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Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?  
User currently offlineRyefly From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1391 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4753 times:

After September 11th, I thought there was a ban on any private or commercial aircraft allowed to fly directly over a downtown part of a city. Has this rule changed?

I live in Charlotte, as you might know if you have ever flown into CLT, the city skyline is not to far away, maybe 5 aeronotical miles or so. It was not unusual to hear the rumble of jet engines and to look up and see a airliner flying directly over the city @ around 5,000 feet or so. After September 11th I noticed aircraft flying further North of the city until recently. I have several friends that live directly downtown so I am down there often. More and more I see planes flying overhead.

On Superbowl Sunday I was at a friends that was throwing a party. He lives about 4 blocks from the heart of downtown so he has a great view of all the buildings from the patio. Well, the game had ended and we were all outside talking when the roar of jet engines started getting close. When I looked up, I was amazed how low a inbound US Airways 737-400 was. It flew directly over the North side of Downtown. The tallest building in Charlotte is 60 stories or 871 feet, the 737 wasn't flying much higher, maybe 1,500 or 2,000 feet max. It was low enough to clearly see the gray belly, red & white stripes and landing gear at night mind you. It was moving at a good clip also. The engines sounded at almost full power. It certanly got everyones attention that's for sure, it was very loud. I am sure who ever was on board had an amazing view of downtown before landing.

So what's the deal, are they or aren't they allowed to fly low over a downtown area? I am sure as hell certain they are not allowed as low as the 737 on Superbowl Sunday was. That was very unusual.


45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline747-600X From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2785 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4678 times:

I do not know if it is or isn't allowed, but I do know that I have never ever seen a jetliner flying over my home Chicago. We have O'Hare on the North and Midway on the South and the planes come in from all directions, but if you're in the plane you always have a great shot of the city because you're offset a few miles, and if you're in Chicago, you never look up to see a plane unless it is at full cruise altitude and just a blip in the sky and even then I think usually off-center enough in one's vision field to probably be well outside the downtown district.

On the other hand, flying into Minneapolis, St. Louis, or San Francisco I have often found myself looking very much down upon the city. I think I remember having been directly over Seattle a time or two also.



"Mental health is reality at all cost." -- M. Scott Peck, 'The Road Less Traveled'
User currently offlineSkyway1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4659 times:

747-600X,

About five years ago, while on a United 737 inbound to O'Hare from Dayton, Ohio, we turned right over the Sears Tower! We were sideways looking down on the tower, the best sight I have ever seen while flying. I'm not sure if that happened often. But I have flown in and out of O'Hare alot over the last year and as you said we now fly offset from downtown a few miles. I'm sure that flight route will never be used again post 9/11.

Chris


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4641 times:

I would assume that most flight paths have been changed to avoid flying over downtown areas of major cities, no matter at what altitude, just to ease any worries about a repeat of 9/11. Some downtown areas cannot be avoided due to the close proximity of the area to the airport. The only city that I know of with some overflight restrictions is Washington D.C., which makes a lot of sense.

User currently offlineRolex01 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4639 times:

They do it in San Diego all the time.

User currently offlineHlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4619 times:

When Miami uses Runway 9R they always fly over down town too.


I see planes circling into DTW over downtown Detroit, but they are still relatively high up


User currently offline747-600X From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2785 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4619 times:

I'm relatively certain that flying into St. Louis and San Fran you sometimes go strait over downtown. Since Sept. 11th I have flown to St. Louis twice and Columbus, Ohio, once. Columbus' airport I think is in a different state than the city itself, because I've never seen Columbus itself from the airplane. (Actually I know where it is, but still...), so that one I don't worry about. On the other hand, both times we went into St. Louis the Arch was right there beneath my window, so much so that it was barely visible without breaking my nose smashed against the plastic.


"Mental health is reality at all cost." -- M. Scott Peck, 'The Road Less Traveled'
User currently offline174thfwff From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4608 times:

Heck Yea, DC is awesome to fly into.
The approach is crazy, the final turn is the best!!!


User currently offlineBluebellyA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4603 times:

They still fly over lower Manhattan for LGA (especially those BOS shuttles). Everything is back to 'normal.'

