NEW YORK (AP) – Sen. Charles Schumer demanded Sunday that the Federal Aviation Administration complete a thorough review of New York’s air space in the next 90 days in light of the plane crash that killed Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor.

“Last week’s tragic accident underscored just how vulnerable our city still is, and it made clear that the FAA is living in the past,” Schumer said. “It is still, somehow, only focused on safety when it also needs to seriously consider the risks of terrorism.”

Schumer, D-N.Y., said that despite the efforts to upgrade the nation’s air security after the 2001 terrorist attacks, general aviation rules for small planes and helicopters traveling over New York City remain less stringent than the aviation rules imposed around Washington D.C.

He proposed several measures including assessing whether pilots should have background checks before being allowed to fly in river corridors or over Manhattan and working with the Department of Homeland Security to assess the risk of chemical, biological and radiological weapons being disseminated in small planes over New York.

Following Wednesday’s crash of the plane carrying Lidle and flight instructor Tyler Stanger into an Upper East Side apartment building, the FAA on Friday banned most small, fixed-wing planes from flying along the East River in New York City unless the pilot is in contact with air traffic controllers.

Small planes could previously fly below 1,100 feet along the river without filing flight plans or checking in with air traffic control. The FAA said the rule change – a temporary one for the time being – was made for safety reasons.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said Sunday that the FAA will continue to review the air space in New York and that it regularly discusses air space security with the federal Transportation Security Administration and other appropriate agencies.

A TSA spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Schumer’s demands.


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