NYC flight rules after pitcher's death to be permanent
US restrictions affect small planes over Manhattan
WASHINGTON -- Flight restrictions imposed around Manhattan after New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed his single-engine plane into an apartment tower will be made permanent, government documents indicate.
The plan for the rule change in the New York City borough was revealed as the National Transportation Safety Board released papers yesterday detailing its investigation of the Oct. 11, 2006, crash that killed Lidle and his flight instructor.
"The pilot and owner was New York Yankee player Cory Lidle, and a California-based flight instructor was with him," the safety board said, also identifying Tyler Stanger elsewhere as the "passenger/flight instructor."
Included in the papers are toxicology reports showing that neither Lidle, 34, nor Stanger, 26, had drugs or alcohol in their systems. The safety board found the airplane's global positioning device and cockpit display unit were too badly damaged by the fiery crash to reveal any information.
Lidle owned the Cirrus SR-20 plane, and had taken it for a midday trip past the Statue of Liberty and north up the East River. The plane apparently ran into trouble in attempting to turn around and head back south.
The safety board's documents do not contain conclusions about what caused the accident, but laid out the facts and evidence gathered by investigators at the scene.
The agency does not spell out who was at the controls when it crashed, and due to the lack of data recovered from the plane, the safety board may have trouble reaching a conclusion on that issue. The matter has financial implications for Lidle's survivors. The life insurance policy Lidle carrid calls for a $450,000 life insurance benefit and has an accidental death benefit of $1.05 million.
However, the plan contains an exclusion for "any incident related to travel in an aircraft . . . while acting in any capacity other than as a passenger." That could mean the Lidle family would not be eligible for the $1.05 million.
After the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily ordered small, fixed-wing planes not to fly over the river, which runs along Manhattan's East Side, unless the pilot was in contact with air traffic controllers.
According to the safety board documents, the FAA on Dec. 12 "indicated that they would be proceeding with a rulemaking action to make the restrictions . . . permanently effective."
The restriction remains in place, an FAA spokesman said yesterday, but the spokesman could not immediately confirm that the agency planned to make the rule permanent.