April 27th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
14 years ago

Presidential plane sparks evacuations in downtown NYC


Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

(CNN) – Several buildings in downtown New York were cleared as a precaution Monday morning when a military 747 accompanied by two F-16's were spotted flying low over lower Manhattan. The culprit: part of the presidential fleet.

The maneuvers were part of a photo shoot, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. An Air Force spokesperson says the plane involved was one of the two used to transport the president, also known as VC-25.

Eyewitnesses said the plane was seen circling over the Upper New York Bay in the area of the Statue of Liberty. It then flew up the Hudson River. Building evacuations also took place across the Hudson River in Jersey City.

Officegoers in lower Manhattan may have been surprised by the display, but according to an Air Force spokeswoman, local officials were not: both the FAA and local law enforcement were warned ahead of time.

Watch an iReport of the incident.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Freed_From_W

    Hmm, I guess Cheney wasn't there to clog and confuse the FAA Air Traffic Control network with multiple military exercises this time....

    April 27, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Cleaning up after W

    Waiting for all the Obama haters to start ranting....

    April 27, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Scott, Tucson

    And just how much of the taxpayer dollars went into this photo shoot for the WH?

    I bet the amount spent could have saved a couple hundred elementary school teacher positions instead, Obama will have a nice 8×10 of Air Force One.

    April 27, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Nestor, Austin, TX

    Yeah, an airplane followed by two fighters flying low over lower Manhattan. Didn't think that'd freak anyone out? What genius authorized that without warning people first?

    April 27, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. lil mama

    i think that the government needs to stop being so weird about stuff. i mean, they act like everything in the air is going to fly into something and blow it up. we havent had an episode like that in years. use your brain ppl!

    April 27, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Flex

    I really like Obama, but he must insist that the military end it's practice of flying in our kite space within .25 miles of our homes. If an accident happened, the negative effects would be phenomenal!

    Also, he must put an end to the appalling air show that we're subjected too every October, in San Francisco. My poor doggie might suffer from a very painful heart attack if he is subjected too another eardrum shattering roar of fierce engines in the sky. It terrifies him, and is pure noise pollution!

    April 27, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. JP

    Whose idea was it anyway?

    April 27, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Taj


    April 27, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Bev

    Real smart....although, to an administration who really thinks there is no terror threat, a photo op with a 747 flying low near the statue of Liberty would not even come to mind.

    April 27, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Capt. Snarky

    Now there's a good use of tax payer dollars! Couldn't they just use the postcards we can all buy at the store????

    Jeez, what a waste.....

    April 27, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Simpliticus

    Given the circumstances which occurred on 9/11 involving planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the aftermath associated with that disaster, it is understandable that people remember the trauma associated with that event. Likewise, when the president travels, enough security is required for his safety which means security flyovers and so forth. The real problems associated with the events of 9/11 remain shrouded in secrecy to the extent that the trauma elicited during these security efforts remains unresolved. If an objective investigation into the matter had been entertained and investigated, that trauma would in my opinion dissolve but no investigation on an objective basis is not forthcoming and we shall never know the real association of THERMATE found in the WTO rubble to who placed it there in the first place and not by the supposed hijackers!

    April 27, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. obama/mama

    What in tarnation

    April 27, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. John

    Incredibly stupid! As a witness to 9/11, I am appalled at the callous attitude taken by this Administration to joy-ride around lower Manhattan. Clearly, there were very nervous NY'ers watching this unfold, not sure what was going to happen next.

    April 27, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    Enough already with the SCARE crap. I'm so sick a tire of all this crap out here about FEAR. If it's not the republicans, it's the media tiring to SCARE the crap out of this country about TERRORISM, EEEEENOUGH ALREADY. We had 9/11 8yrs ago and all you hear is people want to kill Americans, our country is under attack by terrorist, nothing but FEAR tactics by the politics to keep you afraid of people who don't look like white America.

    April 27, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Jan Franklin

    Yep, that's what Obama is all about: a photo shoot. The people in NY were wise to get out of the way of Obama and his publicity stunts, as he cares more about how he "appears" than how he really is. People could get hurt if they get in the way of his photo op.

    April 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. DOC

    The local law enforcement, however, was told NOT to divulge any information leading to massive building evacuations, thousands of phone calls from concerned citizens, and some very shakey New York residents.

    Allowing this "photo-op" to happen unannounced has caused a great panic in that city.

    Hope those photos were worth it.

    April 27, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. shootingmans

    Used for a photo shoot? How much did that cost?

    April 27, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Tim

    Who ordered the photo shoot and why?

    If you need any more help asking the relevant questions, just let me know.

    April 27, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Potomac Wonderfool

    so how much id we lose in productivity and what did we gain from this photoshoot? While I have been for Obama, at events like this, he acts like a kid i a candy shop! He is not setting agood example.

    April 27, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Jeff from Atlanta

    Is anyone surprised that it was a "photo shoot" for the presidential airplane that caused the evacuation?

    The arrogance of this administration will be it's downfall.

    April 27, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    Well, and good.... at least Obama was not hanging on the wing in a full flight suit declaring us the victors of what.... oh, hell, anything! *LOL* We have to have photos ops... *LOL*

    April 27, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Monrob

    A lot of gas being wasted...

    April 27, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. george


    April 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Don

    What a waste of taxpayers money – a photo shoot!

    April 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Cerena

    That's very bad that after 9/11 NY still hasn't gotten its communication systems interfaced...if they can't clearly communicate the difference between a photo op for Airforce 1 and another potential 9/11 then what have we learnt and what plans were put in place?

    April 27, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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