2002-10-26 / Editorial/Opinion

The Planes Keep Flying

The Planes Keep Flying

On January 20 of this year, Congressman Anthony Weiner hosted a meeting at PS 114 in Belle Harbor to address the problem of aircraft overflying the west end of the Rockaway peninsula. The meeting took place about five weeks after American Airlines Flight 587 had crashed into Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue. Weiner and officials from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) presented a bold new plan, utilizing global positioning technology, which would "reduce the number of planes flying over the peninsula by 70 percent." According to Weiner, the new flight paths would take the majority of planes departing Runway 31L out over the "Breezy Track (the Marine Parkway Bridge Route) or, as an alternative, over Riis Park. The plan was to begin in mid February. The headline on The Wave the following Saturday, January 26, said "Wait and See: Locals Skeptical About New FAA Plan." They were right to be. It is now eight months later (almost a year after the horrendous crash), and the bold, new plan has yet to be fully implemented. Why? We get the same old answers from the FAA. The departing flights will be too close to flights arriving at LaGuardia Airport. It is too dangerous for some planes to use the new flight paths, so they have to cut across Rockaway. Because of fuel and safety considerations, the Concorde had to come directly over Rockaway. The new technology is too expensive for some airlines in light of reduced traffic after September 11. An early version of the new technology did not work and they are developing a new version. The pilots do not obey the FAA mandates. The wind is in the wrong direction. They are working on a new, comprehensive plan that will change all flight paths. Yadda, yadda, yadda. We are tired of excuses from Congressman Weiner and we are tired of excuses from the FAA. Weiner will be in Rockaway for a meeting with the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association on October 30. The meeting will be held at the Beach Club at 7:30. Every Rockaway resident who looks up every time a plane passes over should plan to attend. Both Weiner and the FAA need to know that Rockaway is tired of excuses and that we are not going to take it anymore.

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