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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-07-038
Details
Synopsis: On October 11, 2006, about 1442 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus Design SR20, N929CD, operated as a personal flight, crashed into an apartment building in Manhattan, New York, while attempting a 180º turn maneuver above the East River. The two pilots on board the airplane, a certificated private pilot who was the owner of the airplane and a passenger who was a certificated commercial pilot with a flight instructor certificate, were killed. One person on the ground sustained serious injuries, two people on the ground sustained minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no flight plan was filed.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Permanently prohibit visual flight rules flight operations involving fixed-wing, nonamphibious aircraft in the New York East River class B exclusion area unless those operations are authorized and being controlled by air traffic control.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Manhattan, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA07MA003
Accident Reports: Crash During Turn Maneuver, Cirrus SR-20, N929CD
Report #: AAB-07-02
Accident Date: 10/11/2006
Issue Date: 5/24/2007
Date Closed: 12/22/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, General Aviation

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/22/2011
Response: The FAA indicated that the New York, New York, Class B Airspace Area has been modified and the New York, New York, Class B Airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusion Special Flight Rules Area final rule has been issued. We note that airplane operations in the East River Exclusion are prohibited, with the exception of seaplanes that are landing on or taking off from the river and airplanes that have received authorization from air traffic control. Because these actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation A-07-38, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/22/2011
Response: -From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) addressed this recommendation in the Modification of the New York, NY, Class B Airspace Area; and Establishment of the New York Class B Airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusion Special Flight Rules Area, final rule, which we issued on November 11,2009. Specifically, Title 14 CFR Section 93.353 states that no person may operate an airplane in the East River Exclusion extending from the southwestern tip of Governors Island to the north tip of Roosevelt Island except seaplanes landing on or taking off from the river, or airplanes authorized by air traffic control. Pilots must contact the LaGuardia Airport Traffic Control Tower prior to Governors Island for authorization. I believe the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/20/2009
Response: Notation 8154: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled "Proposed Modification of the New York, NY, Class B Airspace Area; and Proposed Establishment of the New York Class B Airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusion Special Flight Rules Area," which was published in 74 Federal Register 178 on September 16, 2009. This notice proposes to amend sections of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 71 and 93 as applied to the New York Hudson River and East River class B airspace exclusion areas. The FAA is proposing these changes to enhance safety of flight operations in the New York Hudson River and East River class B airspace exclusion areas. The NTSB recognizes the benefits of these proposed changes and supports rulemaking in this area. As a result of its investigations, the NTSB has issued several safety recommendations since 2007 regarding the Hudson River and East River class B exclusion areas. On October 13, 2006, the FAA published Notice to Airman (NOTAM) 6/3495 indicating that visual flight rules (VFR) flight operations involving fixed-wing aircraft (excluding fixed wing, amphibious aircraft landing in or departing from New York Seaports, Inc. seaplane base) in the East River class B exclusion area are prohibited unless authorized and being controlled by air traffic control (ATC). On May 24, 2007, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendation A-07-38, which asked the FAA to "permanently prohibit visual flight rules flight operations involving fixed-wing, nonamphibious aircraft in the New York East River class B exclusion area unless those operations are authorized and being controlled by air traffic control." The FAA noted that further rulemaking actions related to Safety Recommendation A-07-38 were forthcoming as part of a New York class B airspace redesign. On January 11, 2008, this recommendation was classified "Open-Acceptable Response." Most recently, on August 27, 2009, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendations A-09-82 through -86 as a result of the preliminary findings from its investigation of the August 8, 2009, midair collision between a helicopter and a single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft operating in accordance with VFR over the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey. This accident is still under investigation. Safety Recommendation A-09-84 asked the FAA to "amend 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 