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Tuesday, 17 November, 2009

FAA Finalizes Changes To Hudson River Airspace

FAA Finalizes Changes To Hudson River Airspace

November 17, 2009

What’s at Issue
On November 19, 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will publish the final rule “Modifications 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”. A pre-publication version of the final rule was made available today.

Why It’s Important
This final rule codifies the rule changes suggested by the FAA task force and National Transportation Safety Board in response to the mid-air collision of two aircraft over the Hudson River on August 8, 2009.  These proposed changes will affect pilots operating in the Hudson River and East River Class B airspace Exclusions and surrounding Class B airspace.

Major Provisions
This final rule makes the following changes to 14CFR Parts 71 and 93:

  • 14 CFR 71 is modified to establish a uniform Class B airspace floor of 1300 MSL above the Hudson River Class B Exclusion.
    • This new class B subarea, Area K, is over the portion of the Hudson River that extends between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, on the south, and the vicinity of the Alpine Tower on the north.
  • 14 CFR 93 is modified to establish a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) covering the NY Class B airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusions.  The SFRA would require the following when operating in the exclusions:
    • Operations in either the East River or Hudson River Exclusion
      • Indicated airspeed must not exceed 140 knots
      • Anti-collision lights and aircraft position/navigation lights shall be on, if equipped. The use of landing lights is recommended.
      • Pilots must self announce their position 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 the New York Helicopter Route Chart.
      • Pilots must 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.
    • When operating in the Hudson River Exclusion, the following additional requirements apply
      • Pilots must self announce, at the charted mandatory reporting points, the following information: aircraft type, current position, direction of flight and altitude
      • Southbound aircraft must fly along the west shoreline of the Hudson River and northbound aircraft must fly along the east shoreline of the river.
      • Aircraft transiting the entire length of the Hudson River Class B Exclusion must remain at or above 1000 feet MSL but below the floor of the overlying Class B airspace
    • When operating in the East River Exclusion, the following additional requirements apply
      • 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: seaplane taking off or landing in the river or aircraft authorized by air traffic control

NATA Position
NATA is pleased with the final rule and believes that the FAA has succeeded in finding simple, easy to implement policies and procedures that will enhance the safety of all operations in the Hudson River and East River Exclusions and associated Class B airspace.  

Status
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register and become effective on November 19, 2009.  A pre-publication version of the final rule is available here.

Click here to view this report in PDF format.

Staff Contact:  Mike France
Manager, Regulatory Affairs
mfrance@nata.aero

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or schambers@nata.aero

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.