NBC New York
There are many possible theories on what caused the helicopter to crash into the East River Tuesday. Jonathan Dienst has more on the history of both the pilot, Paul P. Dudley, and the helicopter.
The pilot who operated the helicopter involved in Tuesday's deadly East River crash safely landed a Cessna 172 in Calvert Vaux Park near Coney Island in November 2006.
Dudley, a reported 20-year veteran pilot, is the director of the municipal airport in Linden, N.J., a small general aviation airport that is home to many sightseeing and commuter pilots that fly over New York City.
On the morning of Nov. 14, 2006, the pilot, Paul Dudley, took off from Linden Airport in New Jersey to fly to Westhampton Beach Airport on southeastern Long Island in his 28-year-old Cessna.
It's normally a 100-mile trip that takes about 35 to 40 minutes in the aircraft, and it was a route he had been flying over 20 years, he told reporters at the time.
At around 10:30 a.m., the engine in Dudley's Cessna quit. The plane was over Calvert Vaux Park, which juts out of Brooklyn into Coney Island Creek.
Dudley landed his plane in an empty field in the park, taxiing about 150 feet before coming to a stop.
No one was hurt, and the plane was not damaged.
“I detected something wrong with the airplane, and rather than risk going across the water and maybe or maybe not making it, this was the closest available field,” Dudley said after the landing. “You’re trained to look for places to land. That’s all there is to it.”
"This was tailor-made," Dudley told the Daily News. "I couldn't have asked for a better place to land -- except an airport."
Dudley compared the engine failure to "getting a blowout with your car on the highway," and said it was a "nonevent," the New York Times reported at the time.
The National Transportation Safety Board told the Times it would not be looking into the landing because it did not qualify as an accident.