2002-05-04 / Editorial/Opinion

FAA: Not Responding Well To Rockaway’s Needs

FAA: Not Responding Well To Rockaway's Needs

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is a governmental agency that seems to march to its own drum. In mid-January, at a community meeting at PS 114, the agency announced a new and radical plan for departures from Runway 31L at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport. Beginning sometime, perhaps as early as February, the majority of planes using that runway would utilize a new, state-of-the-art computerized routing system that would take them over the Breezy Track rather than over Rockaway neighborhoods. At the very least, the agency's officials told the crowd, the planes would fly over Riis Park rather than Belle Harbor. It did not happen. The agency then said that it was too soon, that the plan would be in effect by March 12. That did not happen. The revised plan was to begin the new routes in April. That did not happen. Now, Congressman Anthony Weiner, who helped to negotiate the new plan, tells The Wave that the plan should begin June 13. We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile, the planes keep flying over Rockaway neighborhoods both day and night. Is there a danger? Seven pilots who fly the Airbus A300-600, the same model that crashed in Belle Harbor on November 12 of last year, have asked that the aircraft be grounded pending further inspections. The FAA has refused, saying that there is "no evidence" that there is a problem with the plane that would necessitate its grounding. How about the fact that the tail of an American Airlines Airbus A300-600 fell off over Jamaica Bay? How about the fact that more than 20 A300-600 pilots who regularly fly the plane have asked their union to find them other aircraft to fly? How about a number of recent A300 accidents? Those things surely sound like evidence of a problem to us, and we hope that we don't have to wait for another fatal crash for those problems to be addressed.


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