3. Pan Am Building Helicopter Crash, 1977

A concrete helipad atop the Pan Am Building on Park Avenue was in operation from 1965 to 1968, and took enterprising travelers to the now demolished Worldport Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport and to Teterboro Airport.
Closed due to low demand, the helipad reopened in early 1977, with flights aboard Sikorsky S-61 helicopters. The service was shut down just three months after due to a deadly accident. On May 16th, 1977, a rotor blade broke off a helicopter, after landing gear failed on the front and the helicopter toppled over. The blade hit four people on the landing pad waiting to board, with three killed on impact. 15 to 20 people were in a line on the roof waiting to get onto the aircraft.

The blade fell down the side of a building and hit a window of the Pan Am Building on the 36th floor. From there, it split into two, with one part killing a pedestrian from the Bronx on Madison Avenue, while she was waiting for the bus. More pieces of the rotor blades were found as much as four blocks north from the building.The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the accident was caused by “metal fatigue” on the helicopter.