October 2009 Issue

Did The FAA Get This One Right?

An online discussion between helicopter operators and local ATC on the FAAís proposed low-altitude airspace and procedure revisions for New York City.

In last monthís Editorís Log, under the heading, "Unwritten Rules," we discussed the tragic August 8, 2009, mid-air collision between a Piper PA-32R-300 and Eurocopter AS350 operating as a for-hire tour over the Hudson River off New York City. The Piper had just departed nearby Teterboro Airport while the helicopter had launched a few moments before from the West 30th Street Heliport. The two collided over the Hudson Riverís west bank; all nine aboard both aircraft perished. The collision engendered just the kind of hysteria to which those who pay attention to the mass mediaís coverage of general aviation have grown accustomed. Elected officials and average citizens alike marched forth to complain there were no rules concerning such operations, and non-scheduled flights should be (choose one or all) banned, subject to specific training and approvals or under new operating rules, including positive ATC direction.

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