93 to establish a special flight rules area (SFRA) including the Hudson River class B exclusion area, the East River class B exclusion area, and the area surrounding Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; define operational procedures for use within the SFRA; and require that pilots complete specific training on the SFRA requirements before flight within the area." Safety Recommendation A-09-85 asked the FAA to, "as part of the special flight rules area procedures requested in Safety Recommendation A-09-84, require vertical separation between helicopters and airplanes by requiring that helicopters operate at a lower altitude than airplanes do, thus minimizing the effect of performance differences between helicopters and airplanes on the ability of pilots to see and avoid other traffic." The NTSB has not yet received a formal response from the FAA regarding these recommendations. The NPRM proposes to modify 14 CFR 93.353 to prohibit VFR flight operations by fixed-wing aircraft (excluding fixed-wing, amphibious aircraft landing at or departing from the New York Skyports, Inc. seaplane base) in the East River class B exclusion area (extending from the southwestern tip of Governors Island to the northern tip of Roosevelt Island) unless authorized and being controlled by ATC. According to the proposed rules, pilots must contact the LaGuardia ATC Tower prior to Governors Island to obtain authorization. The NTSB agrees with this proposed language, as it responds to Safety Recommendation A-07-38. The NPRM proposes to amend 14 CFR 71.1 to establish a uniform class B airspace floor of 1,300 feet mean sea level (msl) above the Hudson River class B exclusion area. Currently, the floor of the class B airspace above the Hudson River class B exclusion area varies between the altitudes of 1,100 feet msl and 1,500 feet msl at different points along the river. The NPRM indicates that the purpose of this proposed change is to provide separate altitudes for aircraft conducting local operations and aircraft transiting through the Hudson River class B exclusion area. The NPRM also proposes to modifY 14 CFR 93.352 to require aircraft overflying the area within the Hudson River class B exclusion area, but not landing at or departing from any of the Manhattan heliports or landing facilities, or conducting any local area operations, to transit the Hudson River class B exclusion area at or above an altitude of 1,000 feet msl up to, but not including, the base of the overlying class B airspace. The NTSB concurs with the intent of these proposed revisions but is concerned that the proposed changes do not ensure vertical separation between aircraft transiting the Hudson River class B exclusion area and aircraft landing at or departing any of the Manhattan heliports or landing facilities, or aircraft conducting any local area operations. Aircraft landing at or departing any of the Manhattan heliports or landing facilities, or aircraft conducting any local area operations, should be restricted to an altitude below overflying aircraft to ensure vertical separation and help prevent a midair collision. Further, additional guidance should be adopted for aircraft transiting through the area by assigning a fixed altitude for direction of flight to better segregate aircraft in the Hudson River class B exclusion area. The NTSB is also concerned that the NPRM does not include mandatory training for pilots in the Hudson River and East River class B exclusion areas as discussed above in Safety Recommendation A-09-84. Requiring specific training for pilots in this area would ensure that pilots fully understand the operational procedures and SFRA requirements. Accordingly, the rulemaking should require mandatory training for pilots operating within the Hudson River and East River class B exclusion areas similar to the requirements of the Washington, DC, SFRA required training course. 2 The Washington, DC, SFRA required training course provides a dedicated venue for standardized training for all pilots in the area. The NTSB notes that a similar training program for pilots flying in the Hudson River and East River class B exclusion areas would ensure that pilots are familiar with the operating rules of the area. The NPRM also proposes to modify 14 CFR 93.351 to require all pilots operating in the East River and Hudson River class B exclusion areas to maintain an indicated airspeed not to exceed 140 knots; turn on anticollision, position/navigation, and/or landing lights; self-announce their positions on the appropriate radio frequency for the East River or Hudson River as depicted on the New York VFR Terminal Area Chart (TAC) and/or New York Helicopter Route Chart; and have a current New York TAC chart and/or New York Helicopter Route Chart in the aircraft and be familiar with the information contained therein. The NTSB concurs with the requirement that pilots have current charts, but notes that the current New York VFR TAC chart, the New York Helicopter Route Chart, and the New York VFR TAC Helicopter Route Insert have different scales, allowing different types of information to be included on each chart. The NTSB is concerned that fixed-wing aircraft pilots disregard the helicopter charts believing they are not pertinent to their operation. Additionally, the NTSB is concerned that the differences on the various charts could lead to confusion