That’s WEST Virginia!
[From NBC New York. ]
Umm … where am I supposed to land this thing?
A ham-fisted pilot from Virginia nearly caused a major disaster at Kennedy Airport when he brought his single-engine plane down for a landing in the path of a Boeing 747, sending controllers scrambling to get other planes out of his way, according to a published report.
Hundreds of lives were threatened over the weekend as small-towner John Prendergast la-dee-da-ed his way around the sky trying to figure out where on earth Republic Airport in Long Island was, reports The New York Post.
“I don’t know what he’s doing – he’s going everywhere,” gasped an air controller as he radioed passenger jets to tell them to steer clear of an “unknown aircraft.”
Dazed and confused, Prendergast made a few 360-degree turns near Kennedy before he finally figured out where he was supposed to be (not where he was, naturally) – and was guided to the Farmingdale airport by an NYPD chopper sent to get him out of the way, according to the Post.
The 69-year-old retired Navy pilot failed to make radio contact with controllers, which he should have done, after taking off Saturday morning from an airport in Martinsburg, Va.
Piloting a two-seat RV-7A experimental plane he built himself, Prendergast made his way up the Jersey Shore, nearing New York. He had planned to fly over water to Robert Moses State Park, then go north and west to Republic, but he somehow ended up farther west on Long Island, flying just east of Kennedy, according to the Post.
Then, to the shock of air traffic controllers, the blundering pilot flew farther north and turned around as if he were going to land with the passenger jets on Kennedy Runway 22L. A Boeing 747 on its way to New York from Atlanta actually flew over Prendergast’s small plane at one point and had to abandon its landing, the Post reported.
Prendergast hasn’t been charged with anything, but the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. He couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday, the Post reported.