FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic
Threatened Federal Sanctions Against NYPD, Secret Service, FBI &
Mayor’s Office If Secret Ever Got Out
Furious Obama Apologizes: "It Will Never Happen Again"
April 28, 2009
by Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBS) — A furious President Barack Obama ordered an internal review
of Monday’s low-flying photo op over the Statue of Liberty.CBS 2 HD has discovered
the feds will have plenty to question.
Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz
ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay,
but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public.
In a memo obtained by CBS 2 HD [Ed: posted below] the Federal Aviation
Administration’s James Johnston said the agency was aware of "the
possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense)
aircraft flying at low altitudes" in an around New York City. But
they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the
FBI and even the mayor’s office and threatened federal sanctions if
the secret got out. (Emphasis added)
"To say that it should not be made public knowing that it might scare
people it’s just confounding," Sen. Charles Schumer said. "It’s what
gives Washington and government a bad name. It’s sheer stupidity."
The flyover — apparently ordered by the White House Office of Military Affairs
so it would have souvenir photos of Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty
in the background — had President Obama seeing red. He ordered a probe and
Remainder of article, with excellent photos, video of news report, and
link to comments are at source URL: http://wcbstv.com/topstories/air.force.one.2.996457.html
Air Force What?! FAA Memo Details Presidential Photo Flop
Posted April 28, 2009 at ohmygov.com
Bloomberg: "I’m annoyed — furious is a better word — that I wasn’t
FROM: FAA Air Traffic System Operations Security (AJR-2)
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
• Number / Type Aircraft: 1 VC-25 and 2 F-16s. Actual photo op will only
have VC25 and 1 F16.
• Callsign: VENUS01
• 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
JAMES J. JOHNSTON, FAA Air Traffic
AJR-2 System Operations Security