Plane crash NYC: Is general aviation in jeopardy?

Posted By on October 12, 2006

Cirrus SR20I ‘m saddened by the loss Cory Lidle (and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger – see link) who besides being a major league baseball pitcher, was also a relatively new pilot who enjoyed flying. He purchase his new Cirrus SR20 in July, and had planned on spending more time flying during the off season from the Yankees. As I watched some of the news coverage today, reporters were quick to comment that one of the bodies that dropped from the crashed plane was Cory Lidle, most likely well before his wife and son even heard that his plane had crashed. (the media was too quick to release Cory Lidle’s name in my opinion) I feel for the family of both pilot and passenger, but see it as fortunate that no other injuries were reported.

NYT mapLidle’s plane left Teterboro Airport in New Jersey at about 2:30 pm, and that radar indicated it circled the Statute of Liberty before heading up the narrow uncontrolled airspace corridor of the East River. Radar tracks show the small private plane as it flew near the 59th Street Bridge, but then at 2:42 pm a 911 call came in indicating a plane had crashed into a building on 72nd Street. The single engine Cirrus struck at about the 40th or 41st floors of the Belaire apartment high-rise. Flames shot out of the building and smoke streamed up into the sky with what was a visible reminder of what happened in New York City 5 years and one month to the day. Thankfully this wasn’t terrorism and all emergency personal responded professionally to evacuate people were evacuated and the fire was put out. Early thoughts from some suspect that the noticeable lack of fuel or fuel smell could indicate that the airplane ran out of fuel; the NTSB will immediately be investigating those records as well as all other possibilities.

Unfortunately the celebrity crash in New York City is front page news and it places private pilots and their aircraft under the microscope. I’m already hearing suggestions that legislators move toward restricting more airspace and tightening up security at smaller general aviation airports. Those of us who appreciate small private aircraft and flying are once again concerned that small airports and the industry that supports them will see tighter legislation and reduction of airspace. Let’s hope cooler heads will look at the overall safety in general aviation … especially for those on the ground, but more than likely pilots will have to say goodbye to the East River corridor and freedom to circle the Statue of Liberty. (see EAA link)

Cory Lidle and NYC plane crash | FoxNews clip
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