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Thread: Helicopter and Light Aircraft Collide.

  1. #46
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Not "controlled" but covered by controllers -- and apparently, from the latest reports, folks all around weren't paying the attention demanded.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    There's a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) corridor along the Hudson River. 1500 foot ceiling (I think). Above that altitude, aircraft must be on instrument control.
    Would it be correct to assume this means the pilot is responsible for looking after the position of the aircraft in relation to other aircraft? If so it doesn't matter what the controllers were doing.

  3. #48

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    It's best to wait for the NTSB investigation.

    The Hudson corridor is uncontrolled, so certain procedures and visual rules are the responsibility of the pilot. The controller doesn't assign slots in the airspace to all the aircraft and keep them safely separated. But the aircraft are handed off into this space from class-B airspace, which is controlled. In the case of the airplane, it was Teterboro.

    The tour helicopters are already within the Hudson corridor.

    US airspace is divided into lettered classes. Class-A space is like a high altitude expressway.

    Class-B space is the most restrictive that goes to ground level. The tiered "upside down wedding cake" that sits over the airports is a good description.

    Philip Greenspun, a pilot who operates tours in Boston and has experience with the Hudson corridor, provides a good analysis. He focuses on the point of entry to the Hudson from Teterboro control (see the NYTimes graphic).

  4. #49

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    August 28, 2009

    Separate Altitudes Suggested for Flights Over Hudson


    By MATTHEW L. WALD and AL BAKER

    The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending major changes to air traffic over the Hudson River — including having helicopters and planes fly at separate altitudes — to prevent another midair collision like the one that killed nine people on Aug. 8.

    The board is also recommending that pilots who are to fly in the Hudson River air corridor and around the Statue of Liberty complete a special training course.

    The board is probably months away from a final report about the accident this month, in which a single-engine plane collided with a tour helicopter during a flight in a low-altitude area that is not under the direction of air traffic controllers. The main responsibility for avoiding collisions in the area rests with the pilots themselves, who are supposed to look out the window for other traffic.

    The safety board’s call for changes was made on Thursday in a 10-page letter to the Federal Aviation Administration administrator, J. Randolph Babbitt. The board, a purely advisory agency, usually makes recommendations after concluding its investigations, but does so sooner if it finds that there is a clear case for action to improve safety.

    The board’s letter came shortly before a report on the same subject was expected from a special panel convened by the aviation administration, which actually regulates the pilots and the airspace. Agency officials sometimes complain that the safety board likes to time its recommendations to beat others to the punch.

    The chairwoman of the safety board, Deborah A. P. Hersman, said in a statement on Thursday that the current procedures for flying in the Hudson air corridor are “not enough.”

    “Our recommendations suggest operational changes that can make this corridor a safer place to fly,” she said.

    In response, Laura J. Brown, an F.A.A. spokeswoman in Washington, noted that the agency had convened a panel on Aug. 17 to study operational issues in two air corridors over New York City: the one over the Hudson River and another over the East River. She said the panel, which includes air traffic and safety experts from the aviation agency, experienced air traffic controllers and a member of the union that represents the controllers, is expected to present its report to Mr. Babbitt Friday.

    “They are looking at all these issues, and we won’t have any comment on the N.T.S.B.’s recommendations until we have a chance to look at the recommendations of our own working group,” Ms. Brown said.

    The crash spurred an outcry by New York politicians over the airspace, a corridor between Governors Island and the George Washington Bridge, 1,100 feet and below, which one politician referred to as the Wild West.

    Among the board’s recommendations is one that would require that planes intending to re-enter airspace that is under the direction of controllers be cleared to do so as soon as traffic permits. Another would require that pilots in the area be advised to listen to an established common radio frequency to announce their position and listen for other traffic. Currently, some pilots — possibly including the one involved in the crash on Aug. 8 — listen to air traffic controllers instead. The board’s letter said that the pilot of the airplane had asked controllers to watch him on radar and warn him of other traffic — a service known as flight-following that is provided when controllers are able.

