The New York Times reports that the feds went to some length to let New York officials know that the photo shoot involving a VC-25, the Air Force version of the 747 used to transport the president, and the fighter was planned for over the city. While many agencies were informed, none bothered to alert the public or the media and according to one report, the police department was warned not to tell anyone.
Here’s a quote from the NYT article:
The Police Department confirmed that it had been notified about the event but said it had been barred from alerting the public. “The flight of a VC-25 aircraft and F-16 fighters this morning was authorized by the F.A.A. for the vicinity of the Statue of Liberty with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it but to direct any inquiries to the F.A.A. Air Traffic Security Coordinator,” the Police Department said in a statement.
Even with the notification, it was a stupid and tasteless stunt by the White House Military Office. While it infuriates me that they would be so clueless about the possible impact on the city, it amuses me that not even the federal and city officials can coordinate such a simple thing and then they wonder why average general aviation pilots occasionally screw up and mistakenly enter a TFR, causing confusion for those at the same agencies.
As happens when a GA pilot stumbles into airspace where he is not supposed to be, I hope someone in charge of the VC-25 operation gets a good talking to by someone wearing a badge . Makes me wonder if the VC-25 pilots were forced to lie face down on the tarmac with a gun pointing at them as we’ve seen happen to GA pilots.