Rep. Maloney: NTSB Report on East Side Plane Crash Underscores Need for Permanent Flight Restrictions Over East River
New York, NY – In response to today’s report by the National Transportation Safety Board on the October 2006 plane crash on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to permanently prohibit aircraft from flying over the East River unless pilots receive prior permission from and are controlled by air traffic control. The FAA imposed such flight restrictions on a temporary basis last October; in February, the Administration proposed making the restrictions permanent, but has not yet formally done so. Maloney represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the site of last year’s crash.
“Today’s report shows that pilots have little or no room for error in the East River corridor,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “This tragedy proved that unsupervised aircraft and high-rise buildings are a deadly combination. I urge the FAA to heed the report’s recommendations and make permanent its current flight restrictions over the East River.”
In February, Maloney wrote to FAA Commissioner Marion Blakey urging her to make the restrictions permanent and expand them to include commercial helicopters, as well.
February 6, 2007: Rep. Maloney on FAA Proposal to Make East River Flight Restrictions Permanent
October 13, 2006: Rep. Maloney Reacts to New FAA Rules on East River Flights
Congresswoman Maloney has long expressed concern about helicopters and plane flights over Manhattan, the dangers of which were evidenced by helicopter crashes into the East River in 2004 and 1997. Maloney introduced the Helicopter Noise and Safety Act to require the FAA to study and address problems caused by helicopter flights over urban areas, a version of which was signed into law in 1999.
On April 27, 2006, in response to the FAA’s New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Plan, the Congresswoman submitted testimony expressing grave concerns about the proposal, which would increase flights over New York City. In her testimony she said: “Despite tragic events like September 11, flights continue to be routed over New York City, which features some of the country’s most densely populated neighborhoods. The danger of a low flying plane crashing into a residential or commercial building is an ever-present fear for the community.” In her testimony, she also expressed concerns about numerous incidents in which plane parts have fallen off and hit residential communities.