NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Is it a case of life imitating reality TV?
Pilot Jason Maloney was at the controls of a small plane that made a water landing near the beach of JFK airport Monday night. The plane landed in the surf off Rockaway near Beach 65th Street. NYPD emergency crews pulled Maloney and a passenger off the plane. There were no injuries.
LISTEN: Raw Audio from the Cockpit (courtesy LiveATC.net)
(for uninterrupted audio, click HERE)
Maloney took off from Farmingdale. Newly-released audio of his conversations with an air traffic controller shed new light on the incident.
In the early part of the tape, Maloney can be heard asking the controller for permission to low-fly along the shoreline.
“Just let us know if we’re up in your grill, you know?” Maloney can be heard saying as he approaches John F. Kennedy Airport.
Maloney then asks permission to drop a passenger off at JFK. The controller directs him to ask the Port Authority if – and where – he could do that.
In his next communication with the controller, Maloney says the plane’s going to drop a little lower by the shoreline. “If you lose us, we’re still with you,” he says.
“This might be crazy, but are we allowed to land on the beach?” Maloney asks.
“I don’t think so, unless it was an emergency,” the controller replies.
“I’m a paramedic,” Maloney says. “Is there anybody I can ask?”
“Those are all public beaches, you’re only allowed to land there in an emergency. Otherwise you’d probably have to have some type of prior permission and have it closed off,” the controller says.
“Any private beaches around?” Maloney asks.
“I couldn’t tell you that, but probably not here in the city limits.”
“Alright, just tell us when we’re in your way, and we’ll get out of here,” Maloney says.
Maloney then announces his plan to go a little bit lower. On the heels of that announcement, he says “My engine may be running a little teensy-teensy bit rough.”
The controller asks him if he requires any assistance.
“Nah, you know what, we should be fine, but I’m going to make a precautionary landing, is that alright with you?” Maloney says.
The controller then tells him it would be at his own risk.
“Yeah, ok, we got that… yeah, we’ve got a sick passenger, so we’re not going to declare an emergency but we’re going to land on the beach,” Maloney says.
“Well, then that would be an emergency,” the controller replies.
After asking if everybody is ok, the controller tells them they’ll be sending police.
Police say that after they responded to the scene, Maloney brought up the TV show “Flying Wild Alaska.” The show features rough landings.
A police spokesman says Maloney said to a detective “What’s the big deal? It happens all the time in Alaska.”
“Welcome to New York,” replied the detective.
What do you think of the landing? Was it a real emergency or did Maloney just want to land on a beach? Sound off in our comments section.