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.