Redesigned Airspace Over Hudson River Debuts

Today marks first day for new regulations

Thursday, Nov 19, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 AM EDT
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Collision Above the Hudson

AFP/Getty Images

This still video image shows the moment before collision between a helicopter and a small aircraft on August 8, 2009 over New York's Hudson River.

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Small aircraft flying over the Hudson River are following new flight rules.
    
Today marks the first day for new regulations created by the Federal Aviation Administration after a midair collision between a helicopter and small plane in August killed nine people.
    
The new patterns aim to separate helicopters and sightseeing planes from aircraft that are passing through the area.
    
Local aircraft will be restricted to altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Aircraft passing through will operate between 1,000 and 1,300 feet. Speeds within the corridor will be restricted to about 160 mph or less.

The changes follow recommendations in an FAA task force report compiled after the collision.

In September, the FAA invoked new rules that required pilots to tune their radios to specific frequencies and restricting speeds to 140 knots or less, the FAA said.
    
Pilots and officials have said the devastating mid-air collision between a plane and tourist helicopter in August that killed nine people could have been foreseen; more than 200 aircraft fly within three miles of the crash site on a daily basis. The old rules allowed helicopters to fly without contact if sightseeing over the Hudson and below 1,100 feet.

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