WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA has finalized a federal rule, effective Nov. 19, designed to enhance safety by separating low-altitude, local aircraft flights over the Hudson River from flights flying through the 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 requires pilots to follow safety procedures that were previously recommended, but 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.
- Announce their position on specific radio frequencies.
- Carry current charts for the airspace and be familiar with them.
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 flying through the corridor 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 incorporates 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 will include these airspace changes on Nov. 19.
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.
For more information: FAA.gov