NTSB Wants East River TFR Made Permanent
The NTSB has written the FAA asking it to permanently close the East River Exclusion Area to uncontrolled, non-amphibious VFR traffic in light of its findings in the Cory Lidle crash. Earlier this month, the NTSB determined that whoever was flying the Cirrus SR20 -- Lidle, a New York Yankees pitcher, or his instructor, Tyler Stanger -- misjudged a 180-degree turn at the north end of the airspace while trying to avoid busting the Class B that borders it. They both died when the plane hit an apartment building, bounced off and caught fire on the street below. A bystander was seriously injured. The FAA imposed a temporary flight restriction (TFR) banning VFR flights by non-amphibious aircraft (there's a seaplane base on the river) unless they're under direct control by ATC. The NTSB says the FAA promised to make the ban permanent but hasn't done so and that means that charts can't be changed. The NTSB says the only way to get out of the narrow strip of VFR airspace is to make a 180 "or other abrupt maneuver" or to ask for clearance in the Class B south of LaGuardia. Although it doesn't come out and say so, the tone of the letter implies that sightseeing flights like Lidle's and Stanger's shouldn't be allowed in that very busy airspace. The crash has spawned a rash of lawsuits. Several owners of apartments damaged by the crash are suing Lidle's estate and Lidle's family is suing Cirrus claiming, despite the NTSB findings, that a control failure caused the crash.