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. Steve Gerard

    Photoshop CS4 : $699.

    Fueling and flying a 747 and two F16s, plus work hours lost due to building evacuations? $3.6 Million

    For what it cost to stage this photo-op, they could have paid a Photoshop guru to fake a pic (just as convincingly as the real thing) for a couple a thousand dollars MAX.


    April 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    It is absolutely unfathomable to me that the general public would not be informed of this activity. I am sure some people thought 9/11 was happening all over again. Why create unnecessary panic? Does anyone have an explanation for the blatant disrespect for the citizens of NYC?

    April 27, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Josiah Crabtree

    A supremely stupid thing to do. They're lucky people weren't stroking out or having heart attacks in the streets.

    April 27, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Christa

    That's right, scare the hell out of the residents of Manhattan for a photo shoot. Why not? Do you assume they are use to this by now? Good grief! what next?

    April 27, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. Jayden,FL

    What a pretty stupid move! why would they do something like that after 9/11? imagine hearing a 747 buzzing lower Manhattan the first thing comes to mind is hijacking/911 run!.. pretty stupid "photo op"

    April 27, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. jpg midwest

    Apparently our current Administration forgot what horrible memories this visual "photoshoot" could trigger for a city that had endured so much.... Lack of planning and total disregard not to alert local agencies... And we are prepared to defend ourselves when we can't even notify agencies of a "planned" low flying aircraft for a photoshoot. food for thought

    April 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    This was a typical bone head move by the FAA.

    April 27, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Nothing here, folks. It's just the O'man buzzing 'round the Apple in his new pimped out ride.

    April 27, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. jeff- Texas

    Our hard earned tax dollars at work!!! I am sure that cost around $125,000, for a photo? Great work Obama

    April 27, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Nikki

    Let's see how many people will blame Obama for this ...

    Communication failed somewhere between Federal , State and Local leaders.

    April 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    A few million $$$ of taxpayer money for a photo-op. This presidency is about as thoughtful as a dime-store novel.

    April 27, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Andy

    So let me understand this. Air Force One used taxpayers money to have a photo op over New York City. How come the media won't call it Air Force One?

    April 27, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Mike

    What were they thinking – can they think? Get the idiots out of the government decision making positions or stop taxing us!!!!!

    April 27, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Brett

    here is other D party to scare people.....


    I support it for reason – flight test... but WRONG PLACE!!!!

    April 27, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Rick in OP

    I can see how New Yorkers might be concerned at the site of a large airliner flying low near Manhattan and being escorted by fighter jets. For a while I had begun to believe that the horror of the attacks of September 11th had been forgotten.

    April 27, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    From various sources: 40,000-50,000 dollars per hour to operate Air Force One.

    For a PHOTO-OP that scared people.

    April 27, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Obama victim

    Wow... emergency evacuations for a Presidential photo-op??

    This would be ridiculously funny – if it weren't so scary how this administration uses propaganda.

    April 27, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Sheila Ann Lamb

    We cannot and should not over react to every single thing. This is overblown. If we have National Security, then reasoned minds should believe that if this were indeed a security breach, actions would have warranted such bruhaha.
    There is such a thing as making a mountain out of a molehill, this is such a case. We certainly have enough "real problems" than to create problem where non exixts, and to always assume the worst.
    Everyone is already on edge, let's not create an atmosphere where everything is negative. It is not.

    April 27, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. WOW

    thank BO. That was helpful.

    April 27, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. geecee

    Who exactly approved of this brilliant idea? I doubt President Obama knew anything about it. He never would have agreed to it. Stupid, stupid decision by some idiot bureaucrat. FAA, DOD, some really lame brain from within those agencies, and the pilots flying these planes just thought it was a photo op, too? Wouldn't frighten anyone? What are people thinking? Over NYC of all places!!

    April 27, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Lauren

    And how much did this photo shoot cost the taxpayers?????????

    April 27, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. nganga

    Might we please get a full explanation of the reason for the flyover before we start opening my mouths we obama this Obama that?

    April 27, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Evacuated NYCer

    My building was evacuated the morning. I was also near the WTC center site right on 9/11.

    This was not a good way to start the morning. Everyone in the area was worried and trying to figure out what was going on.

    I was thankful for how quickly the building management was reacting, but it would have been better not to have to go through this experience.

    April 27, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. No Incumbents 2010

    Secretary Gates should explain why he allowed this outrageous waste of taxpayer funds. Why did we need this publicity stunt?

    April 27, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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