- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Yesterday's crash of an American Airlines Airbus in New York frightened some passengers from flying and emboldened others at local airports.
"I'm considering driving now," said Oxon Hill resident Brady E. Foy, who has a paid ticket to visit his native Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday.
Mr. Foy was one of hundreds of people who watched in shock the aftermath of the plane crash on a trio of televisions at the PGA Tour Shop at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. His flight would take a little more than an hour; the drive would take about 12 hours.
Reagan Airport, which was closed from September 11 to Oct. 4, is operating about 52 percent of its normal flight schedule. It looked much like a ghost town yesterday.
The airport's PGA shop, bars and restaurants were the only places passengers could see broadcasts of the crash because monitors run by the airlines and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority stopped beaming news feeds shortly after the crash.
"This doesn't help," Maureen McGrath of Boston said of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. "The whole mood of everybody right now is just on edge."
Mrs. McGrath, 30, was waiting to check in for an afternoon American Airlines flight after spending a weekend with her husband, Doug, who is stationed at an area Navy base. "I am always nervous to fly anyway," she said.
American Airlines officials yesterday said they will refund money to passengers who are too frightened to fly.
At Washington Dulles International Airport, Fletcher Pak was heading back to his home in Pensacola, Fla., and said his plans were not affected.
"I wasn't really shaken up or anything," Mr. Pak said.
Maryland resident Norvell Moore was dropping off a friend, Erica Scholz, who planned to take a flight back to her native Germany. Mr. Moore said there was never any thought about skipping the trip.
"You listen to what's being reported, you weigh your options and you say, 'Let's go,'" Mr. Moore said.
Local flights to New York airports were canceled or postponed in the immediate aftermath of the French-made A300-600 Airbus crash about 9:17 a.m. in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. The crash, which is being investigated as an accident, killed 260 persons on board, and six persons on the ground were listed as missing and presumed dead.
Last night, there was no evidence linking the crash to terrorism, authorities said.
Flights to New York resumed yesterday afternoon.
At Reagan Airport, Army Master Sgt. Joseph Menefee, 36, of Frederick, Md., was supposed to fly US Airways to Fayetteville, N.C., yesterday. He postponed his trip till today.
"With a plane falling out of the sky like that, it made me kind of feel uneasy," said Sgt. Menefee, who has been in the Army 18 years. "My wife didn't want me to go anyway."
Sgt. Menefee said his gut feeling told him not to fly and that mechanical failure, not terrorist activity, was responsible for the crash. "You would think [the airlines] would be a little up on the maintenance" of its planes since September 11, he said.
The crash of the American Airlines jet occurred two months and a day after terrorists hijacked four airliners and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in southwestern Pennsylvania. Two of the hijacked planes belonged to American Airlines.
At Dulles, Kathy Cardell said she was very nervous about hopping on her flight to Tampa, Fla., but that her boss told her to "get over it."
She said she would have turned in her ticket if there was any indication the crash was the result of terrorism.
"Since September 11, it's been very difficult," said Miss Cardell, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gerald Feeney, of Cape Canaveral, Fla., flew into Dulles from Orlando, Fla., for his two-week duty in the Navy reserve. Though his American Airlines flight had taken off at 11:30 a.m., he had not heard about the crash in New York.
He was relieved to hear there were no indications of terrorism, and said he understood why his flight crew didn't inform passengers of the accident.
"If it was something like September 11, people might want to know," Mr. Feeney said.
Tim Lemke contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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