The 24-year-old pilot who landed a Piper Warrior with two passengers onboard on Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y., Monday reportedly told police he got the idea from Discovery Channel’s reality TV series Flying Wild Alaska. The show depicts the flying exploits of commercial pilots in Alaska where beach landings are relatively more common than they are in New York. Jason Maloney, 24, of Cornwall, N.Y., hasn’t been charged with anything yet but the FAA is likely to have something to say about his decision to set the Warrior down on the famous beach despite an air traffic controller’s suggestion that he not. Click here to listen to the ATC tape. In addition to the FAA, NYPD, Port Authority and likely several other organizations, Maloney will have some explaining to do with the plane’s owner and insurer.
The tide was out when he landed. At high tide the plane was up to its wings in salt water, which, at a minimum, will likely result in a thorough cleaning and inspection before it’s airworthy. Maloney announced his intention to land on the beach due to an alleged “teensy teensy” roughness in the engine and a sick passenger but the unconventional nature of his reports to ATC might play a role in the FAA investigation. There were no injuries.