On August 8, 2009, at 1153:14 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, N71MC, and a Eurocopter AS350BA helicopter, N401LH, operated by Liberty Helicopters, collided over the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey. The pilot and two passengers aboard the airplane and the pilot and five passengers aboard the helicopter were killed, and both aircraft received substantial damage from the impact. The airplane flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and the helicopter flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Parts 135 and 136. No flight plans were filed or were required for either flight, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
Previous safety recommendations issued to the FAA addressed standard operating procedures for the Hudson River Class B exclusion area, ATC performance deficiencies, the designation of a special flight rules area (SFRA) for the Hudson River Class B exclusion area and surrounding areas, and standard operating procedures within and training for SFRAs. The safety issues discussed in this report address changes within the recently designated SFRA surrounding the Hudson River corridor, vertical separation among aircraft operating in the Hudson River SFRA, the see-and-avoid concept, and helicopter electronic traffic advisory systems. Five new safety recommendations to the FAA are included in the report.