East River Flight Restriction Likely Permanent

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The FAA will probably issue a new rule to permanently impose restrictions on VFR traffic above New York's East River, according to the NTSB. The Safety Board released documents on Monday in connection with a fatal airplane crash last October when New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, hit a Manhattan apartment building. The two were flying Lidle's Cirrus SR20 and tried to negotiate a 180-degree turn in the narrow airspace corridor above the river. The Safety Board documents also show that no evidence was found of drugs or alcohol in either pilot, according to The Associated Press. Investigators could not determine which of the men was flying the airplane at the time of the crash. According to radar data, the aircraft appears to have started its turn from a spot above the middle of the river, and then drifted to the west into the building. A temporary restriction requiring VFR fixed-wing aircraft (excluding seaplanes arriving or departing the New York City seaplane base) to contact air traffic control while in the airspace has been in place since the accident. It is expected that seaplane, as well as helicopter, operations in the river will also be exempt from any permanent rule.