ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Eric Lidle crash graphic courtesy of the NYT

As some of you may know, I'm a certificated pilot. I've been flying now for 4 years. When I heard about the Lidle crash into the NYC apartment building, I felt sadness at the loss of life that would inevitably come out of a crash of that magnitude. I was also concerned about the potential affect the crash would have on aviation regulations. But I also wanted to better understand the inevitable chain of events that led up to the crash.

The New York Times has an excellent series of graphics on its website illustrating the flight path the airplane took, and the nature of the east river VFR corridor. The only downside I have with the illustration is the depiction of the aircraft altitude as it circled the island. From the graphic it looks much higher than it ever would have been.

Some things to note, the east river corridor is exceedingly narrow. As noted, the typical procedure is to get permission to cross through LaGuardia airspace before entering the corridor. The time the plane entered the corridor till the time the plane impacted the apartment building was only 2-3 minutes. The entire flight lasted only 12 minutes. Things would have happened very rapidly.

James Fallows also has an article that effectively disputes some of the mechanical failure arguments at The Atlantic Online. Read the whole thing.

Also read this one and this one. From the latter, James echo's something I thought as well:

The first is the nightmare of the "box canyon." When I first heard about the accident, my mind skipped over the mention of "Upper East Side" and let me imagine that this had happened along the Hudson River, on the west side of Manhattan. I did so because that is the only route I had flown, and because it is so much easier and more "normal" a route for aircraft going around Manhattan. On the west side the river is relatively wide, and the course is direct. You watch like crazy for other aircraft, and you just keep going up or down the river
I, too, thought they must have been talking about the Hudson river VFR corridor. I didn't even know that an East river corridor was possible.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian