In presenting their findings, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said they still don't know whether Lidle or his flight instructor was piloting the plane at the time of the crash on Oct. 11, 2006. Both men were killed.
Investigator Lorenda Ward told board members that the turn above the East River could have been made safely if the plane had begun the turn further east or banked harder in the turn.
"With the proper planning, judgment and airmanship, the 180-degree turn was possible," Ward said.
The pilot sought to correct the turn but instead lost altitude as the plane headed into Manhattan, she said.
"The increase in bank angle was too late," Ward said.
Lidle, a 34-year-old right-hander, was killed after finishing the baseball season with the Yankees. His flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, also died when Lidle's plane slammed into the midtown high-rise.
Documents show that investigators have had surprisingly little to go on in reviewing the accident.
The global positioning device and cockpit display unit were too badly damaged to reveal any information. There was no cockpit voice recorder because they are not required in small, privately owned planes.
The NTSB has released some preliminary documents, identifying Lidle as the pilot and Stanger as the passenger, but the papers provide no proof of who was at the controls of Lidle's Cirrus SR-20 when it crashed.
That issue is critical to the ballplayer's wife and young son, who filed suit against insurer MetLife Inc. claiming she is owed $1 million under Major League Baseball's benefit plan.
However, that plan contains an exclusion clause for an aircraft incident in which the player is "acting in any capacity other than as a passenger," a phrase that would appear to bar Lidle's family from collecting anything more than the $450,000 basic life insurance benefit.
Lidle and Stanger had departed from a New Jersey airport for a midday trip past the Statue of Liberty and north up the East River. The plane apparently ran into trouble in attempting to turn around and head back south.
After the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily ordered small-fixed wing planes not to fly over the river, which runs along Manhattan's East Side, unless the pilot was in contact with air traffic controllers.
According to NTSB documents, the FAA plans to make that restriction permanent.
Small planes previously could fly below 1,100 feet along the river without filing flight plans or checking in with air traffic control. Lidle's plane had flown between 500 and 700 feet above the river.
The collision and explosion of the plane destroyed several apartments in the building. One resident, a dentist, filed a $7 million lawsuit against the Lidle estate.
The Lidle and Stanger families have filed suit against the manufacturers of the plane and certain components.
At Yankee Stadium, Lidle's locker will remain unoccupied all season, and his widow and 6-year-old son threw out ceremonial first pitches on Opening Day.