Rick Day, Senior Vice President for Operations, Air Traffic Organization unveiled new flight safety and operational enhancements for the VFR flight corridor on New York’s Hudson river in testimony today. Mr. Day’s statements, made to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security on Aviation Safety, was in response to the fatal mid-air collision of a Piper PA-32 and a Eurocopter AS 350 on August 8th.
The Task Force, consisting of FAA air traffic and safety experts and air traffic controllers, with assistance from the Helicopter Association International, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, was assigned to make recommendations. These include mandating pilot rules, standardizing charts, create an entry point from Teterboro, and restructuring the airspace in the following manner:
- It would establish a uniform “floor” for the Class B airspace over the Hudson River at 1,300 feet, which would also serve as the “ceiling” for the exclusionary zone. This removes some confusing complexity that currently exists.
- Between 1,300-2,000 feet, aircraft will operate in the Class B airspace under visual flight rules but under positive air traffic control and communicate with controllers on the appropriate air traffic frequency.
- Below 1,300 feet, aircraft must use a single common radio frequency. Mandatory routes for aircraft flying up and down the river will require them to favor the “right side” of the river (i.e. the east side for northbound traffic and the west side for southbound traffic) to provide horizontal separation as well.
- Coordination of traffic and handoffs between Air Traffic Controllers at the Teterboro tower, Newark tower, and radar control will be improved.