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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-10-125
Synopsis: This report addresses the accident involving the August 8, 2009, accident involving a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, N71MC, and a Eurocopter AS350BA helicopter, N401LH, operated by Liberty Helicopters, which 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. The safety issues discussed in this report address changes within the recently designated special flight rules area (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.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Revise 14 Code of Federal Regulations 93.352 to specify altitudes of use for aircraft conducting local operations in the Hudson River special flight rules area so that the regulation includes required operating altitudes for both local and transiting aircraft, and incorporate the altitude information for local operations onto published visual flight rules aeronautical charts for the area.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Hoboken, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: ERA09MA447AB
Accident Reports: Midair Collision Over Hudson River, Piper PA-32R-300, N71MC, and Eurocopter AS350BA, N401LH
Report #: AAR-10-05
Accident Date: 8/8/2009
Issue Date: 10/18/2010
Date Closed: 10/19/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Procedures

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 10/19/2011
Response: The FAA indicated that it does not plan to take the recommended action because it believes there are not enough altitudes to segregate the variety of different local operations and provide a buffer from the transit corridor. The NTSB continues to believe, however, that the circumstances of the midair collision that prompted this recommendation demonstrate the need for the revision. Because the FAA considers its action in response to Safety Recommendation A-10-125 to be complete and plans no further action, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
Date: 7/8/2011
Response: CC# 201100280: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The ATO assembled a cross-organizational rulemaking team to review this recommendation. The team found that the recommendation could introduce additional risks and unintentional consequences by compressing local aircraft demand into fewer altitude strata. The team determined that transit aircraft operations could be easily monitored and regulated. However, local operations, consisting of many different activities and aircraft types, may include significant changes in altitude, airspace, and heading. The rulemaking team concluded that there are l not enough altitudes to segregate each local operation and provide a buffer from the transit corridor. I believe the Federal Aviation Administration has effectively addressed this safety recommendation, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
Date: 6/7/2011
Response: CC#201100040: The NTSB notes that the FAA plans to review this recommendation to determine whether it believes rulemaking would be appropriate. However, until the FAA provides additional information describing how it plans to make such a determination, and a timeline for doing so, we are unable to evaluate whether the FAA’s response is acceptable. Accordingly, pending our receipt and review of additional details regarding the FAA’s plan, Safety Recommendation A-10-125 remains classified OPEN –AWAIT RESPONSE.

From: FAA
Date: 1/3/2011
Response: CC# 201100040: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: ATO will review this recommendation to determine if rulemaking is an appropriate course of action. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress and provide an updated response to this safety recommendation by April 2011.