Skip to comments.Air Force One Photo Op: What Was FAA's Role? (Link to Memo)
Posted on 04/30/2009 8:48:12 AM PDT by TankerKC
An FAA memo ( PDF) floating around the Internet Wednesday suggests that if the FAA didn't originate the secrecy surrounding Monday's White House photo op over New York, it certainly went along with it.
The memoauthored by James J. Johnston of the agency's security operations branchclearly indicates the FAA was notified well ahead of the planned flyover and that it recognized the kind of reaction it might cause. The memo begins by saying: "The information in this document is considered FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, and should only be shared with persons with a need to know. Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media."
The document then details the flight planning and the schedule, including the intent to fly around as low as 1000 feet in the Hudson River Corridor in the vicinity of the Statute of Liberty. The flyover occurred on Monday morning and raised a considerable ruckus in lower Manhattan and mid-town, as hundreds of workers panicked and evacuated buildings in the city, fearful of another 9/11-type terrorist attack. Also circulating the news sites are recordings of hysterical calls to New York's emergency services numbers.
The FAA did not respond to email and telephone requests for comment and, interestingly, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association told AVweb that it was declining comment because it didn't normally comment on security issues.
(Excerpt) Read more at avweb.com ...
Somebody should file a FOIA to see who was on the plane!
I Officially want to use it to blow this administrations narcissism sky high! How’s that?
SUBJECT: Flight Notification- New York City -Statue of Liberty Photo Op, Upper New York Bay / Newark Bay on April 27, 2009, 10:00L. (amended 4/23)
The information in this document is considered FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, and should only be shared with persons with a need to know. Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media.
1. The Department of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will conduct a flying photo op in the New York City Area on April 27, 2009 involving a transport and fighter aircraft. Below are the details regarding the operation.
Date: Monday April 27, 2009 (Primary), April 28 or April 30 (weather backup dates)
Number / Type Aircraft: 1 VC-25 and 2 F-16s. Actual photo op will only have VC25 and 1 F16.
Departure point: ADW
Arrival point: ADW
Flight Plan: Crews will file two separate IFR flight plans:
ADW-JFK: KADW.. PALEO V44 SIE CAMRN4 JFK
Requested altitude FL190B210
EWR-ADW: KEWR..EWR7.BIGGY J75 MXE V378 BAL KADW
Planned Departure Time: 0930 approximately
Planned Time On Photo Op Location: 10:00 -10:30L.
Planned Photo Op Altitude: 1000-1500ft
Number of Passes: 2, possibly 3
The aircraft will depart ADW via IFR clearance as a three (3) ship formation to Sea Isle (SIE). At SIE one (1) of the fighters will leave the flight and return to ADW IFR via SIE ATR V308 BILIT ADW.
The VC25 and 1 F16 will proceed IFR to CAMRN intersection south of JFK. In the vicinity of CAMRN intersection the aircraft will cancel IFR and proceed VFR with New York TRACON (N90) towards the Verranzano Bridge. N90 will hand the aircraft off to Newark Tower (EWR) for the flight in the Upper NY and Newark Bay. Upon completion of the final pass the aircraft will be treated as a EWR departure and pickup an IFR clearance back to ADW.
The photo op portion of the flight will be VFR in accordance with the specified ground track as per the attached map (Attachment 1). On the northbound flight segments the fighter aircraft will be offset to the east by approximately ½ mile. During the southbound flight segment the fighter will re-position to remain offset to the aircraft within the depicted box.
The operation will be monitored by FAA Air Traffic Security Coordinators (ATSC) at the Domestic Event Network at FAA Headquarters from start to finish. Any questions or issues can be directed to the FAA ATSC at the DEN. The FAA ATSC can be reached at (202) 493-5107.
The Public Affairs posture for this effort is passive. No media or press releases are planned. Please direct all media inquiries to the FAA Air Traffic Security Coordinator at (202) 493-5107. Due to the possibility of public concern regarding DOD aircraft flying at low levels, coordination with Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies, emergency operations centers and aviation units has been accomplished.
JAMES J. JOHNSTON, FAA Air Traffic
AJR-2 System Operations Security
Disruptions to other flights in the area is a given. Our plane got delayed and I missed an important connection that ruined a trip, because Clinton was flying into town and they shut down the airport for an hour for Air Force One to land. I’ve never forgotten that.
The cost to the taxpayers for this photo op has been quoted at $300,000+, but the actual cost was far higher when the cumulative costs of the disruptions are factored in.
Thanks for posting the flight plan. There must be a request/order placed for this service; specifically a Reference.. that thread goes to the blinding brilliant source of this fiasco.
I don’t believe this is an authentic memorandum. There is no way they would be flying at 1000 feet under any circumstance and certainly not for a photo op.
Obama or any of the first family ( or VP) were on the plane.
There's always that possibility.
