Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

The Plane Truth

I emailed my Uncle Dave about the plane crash in NYC since he is a long time licensed pilot based in NYC, and he phoned me and made the following points:

- The route Lidle was on is a standard sightseeing tour which leaves NJ, circles the Statue of Liberty, and requires a sharp left-hand turn across Manhattan before reaching 82nd Street. Lidle's plane hit the building with 10 blocks to spare.
- The route has been standard for at least 30 years, and in his opinion there is no reason to change it or eliminate it.
- It's a challenging route under the best of conditions, because the turn also requires a sharp climb to clear the high-rises and reach the 1100-foot ceiling which is the upper limit for that route.The reason for the cap is commercial flights are routed in the airspace above that.
- He thinks what happened is the climb and bank caused the plane to go into a stall spin, as the pilot either banked too steeply or pulled up too sharply, or both.
- He pointed out that both pilots were from California, did not know the area, and though one was an instructor, he was only 26 years old and not very experienced even in his own neighborhood.
- Uncle Dave described part of the problem as "the pilot had too much money". He bought a plane which was more complex than he was capable of flying. Edit add: He mentioned the JFK, Jr. plane crash as an example of this.
- And they were both pretty stupid to take the plane out when it was overcast, with a ceiling below the top of their flight pattern. Not very bright for VFR flying.

Uncle Dave earned his license in 1971, and flew out of Teterboro, the same airport Lidle took off from. He points out that he is not an expert on this route, having never flown it himself.

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