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Disneyland Heliport

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Disneyland Heliport was a heliport that operated at Disneyland from 1956 until circa 1970, and briefly again in 1972. The heliport was connected to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by 15-minute flights operated by Los Angeles Airways, and later, Golden West Airlines. The heliport largely ceased operations after two fatal crashes in 1968, one originating from the park and one destined to the park, which claimed the lives of 44 people in total.


The first location of the Disneyland Heliport opened in 1956, immediately southeast of Tomorrowland, with helicopter airline Los Angeles Airways (LAA) operating Sikorsky S-55, which could carry up to 12 passengers. Circa 1957, the Disneyland Railroad expanded outward towards Harbor Boulevard, requiring that the heliport move south, roughly to the location of the present-day Disneyland Resort Transportation Center. The heliport would relocate to the opposite side of the park in 1960, north of the Disneyland Hotel, in what is the present-day parking area for Downtown Disney. In 1962, LAA became the launch customer of the civilian Sikorsky S-61L airliner, expanding passenger capacity to 28.

On May 22, 1968, Los Angeles Airways Flight 841, a Sikorsky S-61L (tail number N303Y), departed Disneyland, carrying 20 passengers and 3 crew members. The helicopter was en route to LAX, flying over the city of Paramount, when its pilots issued a distress call to air traffic control. The aircraft crashed into a dairy farm, killing all 23 people on board, in what was, at the time, the deadliest helicopter accident in U.S. history, and likely the deadliest accident originating from or in a Disney theme park. Less than three months later, on August 16, 1968, LAA Flight 417, another S-61L (tail number N300Y), departed LAX en route to Disneyland with 18 passengers and 3 crew members, when several eyewitnesses reported seeing the rotor blade separate from the aircraft, which fell from approximately 1,200 to 1,500 feet and crashed in Lueders Park in the city of Compton, fatally injuring all onboard.

Following the crash, flights to Disneyland were subsequently suspended. Los Angeles Airways lost its contract to carry mail from the United States Post Office and eventually went out of business in 1971, after failing to be acquired by Golden West Airlines. In 1972, Golden West would resume helicopter flights between LAX and Disneyland, but this would only last for five months before service was again ended.

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