FAA Air Traffic Specialist
On JFK Jr Media Coverage -
"Nothing But Garbage"
By Edward A. Meyer <>


I am:
Edward A. Meyer FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist NY FSDPS (NY Flight Service Data Processing System) Certified Pilot Weather Briefer Facilities: NY Automated Flight Service Station La Guadia Air Traffic Control Tower NY TRACON La Guardia Sector
Airline Transport Pilot Cerificate Commercial Pilot Certificate Certified Flight Instructor 3000 Hours Total Flying Time 2000 as Flight Instructor Six Students Recommended for Certification
As a specialist at the NY FSDPS:
I was asked (through intermediaries) by Jane Garvey, FAA Administrator, to create a report of the weather conditions JFK Jr. was flying in. I created such a report.
I have the following comments to make:
Nothing of what I heard on mainstream media makes any sense to me.
JFK Jr. had 100 flying hours and was flying a Piper Saratoga and previously owned a Cessna Skylane and was enroute from Northern NJ to Martha's Vineyard.
The statement makes no sense whatsoever.
FAA requirements for Private Pilot Certification is 40 hours. Most pilots require twice that. Older students require even more flying time.
No student I have ever heard of requested complex aircraft time before certification.
If JFK Jr. certified in 80 hours, he would probably seek ten hours of instruction in the Skylane (which is a complex aircraft). He would also be interested in some post certification "flag pole flying," getting used to his airplane and flying his friends around.
With as much money as he had, he could certainly afford some instruction in his Saratoga which is a far, far different airplane than a Cessna Skylane.
He would also like some flag pole flying in his Saratoga to reduce the "fear factor."
(Flying an airplane you are not used to can instill great fear, I assure you.)
The whole thing adds up to a lot more than 100 hours.
The weather along his flight was just fine. A little haze over eastern Connecticut.
Flying over water at night will eliminate any difficulty of restriction to visibility... that is, all a pilot is going to see is pitch black outside his cockpit whether there is haze or clouds. A pilot wouldn't know if there were any clouds unless he or she would turn the landing light on.
Last but not least, JFK Jr. was certified (therefore licensed) to fly the flight. Any mention of "daring" or "inexperience" is absolute nonsense.
I don't know why the airplane crashed, but what I heard on the media was nothing but garbage.