Hudson River Crash Raises Security Concerns
August 10, 2009
Debate unfolded about security in the air corridor above the Hudson River in New York after Saturday's crash between a sightseeting helicopter and a small fixed-wing airplane. The crash killed nine people. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a licensed pilot who has flown over the Hudson River, said that he was open to changes to the rules governing the corridor, an AP report said, but added that it would be up to federal authorities. He also noted that helicopter tourism is important for the economy. Recently, the flights have drawn the scrutiny of government officials, said the report. Last month, for example, a Transportation Department report found that fatal accidents happen on flights of small, privately chartered aircraft, which includes helicopters, at 50 times the rate of commercial carriers. In the past, aviation groups have warned about dangers from such flights, which have 30 passengers or fewer and are known as on-demand aviation, the AP report said. But many of the F.A.A.’s rules for such flights have not been updated since 1978, and the regulator has not yet instituted 16 safety recommendations issued by the safety board since 2002, the report said. There have been eight accidents in the corridor, the report said, but Saturday's was the first one with fatilities. Previous accidents included 2007, in which a helicopter landed in the Hudson from 500 feet, without injuring passengers; a 2008 accident in which helicopter taking off clipped another on the ground; and a 2008 accident in which a pilot caused damage to a helicopter while landing during an instructional session.