According to New York news outlets, a Piper Cherokee landed on Rockaway Beach Monday evening after the pilot claimed to have "teensy weensy" roughness in his engine. The landing prompted an immediate response by NYPD air and ground units who reported that the three people aboard were not injured. However, a recording of the event captured by LiveATC.net reveals that the pilot asked if he could land on the beach, and when a JFK controller said he could not, the pilot shortly reported both a sick passenger and the rough engine. You can hear the recording here (MP3). The aircraft had taken off from Farmingdale on Long Island, but its destination was unknown. According to NBC News, the landing occurred at Beach 56th St. and Shorefront Parkway.
The route is commonly flown by traffic transiting the New York area from Long Island and across New York Bay to the New Jersey shore. Aircraft typically fly the shoreline over Rockaway south of Kennedy Airport, whose tower provides traffic advisories. The FAA's New York FSDO is investigating the incident, according to FAA spokesman Jim Peters. The aircraft was impounded by the NYPD and the FAA plans to examine it for any evidence of mechanical anomalies. One news picture revealed that it was up to its wheel pants and saltwater.
The pilot was identified by New York area news outlets as James Maloney, 24. The two passengers were Clark Oler, 22, and Chelsea Protter, 21. The FAA says it appears that Maloney is a relatively recently certificated pilot. His currency and experience aren't known.