User currently offlineH. Simpson From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 949 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4598 times:

yeah, BluebellyA380, what the hell is "normal"? I'm still too afraid to back to LGA for spotting

User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4585 times:

747-600x - I don't know where you've been looking, but there are constant flights directly over downtown Chicago, usually coming in or out of ORD. I fly through ORD at least once a week, and very often will make an approach directly over the city - usually when landing on 27L or 27R.

Also, any time you're downtown, you can always see a/c flying directly overhead on approach to ORD.

star_world


User currently offlineI LOVE EWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 852 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4585 times:

The approach into San Diego takes you pretty much directly over the downtown area. You seem to be lower than the buildings at some point.

User currently offlineRolex01 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4580 times:

Heck Yea, DC is awesome to fly into.

I never knew DC had a "downtown".


User currently offlineFlyCMH From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 2271 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4567 times:

747-600X:

I think you're confusing Columbus with Cincinnati. Cincinnat is located in the Southwestern corner of Ohio directly on the Ohio River. The airport is actually located across the river in Covington, Kentucky; hence the name Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and the code CVG. Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is located almost directly in the center of the state. Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) is located about 7 miles away from downtown Columbus.

Regarding aircraft flying over downtown Columbus...
The approach to runways 10R and 10L at CMH is directly north of downtown. So people on the right side of an aircraft approaching CMH get a very nice view of the downtown area. Aircraft taking off on runways 28L and 28R usually get a nice view of downtown if you're on the left side of the aircraft. Planes heading east from 28L or 28R usually make their first turn directly over downtown.


User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4560 times:

It should be no problem unless the downtown area is restricted. (e.g. Washington D.C.) Otherwise you comply with FAR 91.119(b) which requires a 1000 ft vertical distance and 2000 horizontal distance from the highest object in a congested area. You can fly over most downtown areas.



User currently offlineCcrlR From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 2223 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4552 times:
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Here in Chicago there is a restriction over Downtown Chicago. But I see planes going over but that there is a specific height that they aren't supposed to go down to or they will be in trouble.


"He was right, it is a screaming metal deathtrap!"-Cosmo (from the Fairly Oddparents)
User currently offlineTravelin man From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3422 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4535 times:

I work in Downtown Los Angeles, and jets fly over downtown all day. The flight path for planes coming from the North (Bay Area, Seattle etc) or West (Asia, Hawaii, etc.) takes the planes right over downtown and then a big sweeping turn to the South before lining up and landing towards the West. They are probably 3K-4k feet up when they are over downtown.

User currently offlineHawaiian717 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3177 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4533 times:

I LOVE EWR wrote:
The approach into San Diego takes you pretty much directly over the downtown area. You seem to be lower than the buildings at some point.

Sometimes, you are lower than the tops of the buildings.

David / SAN


User currently offlineRen41 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1524 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4523 times:

When you're at the top of the Prudential Building in Boston the planes (taking off Rwy 27) look like they are goin to fly into you but then they turn at the last minute. It would be a good place to take pics but the windows are very tinted.

**Ren41**


User currently offlineMikola From United States of America, joined May 1999, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4507 times:

SJC, yer either gonna be landing or taking off over the downtown section there as well. not as drastic as SAN im sure. my $.02!

User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 35
Reply 20, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4494 times:

Remember the some ILS instrument approaches carry you over downtown areas. MSY's runway 28 approach is one example.

You can't avoid going over downtown at any time at certain airports: rwy 27 at SAN is one, most southerly SEA approaches are but two of many examples.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

BTW, the restriction for New Orleans on SuperBowl Sunday was no a/c within 3 miles of the Superdome up to 18,000' except emergencies and law enforcement, and other limitations with exceptions of air carriers, IFR/VFR flight plans (too many to list here).

Tom in NO (at MSY)



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineTwa902fly From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 3100 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4485 times:

An approach path to MDW is about 5 miles south of Meigs Field (downtown). in Chicago. Also over the gold coast, north of the John Hanhock tower, about where the Lincoln Park zoo is, you always see airliners coming in from the east over the lake. I remember always seeing a VS A340 there until they switched to a 747. Plus all the UA AA traffic.