    The board’s letter said that using a common frequency “would have required the pilot to be actively transmitting and receiving on two different radios at the same time,” which it said was especially hard in a busy environment like New York City’s. Still, it said, listening in on that common frequency is a “fundamental component” of safety procedures in the area.

    The safety board has not yet determined what frequency the airplane’s pilot was monitoring on Aug. 8. Since he was told by a controller at Teterboro to check in with the controller at Newark Liberty International Airport and acknowledged that instruction, but never actually did so, one possibility is that he tuned in to some other, inappropriate frequency.

    The board has also not determined the significance of a “nonbusiness” phone call placed by the Teterboro controller after he cleared the plane for take-off. But it said Thursday that the absence of a supervisor from the tower at the time of the crash had allowed the controller to make the call, and slowed up emergency notifications afterward.


    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  5. #50

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    September 3, 2009

    F.A.A. Plans Changes in Hudson Flight Rules


    By AL BAKER

    The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday that it would issue new rules governing how airplanes, helicopters and other touring and official aircraft operate in the congested air corridor above the Hudson River.

    Administration officials said the agency would also develop new training programs for pilots, air-traffic controllers and the tourist helicopter operators that use the corridor. And, for the largest part of the airspace, the agency said it would set limits for how fast the aircraft may fly and would require that every pilot in that airspace be tuned to the same radio channel — protocols that are now voluntary.

    “These steps will significantly enhance safety in this busy area and create crystal-clear rules for all of the pilots who operate there,” the agency’s administrator, J. Randolph Babbitt, said in a statement outlining the changes.

    The steps were recommended by a special panel convened by the aviation agency after a midair collision on Aug. 8 in which a single-engine plane collided with a touring helicopter over the river. The accident killed nine people, including a group of tourists from Italy.

    The agency’s action is an effort to refine the regulations governing a congested airspace that one elected official has referred to as the Wild West.

    A week earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board — an advisory body that has the lead role in investigating the crash but lacks the authority to order changes — issued its own set of recommendations, which are, by some measures, fundamentally different from the aviation agency’s proposals.

    A spokeswoman for the safety board said Wednesday that it would look more carefully at the proposed changes in the days ahead.

    Though the aviation agency’s proposals have to pass through a rulemaking process in Washington, including being subject to public comment, the agency will expedite the process and expects to have all of the changes in place by Nov. 19, said Laura J. Brown, an aviation agency spokeswoman.

    Even as the proposed changes were made public, United States Representative Jerrold Nadler, who represents the West Side of Manhattan, released a statement calling them “fundamentally inadequate.”

    Senator Charles E. Schumer also said he was not happy with the proposed changes. “The F.A.A. took a first step, but more has to be done,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement, citing the fact that under the proposals, controllers would not monitor planes below 1,000 feet. “We urge the F.A.A. to go back to the drawing board and put in the necessary additions to keep the corridor safe.”

    An aide to Mr. Nadler said he and other lawmakers from New York and New Jersey had advanced a variety of ideas that the aviation agency had ignored. Primarily, Mr. Nadler was pushing to require all planes flying in the corridor to have a cockpit device that warns when another aircraft is too close, said the aide, Robert M. Gottheim.

    “It is not something that you have to actively go on a radio for, but technology allows the system to operate automatically,” Mr. Gottheim said. “It would greatly diminish human error.”

    The proposals put forward by the aviation agency deal with the finer points of flying aircraft through some of the most complicated airspace in the nation. At the core, the changes would create space for pilots who want to pass quickly through the area while avoiding the zigzagging planes or helicopters hoping to linger in the area for sightseeing.

    Under the new configuration, a general aviation pilot could fly in a newly designated corridor above other general aviation traffic, yet be under the direction of air traffic controllers, a slight variation from current practice.

    A second altitude corridor, from 1,000 to 1,300 feet, would be for planes to fly above other traffic but use, as a main means of avoiding collision, a technique called “see and avoid” — basically, meaning that pilots look out their windows to spot other aircraft.

    A third airspace would be created for all aircraft operating under 1,000 feet, Ms. Brown said.

