2006 New York City plane crash
The Belaire building after the fire caused by the crash was extinguished.
|Date||October 11, 2006|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain (building)|
|Site||The Belaire, New York City|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||21 (in building, including
|Aircraft type||Cirrus SR20|
|Flight origin||Teterboro Airport
Teterboro, New Jersey
The 2006 New York City plane crash occurred on October 11, 2006, when a Cirrus SR20 general aviation, fixed-wing, single-engine light aircraft crashed into the Belaire Apartments in New York City at about 2:42 p.m. local time (18:42 UTC). The aircraft struck the north side of the building, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, causing a fire in several apartments, which was extinguished within two hours.
Both people aboard the aircraft were killed in the accident: New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his certified flight instructor Tyler Stanger. Twenty-one people were injured, including eleven firefighters. An apartment resident, Ilana Benhuri, was hospitalized for a month with severe burns incurred when the post-impact fire engulfed her apartment.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Cirrus SR20 aircraft, tail number N929CD, was owned by Lidle. On May 1, 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the probable cause of the crash was pilot error. The NTSB was unable to determine which person was flying the aircraft at the time of the crash.
Immediately before the crash, radar measurements show Lidle's aircraft was flying at 112 mph (180 km/h) at 700 feet (210 m) altitude in the East River VFR corridor, an area which former NTSB official Peter Goelz described as "very tricky" due to its narrow width and frequent congestion. The VFR corridor ends abruptly at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island. Aircraft must receive an air traffic control clearance to proceed beyond the boundaries of the corridor, or else make a sharp U-turn and return the way they came. Lidle's plane flew north along the corridor almost to the end before executing a turn and hitting the north face of the building along the river.
The airplane struck the floor numbered 40th (actually 30 flights of stairs above the street) of the Belaire building at 524 East 72nd Street. The Belaire is a 42-story condominium tower containing 183 apartments, as well as a health club, garage, and pool.
Crash into the building
The plane hit the 30th-floor apartment numbered 40ABG, owned by Dr. Parviz Benhuri and his wife Ilana, the latter of whom was seated in the room when the plane crashed and sustained shrapnel injuries and burns. Her housekeeper was also present and helped her escape. Among the other residents of the mixed-use high-rise is novelist Carol Higgins Clark, a resident on the 38th floor, who was interviewed by CBS Radio after she arrived at the building shortly after the crash.
The Belaire has guest facilities for family members of patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery, to which it is connected via a causeway on the third floor. Hospital spokeswoman Phyllis Fisher reported that no patients were in the high-rise building and operations at the hospital across the street were not affected.
WNBC-TV reported that the aircraft had departed from Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, at 2:29 pm local time (18:29 UTC). According to multiple reports, Lidle planned on flying to Tennessee, where he had a hotel room booked for the night, then to Dallas, Texas, and finally on to his home in California. There was no indication that the aircraft's Ballistic Recovery Systems emergency parachute, designed to bring the small plane down safely, was deployed. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said the plane circled the Statue of Liberty before flying north up the East River and disappeared from radar near the Queensboro Bridge. The FAA confirmed that the plane was flying under visual flight rules (VFR) and had attracted no special attention from air traffic controllers or NORAD before the crash. The aircraft took a hard U-shaped turn before it hit the building.
Reactions to the crash
In an interview Lidle gave about a month earlier, he stated he had been a pilot for seven months and had flown about 95 solo hours. The crash garnered extra attention because of superficial similarities to the September 11 attacks in New York City (whose fifth anniversary had occurred one month earlier). U.S. officials said that NORAD scrambled fighter aircraft over numerous American and Canadian cities for Combat Air Patrol, and that U.S. President George W. Bush was informed about the situation, but that these were precautionary measures only. The FBI quickly announced there was no reason to suspect that the crash was an act of terrorism.
LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport did not experience delays from the crash. Police cordoned off several blocks at the peak of the confusion, but subway and ferry services continued without interruption.
The FAA initially imposed a temporary flight restriction on an area within one nautical mile (1.9 km) of the scene, from ground level to 1,500 feet (460 m) altitude. This restriction, routine for emergency scenes, was lifted the next day. New York Governor George Pataki called for permanent restrictions.
