View Full Version : Small Plane Crash NY

Joe Pelonio
10-11-2006, 6:07 PM
I just heard on the news that a small plane crashed into an 18 story condo building in NY. They determined it was not terrorism but in fact the plane was owned and piloted by Yankee Pitcher Corey Lidle, who did not survive. Apparently fighter jets scrambled just in case.

Dennis Peacock
10-11-2006, 6:10 PM
Yea, I just saw that online. Terrible news.

Jim O'Dell
10-11-2006, 11:24 PM
This has to bring back some very strong memories and emotions for our friends in NYC. We'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Jim.

Dave Richards
10-13-2006, 1:00 PM
Unfortunate accident.

I just read an article which stated that the plane's airspeed was at 700 feet and 112 MPH (could be knots but article said MPH) making a U-turn to avoid LaGuardia's airspace. I expect it will be found the plane suffered an accelerated stall and at that altitude the pilot would be unable to recover.

The Cirrus SR-20 has a straight ahead stall speed with flaps extended of 54 KIAS. at a bank angle of 45° the stall speed with flaps would go to about 76 kts and at a 60° bank would go up to 108 Kts. It's unlikely they'd have the flaps hanging out if they were not in the traffic pattern to land so the stall speed would be higher.

Generally in an accelerated stall the outside wing quits flying first (the angle of attack is higher) and the plane rolls to that side. In a slowerCessna 152 it is definitely something that will make you sit up and take notice even when you intend to do it. In something slippery and faster like the Cirrus an unexpected accelerated stall would at least be a big surprise.

The website for the Belaire condominium reports it as 50 stories making it more than 500' tall. 200 feet isn't a lot of room to recover from a stall and I'd guess it would have been less.

My condolences to the families of Lidle and the instructor. It must be a difficult time.

The one consolation I see is that they died doing something they were passionate about. I think that is better than getting smacked by a bus or succumbing to some disease.

Martin Shupe
10-13-2006, 2:54 PM

This one has me puzzled as well.


The following is pure speculation, without full knowledge of the facts.

Your stall theory is possible, but here is another one...

There was a strong wind out of the north that day. IF the plane was making the U-turn towards the east/south, and the building was on the south side of the airspace, perhaps the wind blew them into the building by increasing the turn radius as the U-turn was made. Note, this theory is bogus if the building is on the north side of the river and/or if the plane was making the U-turn to the north and west, in which case the wind would decrease the turn radius.

Winds also do tricky things in close proximity to buildings. Vacuums can form, which can actually "suck" a plane into the building. Same thing can happen when little planes fly form around bigger planes. You have to be careful.

It boggles my mind that an aircraft with a flight instructor and a private pilot on board could hit a building. Perhaps they were both heads down? (but in a turn in a narrow canyon, who would do that?)

It was a shame to see the talking heads calling for the cessation of VFR flight over all American cities.

USA today put out an idiotic editorial as well.

It will be interesting to see what the NTSB comes up with in a year or so.

jeremy levine
10-13-2006, 3:23 PM
The river runs north sourth , but the winds in and around Manhattan are wild this time of year.

Martin Shupe
10-13-2006, 7:03 PM
The river runs north sourth , but the winds in and around Manhattan are wild this time of year.

So did he start the turn from the west side of the river and turn towards the east? Is the building on the west side or east side of the river?

I saw a wind report that they were strong out of the north, but I am not sure if they were strong out of the northwest (typical cold front) or northeast (northeaster).

I am sure the NTSB will look into all scenarios.

Ken Garlock
10-13-2006, 8:04 PM
Martin, what I read yesterday evening was that the pilot and Instructor had taken off from Teterbough(sp?), then flown around the statue of liberty before getting into trouble. I also read that the specific type of aircraft they were flying had been involved in 13 or 14 crashes, several of which involve engine failure.

Speaking as someone who got his private license back in 1968, but hasn't piloted a Cessna since 1969, they don't have any business in the middle of a busy air traffic area without being under positive traffic control. They must have been in the Terminal Control Area air space, IMO.

Joe Pelonio
10-13-2006, 8:17 PM
Maybe these baseball players need to stick to the major airlines. It seems
that A-Rod had a close call today in a private jet.


Richard Wolf
10-13-2006, 8:18 PM
They started the turn from east to west. They crashed into a building on the east shore of Manhattan. They were in an air space not under Terminal Control but were about to enter one. The turn was most likely made to avoid entering controled air space. It is difficult to understand that one of them did not have a prespective of the turning radus required for the aircraft. Now the East River is a wide river, but from the middle with a fairly high performance airplane I guess you could run out of room quickly.


Dave Richards
10-13-2006, 9:42 PM
Yes, the winds were probably a factor as well. The article I read indicated that they were at 700'. So they'd have been attempting to stay out of the controlled airspace for LaGuardia (the don't refer to it as a TCA anymore).

My speculation only: A left turn from the east at 112 MPH, about half way through the turn the pilot decides the bank isn't enough to clear the buildings and rolls in a little more bank and pulls back a bit harder. Both of these actions increase wing loading and increase stall speed. The right wing stalls first. The plane snaps over rather rapidly to the right and begins to drop out of the sky like safe. The plane is trying to trade altitude for airspeed as they are designed to do in a stall. Control authority is minimal until the wing reaches flying speed. Unfortunately the Belaire condos cut the flight short.

