Region 8 Reacts to Lidle Plane Crash

October 12, 2006 - Posted at 5:49 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle planned to stop in Nashville as he took off for a flight to his California home yesterday. But he never made it.  The plane carrying Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger veered sharply yesterday and plowed into a New York City apartment building, killing both men.

While investigators work to determine what caused Tuesday's crash...pilots in Region 8 are speculating as to what happened.

"I think in this case, he was too low and probably had an emergency and didn't have enough time to react," said flight instructor Lauren Bischoff.

Bischoff has more than 900 hours of flight time and has been instructing for about a year.  She says Lidle's Cirrus SR20 plane was in some of the busiest airspace in the country.

"Being in New York City, there is class bravo airspace because it is so busy there, if you are below the airspace there you won't be in the traffic, so he was low, he was below 1100 feet," said Bischoff, "He probably had an emergency and didn't have time to react being so close to the ground."

Lidle did not file a flight plan and was flying under visual flight rules....meaning he was responsible for keeping an eye out for other aircrafts or obstacles.  With low visibility and a heavy cloud layer at about two thousand feet, Lidle's movements were limited.  It's unclear on whether Lidle or his instructor was flying.

"Not being able to put it down, it must have been something pretty severe.  Because normally, Cessna 172's are pretty safe because they can glide, depending on the height, quiet a bit.  It's not like the airplane just actually comes down, so it must have been something that they couldn't have controlled," said Bischoff.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it'll review tapes and talk to other pilots who might've been flying nearby when the crash happened. Private pilots are now under a new temporary federal restriction requiring them to be authorized by air traffic control when flying below 1500 feet near New York City.