FAA Splits Hudson Airspace into Local, Distance - NBC New York

FAA Splits Hudson Airspace into Local, Distance

Changes come just months after a deadly midair crash over the river



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    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.

    The Federal Aviation Administration says it will carve the crowded airspace over the Hudson River into separate areas for local and long-distance traffic.
    The change was announced Monday and comes in response to a fatal August collision between a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson.
    One zone will be for local planes and helicopters, such as those carrying commuters and sightseers.

    Another zone will be for those passing through the New York City area on longer flights to other destinations.
    FAA head Randy Babbitt says the air traffic controller and supervisor who were on duty at the airport where the plane flight originated have been fired.
    The changes follow recommendations in an FAA task force report compiled after the collision. They are to take effect Thursday.

    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.

    Aircraft flying between 1,000 and 1,300 feet would use the same radio frequency as those flying below 1,000 feet, the FAA said. The August crash occurred at about 1,100 feet, a space between the lower level where visual flight rules apply and the higher altitude where air traffic controllers guide pilots.

    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. Current rules allow helicopters to fly without contact if sightseeing over the Hudson and below 1,100 feet.