Uproar Ensues Over Safety of the Hudson River VFR Corridor

It wasn't long after the accident before harsh words began flying over the viability of 'see and avoid' in such crowded airspace. With scores of tour helicopters mixing with fixed wing traffic, there was no shortage of criticism launched at the FAA for allowing such "chaos" to persist. Calling the corridor "an accident waiting to happen" and comparing it to "the Wild West" critics clamored for additional controls-even closing the corridor altogether. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a licensed helicopter and fixed-wing pilot himself, preached a measured approach to the issue. He cited the tremendous financial benefit the tours bring to the city, and he also pointed out that this was the first collision, ever, within the compact airspace. Ironically, one suggestion that emerged was to have helicopters fly at lower altitudes, 600 to 800 feet, while fixed-wing aircraft would be asked to remain higher while still staying below the 1,100-foot ceiling. Asked about the idea, John Del Giorno, the on-air helicopter reporter for ABC affiliate Channel 7 in New York, recalled that up until a few years ago, that had been the arrangement for operating within the corridor. But tour operators had shifted to flying higher in response to noise complaints.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter