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FAA rejects military flight near NYC

Associated Press / May 12, 2009
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NEW YORK - The Federal Aviation Administration turned down a Navy request to fly a patrol aircraft past Manhattan yesterday, two weeks after a nerve-racking Air Force photo shoot over the Statue of Liberty caused a brief panic.

The agency said it refused clearance for the flight down the Hudson River because the Navy had given it only a few hours notice of its plans.

The P-3 Orion reconnaissance plane from the US Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine, was to have flown past the city, then headed back north, sometime around 10:30 a.m.

It was to have flown at around 3,000 feet, well above New York's tallest skyscrapers, in an air corridor where planes of a similar size are a common sight.

But after city officials were informed and higher-level FAA officials learned about the request, they declined permission for the flight, saying unannounced military flybys were a bad idea.

Two weeks ago, some office workers near the World Trade Center site and across the river in New Jersey ran for cover when a Boeing 747 sometimes used as Air Force One circled the harbor at 1,000 feet with a fighter jet in tow. The photo shoot became a scandal and led to the resignation of the White House official who authorized it.

This time, authorities 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.