Jason Maloney is the 24-year-old pilot who had to land his single-engine airplane on Rockaway Beach on Monday night—a frightening ordeal that resulted in no injuries to any of the three people on board. Save your applause, however, as another Captain Sully this guy is most definitely not.
In a startlingly casual exchange with air-traffic control, Maloney kept making groan-inducing comments and wisecracks:
Twice, upon receiving authorization to fly below 500 feet along the shoreline, the pilot replied, "Roger," but stretched it out and pronounced it, "rod-jaaah," according to the recording. He also told the controller, who was nearby at Kennedy Airport monitoring outgoing flights, "Just let us know if we're up in your grill, you know?"
Maloney asked, "This might be crazy but are we allowed to land on the beach?" The response from the controller was "only in an emergency," who then offered assistance, which the pilot refused. Maloney later announced, "We're not going to declare an emergency, but we're going to land on the beach," with the same urgency one might remark, "Gossip Girl's a repeat tonight, but I'm going to watch it anyway." And then the plane came down.
Just what Maloney was doing in the Piper Warrior aircraft, and why he needed to land it in such a cavalier fashion, is currently under investigation. What's known is that he took off first from an airport in Newburgh, NY, then landed and took off again from an airport in Farmingdale, L.I. The trouble came soon after, with some reports saying it was over something as innocuous as one of the passengers, 21-year-old Chelsea Protter, having complained about stomach cramps.
Questioned later by police, Maloney told police he got the idea for the landing from watching Discovery Channel's Flying Wild Alaska.
Rod-jaaah that, Maloney. [NYT]