November 2010 Issue

Is See-And-Avoid Dead?

The NTSB’s report on last year’s Hudson River midair found fault with the concept. But the NTSB downplayed several other significant failures.

In August 8, 2009, a Piper PA-32R-300 Lance and a Eurocopter AS350BA collided over the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan. The pilot and two passengers aboard the airplane, and the pilot and five passengers aboard the air-tour helicopter were killed. Both aircraft were substantially damaged. On September 14, 2010, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a public hearing to approve its probable cause finding. The NTSB determined "the inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid concept...made it difficult for the airplane pilot to see the helicopter until the final seconds before the collision." The NTSB also found fault with a Teterboro Airport (TEB) tower controller, who was on a personal telephone call as the Piper departed the facility.

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