    In the two lower-altitude corridors, the rules that would become mandatory include: Requiring pilots to tune their radio to a frequency of 123.05, known as the common traffic advisory frequency, and to announce their description, location, direction and altitude when entering the area; requiring southbound planes and copters to hug the New Jersey coastline and northbound ones to hew closely to the West Side of Manhattan; setting speeds at 140 knots or less for all aircraft; and requiring pilots to turn on anti-collision devices, navigation equipment and landing lights.

    Any pilots of fixed-wing airplanes leaving Teterboro Airport, in New Jersey, would have to enter the uncontrolled air corridor via a special route over the George Washington Bridge. If those pilots desired to fly into controlled airspace, the controllers at Teterboro would have to gain approval from their counterparts at Newark Liberty International Airport before takeoff.

    As for the training programs the aviation agency said it intends to develop, Ms. Brown said they would be added to pilots’ routine training but would not be mandatory for all pilots.

    “We are requiring that if you operate in that airspace, you know the rules,” Ms. Brown said, adding, “There will be multiple ways that pilots can learn the rules.”

    Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

  6. #51
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Wrong frequency contributed to the Hudson River air disaster: Officials

    by Leo Standora

    September 17th 2009



    The pilot that collided with a helicopter over the Hudson River last month read back a wrong radio frequency to his air-traffic controller, who never corrected it, officials said Wednesday.

    Less than a minute later, the single-engine Piper hit the chopper, sending both plummeting into the river, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told a congressional committee.

    Three people aboard the plane and a pilot and five Italian tourists on the copter were killed.

    Hersman said that just after the Piper took off from Teterboro Airport, the controller handed it off to nearby Newark Airport.

    During the handoff, the controller instructed the pilot to contact Newark and gave him the radio frequency, but the frequency the pilot read back was incorrect. There is no indication any controller heard the incorrect readback or attempted to correct it.

    Hersman said Newark controllers saw the plane was heading toward the copter and called the Teterboro controller to redirect the plane. The Teterboro controller twice tried unsuccessfully to contact the pilot.


  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    September 3, 2009

    F.A.A. Plans Changes in Hudson Flight Rules


    Washington Headquarters Press Release


    For Immediate Release

    November 16, 2009
    Contact: Laura Brown
    Phone: (202) 267-3455

    FAA Finalizes Changes in Hudson River Airspace to Enhance Safety

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today finalized a federal rule, effective November 19, 2009, that will enhance safety by separating low-altitude, local aircraft flights over the Hudson River from flights transiting through the river airspace.

    “Better separation of aircraft means a higher margin of safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These new rules will ensure that aircraft can operate safely in the busy Hudson River airspace.”

    "These changes will define separate corridors for aircraft operating locally and those flying along the Hudson River area," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Separating aircraft on different missions and improving pilot situational awareness will add more layers of safety to this high-demand airspace."


    The rule also now requires pilots to follow safety procedures that were previously recommended, but were not mandatory. In a new Special Flight Rules Area over the Hudson and East Rivers, pilots must:
    • Maintain a speed of 140 knots or less.
    • Turn on anti-collision and aircraft position/navigation lights, if equipped.
    • Self-announce their position on specific radio frequencies.
    • Carry current charts for the airspace and be familiar with them.
    In an exclusion zone below 1,300 feet over the Hudson River, pilots must announce their aircraft type, position, direction and altitude at charted mandatory reporting points and must stay along the New Jersey shoreline when southbound and along the Manhattan shoreline when northbound.
    Pilots transiting the Hudson River must fly at an altitude between 1,000 feet and 1,300 feet. Local flights will operate in the lower airspace below 1,000 feet.

    The rule also will incorporate provisions of an October 2006 Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricted fixed-wing aircraft in the exclusion zone over the East River to seaplanes landing or taking off on the river or those specifically approved by FAA air traffic control.

    All three updated pilot charts that local fixed wing and helicopter pilots use for navigation will include these airspace changes on November 19, 2009.


    The FAA will conduct seminars and coordinate with pilot groups to make pilots aware of the new requirements. The FAA also has developed an online training program that covers flight operations in the New York area.
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Federal Aviation Administration
    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20591
    1-866-TELL-FAA (1-866-835-5322)

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