On October 13, 2006, two days after the crash, the FAA banned all fixed-winged aircraft from the East River corridor unless in contact with local air traffic control. The new rule, which took effect immediately, required all small aircraft (with the exception of helicopters and certain seaplanes) to seek the approval of and stay in contact with air traffic control while in the corridor. The FAA cited safety concerns, especially unpredictable winds from between buildings, as the reason for the change.
On October 11, the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a six member "Go Team" from Washington, D.C. to New York City, which arrived at the scene in the evening to take fuel samples and examine clues found in the debris. These included the aircraft's bent propeller, a charred memory chip, the undeployed parachute, and Lidle's flight log book. The NTSB accident number is DCA07MA003.
Consistent with the November 3, 2006 preliminary report, the NTSB's May 1, 2007 final hearing determined that "pilot error" caused the plane crash that killed Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger. The investigation was unable to determine which person was at the controls. The aircraft had only about 1,700 feet (520 m) of width in which to make the 180-degree turn, but this distance was effectively reduced to 1,300 feet (400 m) by the 13-knot (24 km/h) easterly winds that day. A bank angle of at least 53 degrees would be required to successfully execute a 180-degree turn in this distance. If the required bank was not initiated early then, as the turn progressed, the bank angle would have needed to have been increased, possibly resulting in an aerodynamic stall. The investigation was unable to determine if the plane was stalled at the time of the crash. An animation of the flight path combining radar data with a Coast Guard video of the East River was also presented.
According to an article on AOPA's website released on May 24, 2011, "The jury in a lawsuit Cory Lidle’s family filed against Cirrus Design issued a verdict May 24 that the aircraft did not cause the fatal Oct. 11, 2006, accident." The article further says, "The NTSB determined that the accident’s probable cause was the pilots’ inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in the performance of a 180-degree turn maneuver inside of a limited turning space."
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- Skyscraper fire
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- Feinsand, Mark (October 11, 2006). "Yankees' Lidle killed in plane crash". MLB.com. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
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- Judgement Call: Lidle accident may lead to tighter N.Y.C. flight restrictions, Aviation Week & Space Technology, May 7, 2007, pg 92
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- Granju, Katie (October 12, 2006). "Plane that crashed into NYC high-rise headed to Tennessee". WBIR.com. Retrieved October 12, 2006.[dead link]
- Nason, David (October 13, 2006). "Not terror, but lack of rules terrifying". The Australian. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Lidle's plane equipped with emergency parachute". ESPN. Associated Press. October 11, 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "Aircraft Accident Report – Crash During Turn Maneuver". Federal Aviation Administration. October 11, 2006. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Tyler, Kepner (September 8, 2006). "In Lidle, Yanks Have Extra Pitcher and Backup Pilot". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
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- CNN International live television coverage, October 11, 2006
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- New York Crash Aftermath. AVWeb.com Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- "NTSB Sends Team to Investigate Plane Crash Into Building in Manhattan" (Press release). National Transportation Safety Board. October 11, 2006. Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- Barry, Ellen (October 13, 2006). "NYC Crash Puts Flight Path in Politicians' Sights". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
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- NTSB query
- "Update on Cirrus Plane Crash in Manhattan, New York". NTSB. November 3, 2006. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
- Leslie Miller. "NTSB: Wind blew Lidle plane off course". Retrieved November 4, 2006.
- flash animation, NTSB Final hearing, May 1, 2007
- "Cirrus not to blame for fatal Lidle accident, jury says". The NTSB determined that the accident’s probable cause was the pilots’ inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in the performance of a 180-degree turn maneuver inside of a limited turning space. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Further reading
- "Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle killed in UES plane crash" (WABC-TV)
- "Aircraft crashes into NYC building" (MSNBC)
- "Airplane crashes into Manhattan high-rise" (CNN)
- "Yankee's Lidle killed in plane crash" (TSN)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to October 11, 2006 New York City plane crash.|
- (French) Analysis at Journal des accidents et des catastrophes
- N929CD profile with photos
- report from FDNY Communications Center on handling the crash, from 9-1-1 Magazine.