Discovery's Flying Wild Alaska is not one of those shows that opens with a "don't try this at home" disclaimer, presumably because most people don't have the opportunity to do stupid things with their own small airplanes. Perhaps the show should start running that, however, as pilot Jason Maloney proved last night that people will do pretty much anything they see on television.
The 24-year-old medical student was already being goofy when he asked JFK's air traffic controller for permission to fly his single-engine Piper Warrior below 500 feet along Rockaway Beach, in Queens. "Just let me know if we're up in your grill," the pilot reportedly told the controller after gaining the permission. Sometime after that, it seems like he decided he wanted to land and then looked for a reason. The New York Times fills in the details:
At some point, [passenger Chelsea] Protter became sick, and Mr. Maloney made an unusual request to the controller. He said he wanted to bring a “pastor” to Kennedy “who’s doing some medical mission work. Where would I drop them off at your airport?”
The controller told him that (whatever it means) would be up to the Port Authority, which operates the airport. That's when Maloney cut to the chase.
“Hey tower, I’ve got a question for you,” he said. “This might be crazy, but are we allowed to land on the beach?”
“I don’t think so, unless it was an emergency,” the controller replied....
Mr. Maloney then had another concern: “You know, tower, my engine might be running a little, teensy, teensy bit rough. A little teensy bit rough.”
Then he went and landed on the beach, like a total badass. The police came, along with firefighters and paramedics, but nobody went to the hospital and nobody got arrested.
Apparently, the show Mr. Maloney watches was still on his mind, because, said Mr. Browne, Mr. Maloney asked the detective: “What’s the big deal? It happens all the time in Alaska.”
Detective Derienzo replied, “Welcome to New York.”
[via New York Times]