A lot of disinformation and panic surrounded the events
, I happened to catch almost all of it on the Network Nooze as well as on the NYFD radio
, where there was less speculation.
East 72nd street runs out to the East River. (Most of the early news said Hudson
, that's a different river on the west side.)
Aircraft are allowed to fly in a limited "exclusion zone" over the East River, IIRC they quoted 800 or 1000 feet up to 1500 feet, from that area south. This is a "wedge" of airspace used mainly for sightseeing, below the approach patterns and below the radar
for LGA and therefore "free" from conflicting the LGA traffic which is in the surrounding area.
"Wittnesses say the plane was doing dips and rolls over the river. " Yeah, they also saw a helicopter fly into the building. So much for witnesses, that's very definitely NOT an area for aerobatics, although I'd believe he was flying erratically because of a hardware
failure. There were initial reports he did not have any radio
contact, then a fast late report last night that he DID place a Mayday call.
The early speculation is that whoever was flying (presumably a rusty Lidle being supervised by the instructor onboard) made a hard turn to port at the north end of the exclusion zone, intending to return back south down the East River, when something went wrong. If his turn was not hard enough, that building would have been the first high-rise he would have hit.
There is also some question about how high he was flying, that building numbers their floors in some peculiar way so he apparently hit the 30th to 31st floor, even though the apartments on those floors are being called 40th and 41st floor. 30 floors would put the impact point at about 300-325 feet above sea level there. IOW, he was well under the legal
height, which his instructor should have been very aware of.
From the first video (minutes after the impact) it was clearly a *light* aircraft hit, but most of the media shamelessy pandered to fear by repeating "at least, we don't think it is a terrorist attack" when the only significant damage was--literally--broken windows and a hot fuel
fire in two or three apartments. The outer wall of the building was completely intact, and that was clear on the live video.
NYFD responded almost casually, building up to four alarms over the first half hour or so. Considering the building's size, I was surprised they didn't call it out as multiple alarms to start with, but they were right about it being, essentially, a large kitchen fire nicely contained by a modern building.
Aircraft crashes in NYC
, home to two major airports (three if we annex Newark, as often reported) and a host of commuter airports, are pretty much a routine part of life. (Wheels, light aircraft are all over NYC, 24x7. There are also heliports and seaplanes active on the East River just a little further south, all the time.)
But really great business for the Nightly Nooze. (sigh) That got hours and hours out of what was essentially just another car crash in the sky.