Helicopter crash pilot has a criminal history

Police boats search the East River after Tuesday’s crash.

The pilot flying the helicopter that killed one passenger when it crashed into the East River Tuesday has a criminal past, it was revealed yesterday.

Paul Dudley, 56, a veteran pilot, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in 1980 after stealing thousands of dollars from a restaurant safe when he was 24, according to the New York Post.

The interest in Dudley’s past comes as investigators try to determine what caused the chopper to slam into the East River. They interviewed Dudley yesterday.

But what exactly brought the aircraft down remains a mystery.

“One of the areas we’re looking at are the winds,” National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind said during a briefing yesterday.

Meanwhile, local politicians floated the idea of banning helicopters altogether. “Nonessential flights in and out of Manhattan pose too great a risk,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront.

Squadron and other state and city politicians said heliports should no longer allow flights with tourists in tow. Instead, he said, pilots should have to prove that they need to land for business or government, such as a presidential visit.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney also asked the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday to evaluate chopper safety.

Helicopter charters aren’t cheap; most companies charge hundreds of dollars per ride. At Liberty Helicopters, for example, a 20-minute sightseeing tour costs $215.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.


Interfaith leaders denounce anti-Muslim harassment in Brooklyn

Community leaders of all faiths gathered in Brooklyn on Tuesday to push back on what they described as hateful acts against the local Muslim community.


Parched Texas town turns to sewage water to…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita…


NYPD: Robber makes elderly man drive to Queens…

A robber grabbed an elderly man's neck outside a Queens supermarket, stole his wallet and made him drive to ATMs for withdrawals last week, police said.


Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.


'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.


PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.


Theater: “Love and Human Remains” is like a…

"Love and Human Remains" is the worst show we've ever not walked out of.


Review: 'A Most Wanted Man' works better when…

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman headlines the John Le Carre adaptation of "A Most Wanted Man," about the pursuit of a Chechen refugee.


MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack


2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?


5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.


'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.


5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.


Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…


Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.


Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.