Only an IDIOT who approve something like this, unless they were trying to upset people in New York City!
The FAA should pay the laundry bills of all those who were panicked.
AKA - Scare Force One
A memo w/out a signature? Believable?
LOL. My Call Sign on my first T-37 Solo was "Scare 36."
I had a buddy who lost a business deal because he was sitting on the tarmac at LAX while Clinton got a haircut.
To this day he still turns beet red about it.
The List, ping
If they want a nicely framed shot of a VC-25 over the Statue of Liberty, or with the New York or Jersey City skylines? Yeah, they could be at 1000-1500 feet, easily. Look at the video that’s been floating around. Sure looks like it’s at least under 2000 feet to me.
Ya think MO had an appointment to get her hair and nails done after shopping and lunch?
He’s an ego-filled maniac. Maybe he did it just to show off for his kids that he could.
You have better eyes than I do.
Were? Did you mean "weren't?"
Or maybe she had an appointment at a rummage sale to buy some new clothes?
My BIL said maybe BO had a late night with one of his “friends” and thought he could sneak out of town by flying low!
Right from the beginning it was reported that they were flying at 1000 ft. If this memo wasn't readily available they got the information from somewhere else.
oops. Yes I did.
There diffinitely was something more to that flyover than a photo op. If it really was to be a photo op then they could have done it on a Sunday when no one would have been at work.
I want to know where Michelle was that day. She said she does love to sneak out.
Also there is no way Obama wouldn't have known that, that plane was going to be in use. They have to know where those planes are at all times in case there is an emergency and some contingency plan has to go into effect.
Flying at this altitude cannot h ave been safe for the aircraft or ground.
I keep thinking, “I beleive Obama may have really enjoyed seeing the people on the ground, running, terrified.”
Indulging his secret hatred of Americans.
Incorrect. By the way, ever been to an air show? The FAA routinely grants altitude and airspeed waivers.
Some people have suggested that this was a special "gift" for political doners!
My point exactly.
Photo op or joy ride - either way this was not only nuts but over 300k spent of OUR money on nothing of importance.
“They” does not mean the President personally. Anyone in a top executive position who would concern himself with such trivia is not qualified to hold the position. In this case, somebody in the “they” department screwed up.
Flying a 747 jet aircraft at those levels over NYC seems a bit dangerous to me. I am not a pilot. I would be interested if there is someone who is to comment on it. I provided a link at post #20 that gives the official AF policy on low altitude training.
Indeed. But we’ve been told “only flight-crews.” Is the WH photographer part of every flight crew? Don’t think so. And WHOSE photo-op? An opportunity to take pictures FROM any one of the planes, OF any one of the planes?
Or was it a training mission? For what eventuality that it couldn’t be conducted above saltflats, or at least in some infinitely less dangerous environment for crews and spectators?
This whole thing reeks.
What I’m waiting to see is whether anyone can produce any documentation that somebody in an authoritative position received clear advice that this whole thing was a very bad idea (not just vague mention of “public concern”), especially without full public notice well in advance. If that happened, the recipient who didn’t follow up on the advice and investigate in detail exactly what was proposed to happen and what was virtually guaranteed to go wrong if the plan was executed without modifications, needs to be fired.
What I think is a bit more likely, is that this is an example of poor communication culture in a hierarchical and multi-agency management structure. I.e. nobody quite had the full picture, and even though some people who handled pieces of the communications had concerns, they didn’t feel comfortable challenging the plan, since it seemed to have originated from very high levels, and/or assumed somebody else was addressing the glaring problems with the plan. If so, we should be thankful the communication problem was brought to light (at least if it gets addressed effectively) in the context of something like this, rather than in the context of some actual or expected enemy attack.
And I don't believe that I've ever heard of an air show that was "buzzed" by a 747!!
Photo Op or Training Flight.
We’ve heard both excuses.
I would be very surprised if flight plans for either of the AF1 planes ever include and “SOB” figure. That sounds like exactly the sort of super-classified information that DoD and Secret Service would not want floating around on flight plans that go to the FAA. How many people are on board AF1 or its decoy is “need to know” type information, and the FAA has absolutely no need to know this.
Would a flight plan include information on a photo op? And would the FAA really approve flying at such a low altitude in NYC? I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem likely.
And if this really was a “training mission,” it’s odd that there was never such a thing during any other administration. obama continues to think we’re stupid.
Yes and you obviously missed all of the threads when San Francisco was attempting to ban the Blue Angels.
This is NOT photoshopped!
Okay, for the most part it was over the bay, but the main viewing stand, for those not in boats, was on the warf. That's basically downtown.
LOL we had the same thoughts. GMTA :)
I saw the Blue Angels in Annapolis. What a demonstration!
That's an amazing photo. Please tell me they buzzed Nancy Pelosi's house at mach 1.
Those guys have the best damn job in the world.