Pilots dread flying into NYC’s airports

You are looking at an aerial shot of John F. Kennedy airport in Queens.

Close calls happen far more often at New York’s airports than fliers might like to know.

Two weeks after an Air France Airbus clipped a smaller plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport, dozens of anonymous complaints in the Aviation Safety Reporting System, a confidential website for pilots and others to disclose problems, reveal regular mishaps at LaGuardia Airport and Kennedy.

One pilot recounts accidentally landing on a runway meant for departures. Another angrily wrote he was asked to clear a plane for takeoff that had documented mechanical problems. And one plane was cleared to cross a runway but screeched to a halt at the last minute when another aircraft began its descent.

“Problems like that occur daily in those airports,” said retired United Airlines pilot Ross Aimer, who was based in New York for 15 years.

Both LaGuardia and JFK are headaches even for the most seasoned pilots, Aimer said.

“It takes a lot out of a pilot just making a simple approach,” he told Metro. “I’m not saying it’s a thing for disaster, but it’s pretty tough.”

From the mouth of a pilot

“You’re always on edge going into those airports,” Aimer said of JFK and LaGuardia. LaGuardia’s runways are shorter than most, he said. That, combined with the hundreds of aircraft buzzing around the city — and nearly constant weather conditions — make it an area many pilots would simply prefer to avoid. “Just imagine yourself in a bad traffic situation on the Triborough Bridge — all the stop and go, all the airplanes congested on the taxiways.” At Kennedy, foreign flights mean dozens of different languages in traffic conversations.

Close calls

» December 2010 at LGA: A captain complained he was asked to clear a malfunctioning aircraft. “Someone was trying to strongarm me into flying an aircraft that both myself and the dispatcher deemed UNSAFE to fly.”
» June 2010 at JFK: A JFK controller reports watching an airplane skid off the
runway, taking out lights. “Don’t land on runways when there is a big crosswind. Safety should be our main focus, not delays!”
» March 2010 at LGA: A captain complained that only one tower controller was on duty. “One controller on duty to handle all traffic movements in the air and on the ground is dangerously wrong.”
» February 2010 at LGA: “With Ground Control instructing aircraft to taxi fast, at night, they are absolutely setting up a collision.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at @AlisonatMetro.


'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.


New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…


NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.


Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…


Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.


M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"


Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.


Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.


Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.


Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.


Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.


New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.


From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.


Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.


MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.