Maloney and Nadler Blast FAA on Lack of Security Oversight of Low-Flying Aircraft

Apr 26, 2002
Press Release

Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D- Manhattan, Queens) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) are urging the FAA to address concerns regarding airspace security and the impact of low-flying aircraft on residential communities. The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center substantiated fears that low-flying aircraft are not only a nuisance to residential communities, but dangerous.

According to Rep. Maloney, "On September 10, 2002 if someone had written to the FAA and said 'I live in a New York City high-rise and I am worried about the safety of my family because a plane could fly into our building at any moment,' they would have been looked at like they were crazy. Now we all know that establishing more secure airspace is a necessity."

Rep. Nadler stated, "On September 11th, I watched with the rest of the nation as one of New York's greatest landmarks crumbled, because of two jetliners piloted by terrorists. The Trade Center was in my district, as are numerous other high-rise buildings. We cannot prevent every act of terrorism, but we must take all precautions, including the protection of high-rise buildings from an air attack. Likewise, we cannot prevent every airline accident, but we can and should ensure that should an accident happen, it not kill hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people on the ground."

Following the crash of Flight 587, which departed Kennedy Airport before crashing into the residential community of Belle Harbor, killing all 260 persons on aboard and 5 who were in homes on the ground, more stringent guidelines were implemented to ensure that flights no longer flew directly over residential communities in Queens. However, flights continue to be routed over some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Manhattan. "While the crash of Flight 587 was a great tragedy, the unfortunate reality is that had this plane crashed into a residential community in Manhattan, the death toll would have like been much higher," said Maloney.

The letter, addressed to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, urges the FAA to fulfill its mandate and complete a study on the impact of helicopter noise that was authorized by a section of the Aviation and Reform Spending Bill passed in the 2000 fiscal year. Though the bill specified that such a study was to be completed not later than 1 year after the enactment of the act, nearly two years later the study has not been completed. Meanwhile, the concerns of residents in affected communities, which include the districts of Representatives Maloney and Nadler respectively, continue to grow over air noise and air safety issues.

The representatives are asking that the FAA release the findings of the helicopter noise study, as promised, and that it offer serious recommendations for airspace security oversight, specifically in regards to low-flying planes and helicopters. Lastly, they are requesting that the FAA review current flight routes and propose alternatives, similar to those issued after the crash of Flight 587.