are treating New York City like a ‘wild, wild West.’ Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the FAA must crack down on risky practices and hazards of helicopter operators.
The city has three helipads for public use, all located in Manhattan – at West 30th Street, East 34th Street, and Pier 6 on the East River in Lower Manhattan.
When asked to comment, the NYPD referred DailyMail.com to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is investigating the incident.