Is the FAA Too Skittish About Plane Scares Now?


The FAA, still reeling from the notorious flyby photo shoot a couple of weeks ago, has put the kibosh on another flight over the city. The flight, which was either supposed to be a present for a retiring Navy pilot or a standard training exercise, according to conflicting reports, would have taken place at 3,000 feet above the Hudson and was planned for yesterday morning, but FAA higher-ups canceled it once they got wind of it. The Post claims that “sanity prevailed” with the decision, but it seems to us like quite the opposite. Here’s the thing: While we appreciate the FAA’s newfound sensitivity, New Yorkers don’t need to be coddled. We’ve seen airplanes before. Many times. It rarely causes us to freak out.

What panicked everyone a couple of weeks go was that (a) the passenger jet was repeatedly circling above the city, (b) at extremely low altitudes, (c) trailed by military fighter jets, and (d) nobody except a handful of the city’s middle management knew why. All it takes is a little more prior notification, a little less resemblance to a terrorist attack, and we’ll be fine. As Bloomberg pointed out, yesterday’s flight would have been at a “pretty high” altitude and “every agency knew” about it beforehand, as did those who have signed up for Notify NYC. So, please, FAA, don’t cancel every flight for the rest of time on behalf of our supposed fragility. We have a reputation to uphold.

F.A.A. Rejects Navy Request for Low Flight Over Hudson [NYT]