Today’s news:

Concorde flew errant path above Queens in July: PA

An Air France Concorde supersonic jetliner that awoke many people and set off auto alarms in Belle Harbor in July was traveling in an abnormal flight path, the Port Authority has told a Queens congressman.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills), a frequent critic of the Concorde, had asked the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority to investigate the incident that occurred at 8:30 a.m., July 21, as a Concorde took off from John F. Kennedy International airport.

“The July 21 Concorde departure identified in your letter traveled slightly further west over Belle Harbor than typical Concorde departures,” said Port Authority Aviation Director William DeCota in a letter to Weiner.

“We are investigating whether this difference is related to weather or other conditions that can influence aircraft flight paths. We have contacted Air France regarding this flight and will inform you of the results of our investigation.”

As to the noise level of the Concorde that morning, DeCota said that due to a computer malfunction in the Port Authority’s Aircraft Noise Abatement Monitoring System “we can’t connect our noise data to that particular flight.”

Weiner said the FAA had confirmed that the jet departed at a slower rate of ascent than is typical of the Concorde.

“We agree with the residents of Belle Harbor that the Concorde produces an unacceptable amount of noise and is, in fact, the noisiest aircraft operating in the world,” DeCota wrote to Weiner.

“The aircraft produces about 119 decibels of noise on takeoff vs. less than 90 decibels for most aircraft operating at the airport,” DeCota said. “As a matter of record, the Port Authority fought the introduction of the Concorde at JFK and lost after bringing the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The Port Authority director went on to tell Weiner in the letter that “one concession we did win, however is that the Concorde was only given permission by the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate in the United States under certain limitations and restrictions.”

He said the Concorde was limited to operating only between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and required to avoid heavily populated parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

Weiner said residents of Belle Harbor, where an American Airlines jet crashed Nov. 12, 2001 killing 265 people, described the Concorde as struggling to gain altitude as it flew across the Rockaway peninsula, awaking many people on a Sunday morning and setting off car alarms.

“No one has suffered worse from airplane noise than the long-suffering residents of Belle Harbor,” Weiner said. “And when it comes to airplane noise, nothing’s worse than the Concorde.”

The Concorde, in service since 1976, is the world’s only faster-than-sound passenger plane and is operated only across the Atlantic and only by Air France and British Airways. A one-day advance purchase ticket is $12,284.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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