TWA902



life wasn't worth the balance, or the crumpled paper it was written on
User currently offlineRolex01 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4483 times:

It should be no problem unless the downtown area is restricted. (e.g. Washington D.C.)

Please see here....

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/732588/

Also... How do you classify flying over downtown? I automatically thought you meant on final approach. Some of these folks in this thread are speaking of aircraft flying over cities at 10,000-15,000ft.. Hmm, let me look out the window..... Apart from seeing aircraft on approach to San Dawg, I see a "High flyer" with condensation possibly at 33,000ft right now, heading north. If he keeps going in the same direction, he will be flying over downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. So I guess all those cities will have an aircraft flying over downtown.






User currently offlineZeus01 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 744 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4479 times:

My brother lives only a few blocks from downtown Minneapolis, and everytime I visit him I look for that beutiful 747 coming in from Japan in the afternoon. I also have seen Dc-10's and bunch of others right over Minneapolis.

User currently offlineMah4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32214 posts, RR: 72
Reply 24, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4447 times:

They can still fly over downtowns, though, I live downtown and will say the action has died down since 9.11. Alitalia and Swissair don't seem to fly over downtown anymore on departure. BA, NW, VS, and LH do. Iberia and Air France never did.


a.
25 Acidradio : MSP is fairly close to downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. In fact, if you stand at the right spot on the 30R deice pad, you can see both down
26 LOT767-300ER : Just flew over John Hancock Center in Chicago whilist coming into ORD, A LOT 767-300ER flight WAW-ORD
27 Gr8SlvrFlt : Flying ATL-LGA last week we were routed directly over the Statue of Liberty then up the Hudson River. From the right side of the aircraft we could see
28 N766UA : Turning final for 24L at CLE includes a nice bank smack over the Key Corp. building in the heart of downtown. Really neat especially at night.
29 Thomacf : Yeah they still go right over downtown Cleveland. They were also flying right over the Cleveland Browns Stadium after 9/11. I went to two games there
30 Cedarjet : I don't see the problem with flying over "downtown", the hijacked airliners on 11 September flew for nearly an hour to their destinations, it wasn't a
31 Neednewairport : living pretty much in downtown san diego I can tell you they fly over it every day. it is the only way to get to our tiny little airport. those four d
32 Alexinwa : Ever fly into SEA and land from the North to South??? Then you know that you fly right over Downtown Seattle. Look down on the Needle and All the tall
33 Soku39 : I was about to say no one mentioning Cleveland theres CO planes flying over downtown all the time.
34 Nonrevman : Here is a link to the view of a SEA landing. http://www.geocities.com/stevesheriw/sea1.jpg
35 Trickijedi : I live in Chicago. I think the ordinance here is that yes airliners can fly over downtown but they have to fly a certain altitude above it. Small plan
36 Post contains links and images Alexinwa : I think this answers the Downtown Seattle question Click for large versionPhoto © Brian Hames
37 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : The last two times I've flown into Dallas Love Field (DAL), we've come in right over downtown.Click for large versionPhoto © Thomas MillardLoneSt
38 ILS : Yes, at AUS they come not only over downtown, but over the Capitol building as well.
39 HlywdCatft : What about Tampa Airport? It appeared when I was by there that planes landing from the North would go right over downtown. I already mentioned Miami.
40 Haveric : I live in downtown Chicago (two blocks from the Hancock Bldg on Lake Michigan) and I often see planes directly overhead. I also see planes flying nort
41 Big777jet : I flew on Delta 727 over Sears Tower last October 2nd from ATL to ORD. Big777jet
42 Post contains images 777-200 : I see Lear Jets and DC-3 Flying over Downtown Middletown (Ohio) on Final into KMWO . Ive seen Aircraft on Approach into CVG fly little east of Downtow
43 Phatfarmlines : Following up on TPA approaches: Southbound 18R/18L: does not pass downtown Northbound 36L/36R (36R is restricted to small aircraft): pass downtown Sou
44 I LOVE EWR : Like mentioned before the approaches and takeoffs into LGA can be absolutly spectaculor. Sometimes you come in low over the Verazanno Bridge up the Ea
45 Qantas744 : Anyone who has flown into LHR will know that you fly over 'downtown' London on the approach,flights from the US usually pick up the ILS approach over
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