I don't agree with the idea of banning civilian flights over major cities but I do think there's a problem in NY airspace when aircraft end up in situations like this. I don't know what the floor of the controlled airspace is in the area in question but it seems to me that if aircraft are required to fly at less than 1000' AGL (also ASL there) it puts these pilots in the position of violating the FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) requiring 1000' minimum clearance in densely populated areas. I'm sure these fellows weren't the first to do this but why would it be allowed in a place like that?

Cirrus seems to have a less than stellar record with all the planes lost in the last few years for various reasons. Although probably not the same sort of thing, it makes me think of the Beech V35 (190 MPH cruise) which got the nickname of "Forky-tailed Doctor Killer". At the time that airplane came out many civilian pilots had only had experience in kites like the J3 Cub (80 MPH Cruise) and other slow rag bags. Many of the V-tailed Beeches were purchased by doctors who moved up from cubs and met their demise in these high performance planes.

Ray Bersch
10-14-2006, 11:34 PM
Dave, I betting it was not a stall but rather misjudgment of altitude during the turn. It is quite common for new pilots to loose considerable altitude during steep turns - 200 ft is not out of the question, especially if the pilot begins to worry about airspeed and starts concentrating on the ASI instead of looking out side or, as may be the case, his head is spinning looking for traffic - who is behind me, or to my left, am I going to try to share space with a helicopter? You know the drill. And one is always reluctant to pull back on the yoke during a steep turn, but that is just what is needed, to a point, and along with adding some power - the instructor could not see to the left very well in the steep left turn and he too may have had his head inside rather that outside. Anyway, I can picture a steep turn with a steep decent, look down, go down - and all of a sudden the building was there.

I for one support banning VFR fixed wing aircraft in this particular airspace. I stopped doing sightseeing flights after 9/11 - could not bear to look at ground zero - I watched it burn while transporting blood a few days after - not nice - anyway, the area is full of helicopters doing all sorts of things and the space alloted to the VFR corridor is very small - as you can imagine, there is all sorts of ground clutter and it is very difficult to spot traffic. Need to communicate? Don't even try to get LGA, EWR is ok, but still very busy and will ignore your call if they can't handle it - so perhaps these guys tried to get clearance through LGA space but could not so they had to make a hasty 180 turn. The shame of it is, they could have actually flown directly over the city to the Hudson and then left or right to get out of there - that is a better choice than trying to dance on a pin over the East River.

Martin Shupe
11-07-2006, 11:27 AM
The NTSB says a 13-knot easterly wind may have contributed to the circumstances that led to the crash of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle’s Cirrus SR20 into a Manhattan apartment building on Oct. 11. An update to its investigation issued Friday suggests the brisk breeze would have effectively decreased the turning space available for the aircraft by 400 feet as Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger made a U-turn near the end of the East River exclusion area, a VFR sightseeing route that terminated near where the crash occurred. Although it doesn’t come right out and say it, the report invites speculation that whoever was flying initially misjudged the available turning room and, while banking sharply to avoid the building, stalled the airplane. The East River exclusion area was a finger of VFR airspace over the river that extended north to the boundary of La Guardia Airport’s surface Class B. To avoid requesting clearance into the La Guardia airspace, those flying north in the zone, as Lidle and Stanger were, had to make a U-turn. Shortly after the crash, the FAA issued a NOTAM that eliminated that impetus by requiring all flights in the corridor (except helicopters and seaplanes operating from a base on the river) to be under active ATC control.

The report says that radar data showed the Cirrus’ track up the east side of Roosevelt Island, roughly the middle of the river. From that point, the plane had about 1,700 feet of clearance to the west in which to complete the turn. However, the wind would have pushed the plane 400 feet during the turn, making the available radius just 1,300 feet. At the aircraft’s speed of 97 knots, that would have required a constant bank angle of 53 degrees. “If the initial portion of the turn was not this aggressive,” the report says, “a sufficiently greater bank angle would have been needed as the turn progressed, which would have placed the airplane dangerously close to an aerodynamic stall.” Ground stations pegged the wind at 7 knots but an aircraft landing at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport was equipped with weather sensors and it recorded wind at 700 feet as 095 degrees at 13 knots. Technology will play an increasing role in the investigation. The memory chips from the airplane’s glass displays are being analyzed as are two handheld GPSs that were on board. There was also a laptop recovered from the wreckage that might contain flight information. The various manufacturers are now working to extract data from damaged equipment.

My comment: I trust the NTSB, they usually do a very detailed investigation.

Curt Harms
11-07-2006, 10:02 PM
... Technology will play an increasing role in the investigation. The memory chips from the airplane’s glass displays are being analyzed as are two handheld GPSs that were on board. There was also a laptop recovered from the wreckage that might contain flight information. The various manufacturers are now working to extract data from damaged equipment.

My comment: I trust the NTSB, they usually do a very detailed investigation.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out re the instrumentation. One concern I'd seen with the transition away from conventional flight instruments to EFIS in light aircraft was accident investigation. Attitude, altitude and airspeed can sometimes be determined by the position of needles, attitude indicators, engines instruments and such at the time of impact. These indicators aren't present with electronic displays. I don't know if Garmin and Aviadyne have a logging feature, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one added.