2002-04-27 / Front Page

FAA: Planes Will Continue To Overfly Rockaway

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

An unidentified Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) representative has told Rockaway resident Danny Ruscillo that planes will continue to fly over his home on Beach 124 Street.

Ruscillo, an aviation activist, sent E-Mail to the agency asking why planes keep flying over his home despite the promise of Congressman Anthony Weiner and the FAA that aircraft departing JFK’s Runway 31L would use the "Bridge Climb" a departure route that would take them over the Marine Parkway Bridge.

He also asked whether the continued flights that seemed to target his block had anything to do with his recent letter to The Wave.

"The departing aircraft over 124th Street has nothing to do with your article," an FAA official whose screen name is "9-AEA-Noise@aea.faa.gov," wrote back to Ruscillo. "The Bridge Climb is used when possible. Planes will continue to overfly Beach 124th Street."

An attempt by The Wave to find out the name of the person whose screen name is 9-AEA-Noise@aea.faa.gov was fruitless. E-mails to that address went unanswered. An FAA spokesperson refused to divulge his or her identity.

The FAA, along with Congressman Anthony Weiner, had promised the Rockaway community at a meeting held at PS 114 in January that aircraft departing JFK on Runway 31L (the runway used by the majority of flights departing the airport for southern routes) would soon begin using a global positioning computer system that would take aircraft that usually overfly Rockaway out over the Marine Parkway Bridge or, as an alternative, over Riis Park.

This has not happened. Planes continue to overfly Rockaway on a regular basis.

"Planes are flying over my house on an unreal rate, every few minutes," Ruscillo said to the FAA. "Did your flight path over the water disappear today? I would like an answer."

The answer from 9-AEA-Noise@aea.faa.gov was not what either Ruscillo or Rockaway residents in general wanted to hear.

Nor, was it what Congressman Weiner wanted to hear.

Weiner says he is "frustrated" by the fact that the FAA can no longer provide instant maps of departure routes. The agency argues that its capability to provide that kind of information was destroyed with the World Trade Center in September.

"I have many concerns, as the people in Rockaway do, to the continued overflights of the peninsula," Weiner told The Wave. "The FAA has not responded well to this problem."

Weiner says that he sent a letter to the FAA with four questions that he wanted answered by the agency.

In response, the FAA told Weiner that the information he wanted was largely "not available" because of the WTC disaster.

They did tell him, however, that the state-of-the-art computer system that was promised for April would now not be on line until June 13.

"They did not explain that delay to me," he said. "They just told me that it was not ready."

Weiner is also worried that the FAA is using Runway Four, which puts planes over Broad Channel, as an outlet to cut the usage of 31L.

"There seem to be more planes going out over Broad Channel, and that is not an answer to Rockaway’s problems," he says.

"We really need these departure statistics to see what is actually going on," he adds. "Until we get that, we really will not know where we are at."

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