Ryefly
Topic Author
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Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:10 am

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.
 
747-600X
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:20 am

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.
 
Skyway1
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:27 am

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
KNUK, KNUK, KNUK woowoowoo
 
srbmod
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:33 am

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.
 
Guest

RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:35 am

They do it in San Diego all the time.
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:57 am

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
 
747-600X
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 4:58 am

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.
 
174thfwff
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:01 am

Heck Yea, DC is awesome to fly into.
The approach is crazy, the final turn is the best!!!
Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten, Uptown, what now? Lets make it happen.
 
Bluebellya380
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:04 am

They still fly over lower Manhattan for LGA (especially those BOS shuttles). Everything is back to 'normal.'
 
H. Simpson
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:07 am

yeah, BluebellyA380, what the hell is "normal"? I'm still too afraid to back to LGA for spotting
 
star_world
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:34 am

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
 
I LOVE EWR
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:36 am

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.
 
Guest

RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:40 am

Heck Yea, DC is awesome to fly into.

I never knew DC had a "downtown".
 
flyCMH
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:58 am

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.
 
N79969
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 6:07 am

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.

 
CcrlR
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 6:20 am

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)
 
travelin man
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 6:52 am

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.
 
hawaiian717
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 6:53 am

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
 
ren41
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 6:58 am

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**
 
mikola
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 7:35 am

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!
 
Tom in NO
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 7:58 am

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
 
TWA902fly
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 8:02 am

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
 
Guest

RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 8:06 am

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.




 
zeus01
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MSP

Sat Feb 09, 2002 8:07 am

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.
 
MAH4546
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 9:56 am

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.
 
acidradio
Crew
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 10:01 am

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 downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, which is not a common occurrence. If you take off on 30R, it is possible you may go right over downtown Minneapolis, depending on how they turn after getting up in the sky. Often times, planes will turn and chase 35W right into downtown.
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 10:04 am

Just flew over John Hancock Center in Chicago whilist coming into ORD, A LOT 767-300ER flight WAW-ORD
 
gr8slvrflt
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 10:51 am

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 straight down into "GroundZero."
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
 
N766UA
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:46 am

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.
This Website Censors Me
 
thomacf
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:50 am

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 after the incident and everytime a plane flew over all 70,000 people would glance up.
 
cedarjet
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:50 am

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 as though they were hijacked while on finals to La Guardia or National or something. Most flights (except when I'm onboard) into Heathrow go right over the city of London and all the famous landmarks, and these were rerouted in the weeks after 11 September. This missed the point in at least two ways, (1) the hijacked flights were hundreds of miles away from their targets and (2) the reroutes took Heathrow traffic away from the centre of London and instead over equally populated (but less photogenic) parts of town, such as where I live in Epsom, which became spotters paradise as 747s and the like were suddenly thundering past every 90 seconds. I was glad to see the planes so low over my groovy pad but couldn't help wonder at the stupidity of Blair et al.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
neednewairport
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:58 am

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 days back in september were horrible......you never realize how much back ground noise there is until it is gone.....
 
alexinwa
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:59 am

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 tallest buildings Seattle has to offer.
You mad Bro???
 
Soku39
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 12:04 pm

I was about to say no one mentioning Cleveland theres CO planes flying over downtown all the time.
The Ohio Player
 
nonrevman
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 12:06 pm

Here is a link to the view of a SEA landing.

http://www.geocities.com/stevesheriw/sea1.jpg
 
trickijedi
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 12:12 pm

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 planes cannot fly over the downtown "no-fly zone" at any time. I work downtown and see airliners flying over me all the time.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
 
alexinwa
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 12:46 pm

I think this answers the Downtown Seattle question


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Brian Hames

You mad Bro???
 
LoneStarMike
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 1:10 pm

The last two times I've flown into Dallas Love Field (DAL), we've come in right over downtown.


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Thomas Millard

LoneStarMike

 
ILS
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 1:10 pm

Yes, at AUS they come not only over downtown, but over the Capitol building as well.
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 2:19 pm

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. I was at Bayside Mall last spring when I was in Miami and there is a park outside. I remember a 747 taking off very low over me and the whole underside of it was lit up by the lights of a skyscraper. I didnt get a chance to see aircraft on approach to the runways because the whole time I was there there was a prevaling east wind, so I never got to see them come in over down town.
 
haveric
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 2:30 pm

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 north along the lake and then make a left turn over Lakeview / Lincoln Park to head west to O'Hare.

Also, last time I flew into PHL we flew directly over downtown (provided a great view of the new Kimmel Performing Arts Center) and the rest of the skyscrapers.

Eric
 
Big777jet
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 2:32 pm

I flew on Delta 727 over Sears Tower last October 2nd from ATL to ORD.

Big777jet

 
777-200
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 2:43 pm

I see Lear Jets and DC-3 Flying over Downtown Middletown (Ohio)
on Final into KMWO  Big thumbs up.
Ive seen Aircraft on Approach into CVG fly little east of Downtown Cincinnati, Heck On this New years we saw Dozens of planes passing directly over Downtown!

777-200
Another Day, Another Dollar.... Young Jeezy
 
phatfarmlines
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 3:19 pm

Following up on TPA approaches:

Southbound 18R/18L: does not pass downtown
Northbound 36L/36R (36R is restricted to small aircraft): pass downtown
Southbound, then turn to Northbound 36L/36R: pass or overfly downtown, depending on altitude
Northbound, then turn to Southbound 18R/18L: pass downtown
Westbound 27: pass downtown (best view)
Eastbound 9: does not pass downtown (VERY RARE approach)
 
I LOVE EWR
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 3:53 pm

Like mentioned before the approaches and takeoffs into LGA can be absolutly spectaculor. Sometimes you come in low over the Verazanno Bridge up the East River with the NYC skyline on the left side of the aircraft. At EWR if runway 22 L/R are in use you get a great view of the NYC skyline on the left side of the aircraft even if you are 3-5 miles away.
 
qantas744
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RE: Are Airliners Allowed To Fly Over A Downtown?

Sat Feb 09, 2002 7:19 pm

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 Wandsworth/Clapham,but flights from the UK,northern Europe and Asia frequently fly directly over central London-including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.After Sept 11th the approaches were changed to avoid flying over possible targets-but it lasted for a mere 4 days,by Sunday 16th it was back to normal.

Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll