FAA stops another NYC flyover

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May 11, 2009 11:36:14 AM PDT
The Federal Aviation Administration said it turned down a U.S. Navy request to fly a patrol aircraft past Manhattan on Monday, two weeks after a government photo shoot caused a brief panic near ground zero. A Navy unit from Brunswick, Maine, wanted to fly a P-3 Orion reconnaissance plane up and down the Hudson at about 3,000 feet, well above New York's tallest skyscrapers, at around 10:30 a.m., the FAA said. After city officials were informed and higher-level FAA officials learned about the request, they declined permission for the flight.

Two weeks ago, a Boeing 747 sometimes used as Air Force One flew over the Hudson at around 1,000 feet while on a publicity assignment, causing a brief panic among office workers near the former World Trade Center site. The photo shoot became a scandal and led to the resignation of the White House official who authorized it.

This time, authorities apparently took no chances.

After the FAA alerted the mayor's office in the morning that the flight would take place, the city sent out a public notification warning that a military plane would be in the air.

Shortly thereafter, the FAA told the Navy the mission was off. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city did not ask for the flight to be canceled, but did tell the FAA they would have preferred more notice.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, whose city lies across the Hudson from Manhattan, said it was right to cancel the flight.

"This was a mistake that would have repeated the whole stupid and alarming process that occurred two weeks ago," he said, referring to the April 27 Boeing flyover near the Statue of Liberty.

A spokesman for the U.S. Naval Air Station in Brunswick did not immediately return a phone message.

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