2002-05-18 / Front Page

FAA Sets June 13 For GPS Rules

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

Arlene Salac, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has told The Wave that the new departure procedures from JFK Airport’s Runway 31L, procedures that utilize a Global Positioning System (GPS) will begin on June 13.

The implementation of the GPS system, which was promised to Rockaway at the end of last year, should keep 70 percent of the flights departing that runway from flying over residential areas of the peninsula.

Instead of overflying Rockaway, flights will now take the "Breezy Track" over the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge or over uninhabited areas of Riis Park.

The new procedures were set to begin in February, but the FAA found some "glitches" in the procedure and had to iron them out.

"We let our pilots fly the routes first, to make sure they are proper and safe routes to fly," Salac says. "If the route is safe, then everybody flies it."

Salac says that final testing on the routes began on May 15.

The new procedures were promised to the community at a meeting held at PS 114 in the wake of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor.

The meeting, hosted by Congressman Anthony Weiner, promised to keep the majority of flights during evening hours away from residential areas.

Many residents, however, remained skeptical and planes have continued to fly over Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor almost every night since that time.

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