Since we're talking about how uptight people can be these days, I think I heard something about a Continental plane that was being used as a military charter to bring a bunch of soldiers back home and as sort of a "welcome home" deal the pilot circled the Statue of Liberty a few times and of course, people freaked out. He was cleared by ATC though, so he wasn't violating anything. Just your ordinary folks complaining about airplanes.
Edited about a minute later: I just found this story online...
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Jet shakes Statue of Liberty
A low flying jet that shook the Statue of Liberty and cruised over Manhattan has sparked fears of a repeat of September 11.
New Yorkers jammed emergency phone lines after seeing the Continental Airlines Boeing 777 at as little as 2,000ft above the city.
It turned out the plane was carrying US troops home from Iraq and was giving its passengers a better view of the Statue of Liberty.
Air traffic control officials said they regretted any concern the flight caused and promised it would not happen again.
They also said the plane never flew lower than 3,000ft, but city officials said it was at 2,000ft.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "Considering the world we live in and New York City's recent history, one would expect a little more concern, sensitivity and notice from when they authorise a plane to fly at that altitude over lower Manhattan."
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...and here's another one...
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Jet buzzes Statue of Liberty
By DAVID SALTONSTALL, MARTIN MBUGUA and GREG GITTRICH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
A jumbo jet — larger than either of the planes that exploded into the twin towers — flew low along the Hudson River and buzzed the Statue of Liberty yesterday before veering toward the heart of midtown.
This time, terrorists were not behind the controls. The plane was carrying U.S. troops on their way home from Iraq.
But almost no one watching from below knew that — and the jittery city braced for the worst.
Mayor Bloomberg got only a two-minute heads-up from the Federal Aviation Administration that they had given the pilot special permission for the unusual flyby.
"Considering the world we live in and New York City's recent history, one would expect a little more concern, sensitivity and notice from the FAA when they authorize a plane to fly at that altitude over lower Manhattan," said a clearly annoyed Bloomberg.
For nearly eight minutes, fire officials thought a plane might have crashed in the East River.
The first 911 call came in at 8:32 in the morning. The frantic voice on the phone said there was "a plane down in the river."
Several more emergency calls poured in, and the FDNY immediately dispatched three engine companies, two ladder trucks and a battalion chief to the edge of the East River near Broad St.
The FDNY's Marine Co. 6 also rushed to the scene, along with specialized airplane-crash units.
When the first crew arrived, they thankfully found nothing amiss, said FDNY spokesman Paul Iannizzotto.
Officials said the pilot of Continental Airlines Flight 3021 had made a special request to fly low around the city. The idea was to offer the heroic passengers a better view of the Statue of Liberty and the city's famed skyline.
The FAA insisted the jet never flew lower than 3,000 feet, a height it called safe. City officials disagreed, saying the plane was cruising about 2,000 feet.
The wide-bodied aircraft — a Boeing 777 — began its descent near West Point, flew south along the Hudson, circled the Statue of Liberty, doubled back up the East River and crossed over into midtown. It then queued up to land at Newark airport.
Similar flybys have been approved for jets carrying home troops from Afghanistan, said FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac. But it won't happen again. "We have issued orders to our local facilities that we will not be using this procedure," she said. "And we regret any concern that this has caused residents of the City of New York."
Originally published on May 15, 2003
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When I think about it though, if I saw an airliner flying low over a city and nobody told me it was okay and for a special occasion, I'd be a little freaked out too... They probably should have let everyone know beforehand...