Air Force One Flyby Causes Brief Panic In NYC
"A Boeing 747 that serves as an Air Force One backup and two F-16 fighters escorting it caused a brief panic among office workers at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan this morning, as large numbers evacuated the buildings. The incident was also spurred evacuations in Jersey City across the Hudson River from Manhattan."
Two F-16 fighters seems incorrect: the photos and the reports indicate only one. However, who ever thought this "photo op" was a good idea? I can't possibly imagine that the ensuing panic and bad press was unforeseeable. Is this just a cock-up? If it is, it's a real bad one.
Some pictures: (for the bottom one, ripped the link from the WSJ Flash slideshow for your convenience)
Source: Wall Street Journal
FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic
The actual memo sent out by the FAA is as follows:
FROM: FAA Air Traffic System Operations Security (AJR-2)
SUBJECT: Flight Notification- New York City -Statue of Liberty Photo Op, Upper New York Bay / Newark Bay on April 27, 2009, 10:00L. (amended 4/23)
The information in this document is considered FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, and should only be shared with persons with a need to know. Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media.
1. The Department of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will conduct a flying photo op in the New York City Area on April 27, 2009 involving a transport and fighter aircraft. Below are the details regarding the operation.
• Date: Monday April 27, 2009 (Primary), April 28 or April 30 (weather backup dates)
• Number / Type Aircraft: 1 VC-25 and 2 F-16s. Actual photo op will only have VC25 and 1 F16.
• Callsign: VENUS01
• Departure point: ADW
• Arrival point: ADW
• Flight Plan: Crews will file two separate IFR flight plans:
ADW-JFK: KADW.. PALEO V44 SIE CAMRN4 JFK
Requested altitude FL190B210
EWR-ADW: KEWR..EWR7.BIGGY J75 MXE V378 BAL KADW
• Planned Departure Time: 0930 approximately
• Planned Time On Photo Op Location: 10:00 -10:30L.
• Planned Photo Op Altitude: 1000-1500ft
• Number of Passes: 2, possibly 3
The aircraft will depart ADW via IFR clearance as a three (3) ship formation to Sea Isle (SIE). At SIE one (1) of the fighters will leave the flight and return to ADW IFR via SIE ATR V308 BILIT ADW.
The VC25 and 1 F16 will proceed IFR to CAMRN intersection south of JFK. In the vicinity of CAMRN intersection the aircraft will cancel IFR and proceed VFR with New York TRACON (N90) towards the Verranzano Bridge. N90 will hand the aircraft off to Newark Tower (EWR) for the flight in the Upper NY and Newark Bay. Upon completion of the final pass the aircraft will be treated as a EWR departure and pickup an IFR clearance back to ADW.
The photo op portion of the flight will be VFR in accordance with the specified ground track as per the attached map (Attachment 1). On the northbound flight segments the fighter aircraft will be offset to the east by approximately ½ mile. During the southbound flight segment the fighter will re-position to remain offset to the aircraft within the depicted box.
The operation will be monitored by FAA Air Traffic Security Coordinators (ATSC) at the Domestic Event Network at FAA Headquarters from start to finish. Any questions or issues can be directed to the FAA ATSC at the DEN. The FAA ATSC can be reached at (202) 493-5107.
The Public Affairs posture for this effort is passive. No media or press releases are planned. Please direct all media inquiries to the FAA Air Traffic Security Coordinator at (202) 493-5107. Due to the possibility of public concern regarding DOD aircraft flying at low levels, coordination with Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies, emergency operations centers and aviation units has been accomplished.
JAMES J. JOHNSTON, FAA Air Traffic
AJR-2 System Operations Security