Police say a pilot who triggered an emergency response with a Rockaway beach landing made a reference to a television show and made a series of odd excuses for wanting to land on the sand.
Jason Maloney of Cornwall, N.Y., mentioned a show called "Flying Wild Alaska," which depicts rough landings.
Maloney spoke casually with an air traffic controller while landing the small plane Monday night on Rockaway Beach, Queens.
Apparently asking if he was in the controller's airspace, he stated: "Just let us know if we're up in your grill, you know?"
He also said "this might be crazy... but are we allowed to land on the beach?"
According to excerpts from the radio exchange quoted in published reports, the controller said not unless it was an emergency.
Moments later, the pilot said "we're going to go a little lower here, tower... You know, tower, my engine might running a liiiittle teensy, teensy bit rough, a little teensy bit rough."
Maloney then claimed to have a "sick passenger."
"We're not going to declare an emergency, but we are going to land on the beach," he said.
And then he did.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says Maloney later told a detective, "What's the big deal? It happens all the time in Alaska."
The detective replied: "Welcome to New York."
According to FAA spokesman Jim Peters, the incident is currently under investigation. If the FAA determines that Maloney was guilty of a violation, it will consider disciplinary action that could include a letter of warning, suspension or revocation of his pilot's license, or a civil penalty.
His father, John Maloney, said the 24-year-old pilot was just trying to help his sick passenger.