Philip J. Landi, 89, a helicopter industry pioneer, former HAI Director, and former Manager of Heliports and Helicopter Operations for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, passed away on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
Landi flew into the Guinness Book of World Records in September 1976 when he made the first helicopter landing atop the 1385 ft. South Tower of the World Trade Center onto a 20 ft. by 20 ft. platform, the world's highest rooftop helipad above street level.
Matt Zuccaro, HAI President, who worked for Phil at the Port Authority and made the second World Trade Center landing, had this to say upon hearing of his passing, “I had the distinct honor and privilege to work for Phil during my tenure at the Port Authority. He provided me with many opportunities, learning experiences, and heartfelt guidance during those times. I have always considered him my mentor and a positive lifelong influence. The many advancements made by the international helicopter community are a direct result of his efforts. He will be missed by all and always remembered for the true pioneer he was.”
Phil was fondly known in the industry as New York City's "Mr. Helicopter." For more than 35 years, he played a leading role in promoting the business, the emergency use of helicopters, and the development of heliports as the Manager of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Helicopters & Heliports Operation, a position he originated in 1950. He was responsible for the first New York City public heliport and reportedly the first rooftop heliport in the world. Under Landi's direction, the Port Authority helicopters flew more than 56,725 hours covering in excess of 6 million miles without fatal incidence, a record applauded by the industry.
The operations were awarded Operator Safety Awards by HAI for twelve consecutive years, 1974-1985. His unwavering support and devotion to the helicopter industry made him a recognized leading expert in heliport construction and helicopter operation.
Landi became a much-sought speaker and technical consultant. He garnered numerous awards and achievements, including; the HAI Max Schumacher Award for distinguished service, Lawrence D. Bell Award for long and significant service to the helicopter industry, and the Cavaliere Award Il Presidente Della Republica from the Italian government for encouraging mutual interests in helicopter development. In 1981, he was chosen by the State Department, with British Embassy approval, to flight-check Queen Elizabeth's pilots prior to their flying Prince Charles over the New York/New Jersey area. He then accompanied the Prince on his aerial tour, pointing out the sites of interest along the way.
Landi was always proud of the fact that he greeted every U.S. President, from Eisenhower to Reagan, who came to New York on official business and utilized the Port Authority heliports.
Landi was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey in 1986. When he retired in 1988, he was lauded for having done more to promote the use of helicopters in the New York metropolitan area than any other advocate. Locally, Landi was instrumental in establishing Hackensack University Medical Center's Medevac helicopter access and served as their Aviation Adviser for many years.
Landi was born in Rockaway, NJ on April 12, 1923 to John and Filomena Landi. During WWII, he served in the Army Air Corps and was promoted to maintaining a B-29 fleet in the South Pacific, a prophetic indicator of his future in aviation. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford and was a graduate of Spartan School of Aeronautics in Oklahoma, where he learned to fly.
Landi was a parishioner of Corpus Christi R.C. Church in Hasbrouck Heights where he served as a former usher and a former lector, and was a former member of the Monsignor Fitzpatrick Knights of Columbus Council 7041 in Hasbrouck Heights.
Phil was a beloved husband of sixty-five years to Venus A. (nee Inniello) Landi; devoted father of Cheryl Lombardo and her husband John, and Colette Sipperly and her husband Raymond – all of whom never fail to look skyward when they hear a passing helicopter. He was a dear brother of Stella Bencel, Rose Narcise, and the late Phyllis Ippolito and John Landi; and loving grandfather of Lindsey Lombardo, Jack and Landon Sipperly.
Visitation will be at the Costa Memorial Funeral Home, Boulevard and Central Ave., Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey on Wednesday, May 9 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. Funeral services will commence Thursday, May 10, at 10 a.m. at the Costa Memorial Funeral home with a Funeral Liturgy at the Corpus Christi R.C. Church in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey at 11 a.m. Entombment will follow at the Calvary Mausoleum, in Paterson, New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey, 400 Fred Wehran Dr., Teterboro, NJ 07608 in memory of Philip J. Landi would be appreciated.
Those wishing to express their thoughts and memories with the family may do so by directing them to Phil’s daughter, Colette, at[email protected].
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