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.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…