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Thursday, September 3, 2009

FAA to Enhance New York Air Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is revising flight procedures to create safe, dedicated operating corridors for all the aircraft that fly at lower altitudes around Manhattan and over the Hudson River. A New York Airspace Task Force developed a comprehensive series of recommendations that the FAA plans to implement as quickly as possible.  FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said “these steps will significantly enhance safety in this busy area and create crystal-clear rules for all of the pilots who operate there.” The safety enhancements would restructure the airspace, mandate pilot operating rules, create a new entry point into the Hudson River airspace from Teterboro, standardize New York area charts and develop new training for pilots, air traffic controllers and businesses that operate helicopters and aircraft in the area. One of the most significant changes, if adopted, would divide the airspace into altitude corridors that separate aircraft flying over the river from those operating to and from local heliports or seaplane bases. The FAA expects to complete and publish any changes in time to have them in effect by November 19, so that they can be incorporated on new, standardized aeronautical charts that will replace existing charts. The charts will highlight the Class B VFR corridor, encouraging more pilots to exercise the option to fly over the Hudson River under air traffic control, instead of entering the congested exclusionary zone. Finally, the FAA intends to develop training programs specifically tailored for pilots, air traffic controllers and fixed-base operators to increase awareness of the options available in the Hudson River airspace, and better develop plans that enhance safety for the intended flight.
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