Winds A Factor In Lidle Crash
The NTSB says a 13-knot easterly wind may have contributed to the circumstances that led to the crash of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle’s Cirrus SR20 into a Manhattan apartment building on Oct. 11. An update to its investigation issued Friday suggests the brisk breeze would have effectively decreased the turning space available for the aircraft by 400 feet as Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger made a U-turn near the end of the East River exclusion area, a VFR sightseeing route that terminated near where the crash occurred. Although it doesn’t come right out and say it, the report invites speculation that whoever was flying initially misjudged the available turning room and, while banking sharply to avoid the building, stalled the airplane. The East River exclusion area was a finger of VFR airspace over the river that extended north to the boundary of La Guardia Airport’s surface Class B. To avoid requesting clearance into the La Guardia airspace, those flying north in the zone, as Lidle and Stanger were, had to make a U-turn. Shortly after the crash, the FAA issued a NOTAM that eliminated that impetus by requiring all flights in the corridor (except helicopters and seaplanes operating from a base on the river) to be under active ATC control.