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FAA Finalizes Changes in Hudson River Airspace

Manhatten_SmallFor Immediate Release
November 16, 2009
FAA Finalizes Changes in Hudson River Airspace to Enhance Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today finalized a federal rule, effective November 19, 2009, that will enhance safety by separating low-altitude, local aircraft flights over the Hudson River from flights transiting through the river airspace.
“Better separation of aircraft means a higher margin of safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These new rules will ensure that aircraft can operate safely in the busy Hudson River airspace.”
“These changes will define separate corridors for aircraft operating locally and those flying along the Hudson River area,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “Separating aircraft on different missions and improving pilot situational awareness will add more layers of safety to this high-demand airspace.”
The rule also now requires pilots to follow safety procedures that were previously recommended, but were not mandatory. In a new Special Flight Rules Area over the Hudson and East Rivers, pilots must:

  • Maintain a speed of 140 knots or less.
  • Turn on anti-collision and aircraft position/navigation lights, if equipped.
  • Carry current charts for the airspace and be familiar with them.
  • Fly on the right side of the river.
  • Self-announce your position on specific radio frequencies for the following way-points.
  • Alpine Tower
  • GWB (George Washington Bridge)
  • Intrepid
  • Goldman Sachs building (Jersey side)
  • Statute of Liberty
  • VZ Bridge

hudson_airspace

In an exclusion zone below 1,300 feet over the Hudson River, pilots must announce their aircraft type, position, direction and altitude at charted mandatory reporting points and must stay along the New Jersey shoreline when southbound and along the Manhattan shoreline when northbound.
Pilots transiting the Hudson River must fly at an altitude between 1,000 feet and 1,300 feet. Local flights will operate in the lower airspace below 1,000 feet.
The rule also will incorporate provisions of an October 2006 Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricted fixed-wing aircraft in the exclusion zone over the East River to seaplanes landing or taking off on the river or those specifically approved by FAA air traffic control.
All three updated pilot charts that local fixed wing and helicopter pilots use for navigation will include these airspace changes on November 19, 2009.
The FAA will conduct seminars and coordinate with pilot groups to make pilots aware of the new requirements. The FAA also has developed an online training program that covers flight operations in the New York area.
New Hudson River Airspace Operations (Effective Nov. 19, 2009)

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  • I flew the SFRA transient area at 1200ft today as part of a test flight after some maintenance work. It's a pain to have to go all the way up to Alpine Tower and all the way down to the VZ, but other than that, the standardized reporting points are a great thing, and it's nice to not have to be as worried about the blenders climbing up from below.

  • Thanks for the info Keith.. Hope you had a great flight.

  • It’s exhausting to seek out knowledgeable folks on this topic, however you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda