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Airports report some delays Monday

An overturned glider aircraft at Gabreski Airport in

An overturned glider aircraft at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, where winds toppled the plane. (March 14, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

The nor'easter may be gone, but the headaches remain Monday for air travelers.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced there were minor delays - less than 15 minutes - on arrivals and departures at Long Island-MacArthur Airport Monday morning. However, other local airports aren't so fortunate.

Hazardous wind conditions were causing arrival delays of 62 minutes at LaGuardia Airport, and the FAA said those delays and an ensuing traffic management program could affect departures at the airport.

There were delays of about one hour at Newark-Liberty and delays of 50 minutes at Kennedy. Those delays were being attributed to a traffic management program in effect due to the ongoing runway construction project, the FAA said.

Some of the biggest delays being reported were at LaGuardia, which has the shortest runways of the four airports and is often the most affected by bad weather, especially wind.

The National Weather Service was reporting a "breezy, north wind" between 20 to 22 mph in the area around LaGuardia. Earlier in the day, the FAA reported that those conditions were causing average delays of 2 hours and 13 minutes on arrivals at LaGuardia.

And metro-area flights bound for Philadelphia are being delayed about one hour, while other destination-specific delays exist - such as flights to Boston, which were being delayed about 11/2 hours.

Officials recommend that travelers consult their carriers before heading to the airport.

The delays come after a wild weekend at the airports.

High winds and heavy rains on Saturday wreaked havoc, flipping parked planes, grounding flights and prompting many pilots to abort landings, aviation officials said.

At Kennedy Airport, where winds gusted to 75 mph, the strength of a Category 1 hurricane, the anemometer - a device that measures wind speed - was blown away, said FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker.

Without real-time wind measurements, "we just constantly called the [National] Weather Service for an update," said Stephen Abraham, president of the Kennedy Airport unit of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

One air traffic controller, in an exchange recorded on, told a pilot that all wind speed measurements were "estimated." As the controller said in that conversation: "It's all estimated because wind measuring equipment shattered on the field because of the wind."

The conditions caused delays of up to five hours at Kennedy and three hours at LaGuardia. Some pilots decided the conditions were too risky for takeoff, and canceled flights altogether, Baker and Abraham said.

Other pilots coming in for landings got cold feet at the last minute and performed go-arounds, air traffic control lingo for an aborted landing.

On Long Island, winds that gusted up to 70 mph flipped a Starduster aircraft at Brookhaven Airport and turned over a glider at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

With Michael Amon


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