as pilots who have multiple charts may have different information available to them. All three charts should provide the same information by prominently depicting, at a minimum, mandatory reporting points, direction of flight indicators, and notes and notices applicable to all aircraft operators, thereby eliminating multiple source requirements for operating procedures and standardizing operating procedures for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopter pilots operating within the Hudson River and East River class B exclusion areas. The NPRM also proposes to modify 14 CFR 93.352 to require that, at the charted mandatory reporting points, pilots must self-announce the aircraft type and color, current position, and direction of flight and altitude; pilots must fly along the west shoreline of the Hudson River when southbound and along the east shoreline of the Hudson River when northbound; and aircraft overflying the area within the Hudson River class B exclusion area, but not landing at or departing from any of the Manhattan heliports or landing facilities, or conducting any local area operations, must transit the Hudson River class B exclusion area at or above an altitude of 1,000 feet msl up to, but not including, the floor of the overlying class B airspace. The NTSB concurs that mandatory reporting points are necessary. The NTSB is concerned, however, that the proposed rulemaking does not specify the number or potential location of reporting points. The NTSB is also concerned that the additional task of reporting points might be excessive and could distract from the see-and-avoid requirements for pilots operating in the Hudson River class B exclusion area. To better evaluate the potential impact and safety benefit of mandatory reporting points, additional information regarding the number and location of the mandatory reporting points is needed. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on this NPRM.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/11/2008
Response: In the letter that transmitted this recommendation to the FAA, the Safety Board noted that on October 13, 2006, the FAA had published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 6/3495, restricting fixed-wing operations in the airspace above the East River. The Board stated that it strongly supports the intent of the NOTAM, concluded that the prohibition in the NOTAM should be made permanent, and issued this recommendation accordingly. In its response, the FAA indicated that it is currently developing a rulemaking project for a redesign for the New York and New Jersey airspace. Rather than taking the recommended action as a separate rulemaking activity, the FAA intends to consolidate the New York East River class B exclusion area change with the other proposed changes for the New York airspace; the FAA further indicated that this effort may take up to 2 years to complete. Until this rulemaking activity is completed, the FAA plans to continue the NOTAM that prohibits fixed-wing aircraft from operating in the exclusion area without being authorized or controlled by air traffic control. The Safety Board is concerned that this rulemaking may contain other provisions that will be controversial, and that the simple change recommended may be delayed by other parts of the rulemaking. If such delays are encountered, the Board hopes that the FAA will make the recommended change as a separate action so that it can be completed in a timely manner. Although the NOTAM will remain in effect until further notice, the navigation charts for the area will not be changed until the rulemaking action is completed. For the interim, while the NOTAM is in effect, we believe that noting the restriction on the New York terminal area chart, preferably both on the front and in an expanded-scope enlargement of the area on the back of the chart, would make compliance with the NOTAM more likely. Pending timely completion of the rulemaking to make permanent the revisions in NOTAM 6/3495, Safety Recommendation A-07-38 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/27/2007 3:59:04 PM MC# 2070435: - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration concurs with the Board’s recommendation. As the Board has noted, as a result of this accident, on October 13, 2006, the FAA published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 6/3495 restricting fixed-wing operations in the airspace above the East River. The NOTAM is intended to prevent airplane pilots from encountering a situation in which they must perform a 180 degree turn or other abrupt maneuver to avoid penetrating controlled airspace. Currently there is an airspace redesign being proposed for the New York and New Jersey airspace. The proposal is currently awaiting a record of decision approved by the FAA. Rather than make this two separate actions, we intend to consolidate the New York East River class B exclusion area change with the other proposed changes for the New York airspace. This effort may take up to two years to complete. Until such time as this effort is completed, we will continue to use the current notice to airman process to prohibit fixed- wing aircraft from operating in the exclusion area without being authorized and controlled by air traffic control. I believe that the FAA has satisfactorily responded to this safety recommendation, and I look forward to your response.