Five Recommendations Forwarded To The FAA Resulting From August
8th Mid Air
The NTSB issued five safety recommendations Thursday to the
FAA resulting from the Safety Board's ongoing investigation of the
midair collision over the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey on
August 8, 2009. The collision of a Eurocopter AS350 BA
helicopter, and a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane caused nine fatalities,
including the pilot and five passengers aboard the helicopter and
the pilot and two passengers aboard the airplane.
The helicopter flight was a local sightseeing flight conducted
under the provisions of Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 135
and 136. The airplane flight was a personal flight conducted under
CFR part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and
no flight plans were required or filed for either flight.
However, the airplane pilot requested flight-following
The area surrounding the major airports in New York City is
designated class B airspace. Pilots are required to get permission
from ATC to enter class B airspace and to follow ATC instructions
once there. The collision occurred in the Hudson River class
B exclusion area, a passageway through the New York City area class
B airspace that permits (non-air carrier) aircraft to fly north and
south along the Hudson River without authorization from air traffic
Aircraft, such as the accident airplane, departing Teterboro
airport for destinations to the south or southeast must either
request ATC clearance to enter the class B airspace or
circumnavigate the class B airspace around Newark airport to the
west or use the Hudson River class B exclusion area. In the
Hudson River class B exclusion area, they are required to remain at
or below 1,100 feet.
"The FAA has established procedures for operation within the
Hudson River class B exclusion area that are designed to minimize
the risk of collision, but as this accident demonstrates, there are
still situations when these established procedures are not enough,"
said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. "Our
recommendations suggest operational changes that can make this
corridor a safer place to fly."
These new recommendations ask the FAA to revise standard
operating ATC procedures for the Hudson River class B exclusion
area, and to brief air traffic controllers and supervisors about
the circumstances of this accident, emphasizing the requirement to
remain attentive when on duty. The recommendations also ask
the FAA to establish a special flight rules area (SFRA) for the
class B exclusion areas near New York City, require vertical
separation between helicopters and airplanes in these SFRAs,
require pilots to complete specific training on the SFRA
requirements before flight within the area, and conduct a review of
other airspace configurations where specific pilot training and
familiarization would improve safety.