Flashback: JFK’s Ramada Plaza

The two most distinct quirks of Kennedy are pictured here.

The Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel off the Van Wyck Expy was built as JFK’s only on-airport hotel. Its use by airlines as a gathering location for families after the TWA 800, Swissair 111, Egypt 990, and American 587 accidents gave it its notorious name: “Heartbreak Hotel”. Today the hotel is closed but still stands, saved from destruction by its purpose of housing the final set of lead in lights for the VOR 13L approach. The curved flight paths of planes landing on 13L are visible in the photo. Reminiscent of Kai tak’s infamous IGS 13 approach for terrain avoidance, the curved VOR 13L approach into Kennedy is used for noise abatement and LGA traffic avoidance. Entering at ASALT at 3000, traffic is taken over now decommissioned Floyd Bennett Airfield, Canarsie, and over the Belt Parkway to FAF DMYHL. After passing Aqueduct Racetrack, crews follow 3 sets of lead in lights to make a right turn to align with the runway.