You have to hear this one to believe it

April 8, 2011 by Mike Collins

I’m still scratching my head over the 24-year-old pilot who landed a Piper Archer on New York City’s Rockaway Beach–about three miles from John F. Kennedy International Airport–on Monday night, and then reportedly told authorities afterwards that “It happens all the time in Alaska!” They apparentlyweren’t amused.

His conversation with air traffic control is downright bizarre, and the controller seemed to do everything he could to discourage the landing. The pilot was very careful not to declare an emergency.

The FAA is still looking into theĀ incident. If you were the investigator assigned to this matter, what would you do?

One Response to “You have to hear this one to believe it”

  1. Marc Newman Says:

    I agree with the cop who was interviewed. The guy is a jerk.

    There is only one question that needs to be asked, “Did the pilot put life or property in danger due to his actions or inactions?” Putting the feelings aside everyone has about if it’s okay to land on a beach in New York, “was the pilot trained in beach landings?” “How many soft field landings had he done?” This isn’t an issue of how safe the aircraft was, but how competent the pilot was as performing the task. I don’t see it as a legal issue of weather it’s okay to land on a New York beach. If FAA minimums were observed, then it’s a local law enforcement issue.

    The pilot incriminates himself when he says that he’s going to make a precautionary landing. A precautionary landing is done into known conditions. eg. If the pilot is unsure with how much fuel he has he can make a precautionary landing to check his fuel, and/or get more. What a rational pilot doesn’t do is make a precautionary landing on a beach when there are perfectly good airports nearby.

    This whole matter is about attitude. If the engine was failing, then the pilot should have declared an emergency. If the engine was fine, then landing on the beach with no beach landing experience was unsafe. Either way – he did the wrong thing, was putting people and property in jeopardy, and was not behaving responsibly.

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