The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finalized regulations for Hudson River airspace three months after a helicopter and commuter plane crashed in mid-air.
The rules, which go into effect Nov. 19, will separate the airspace over the Hudson River between local aircrafts and ones making long-distance flights.
Local planes and helicopters will fly below 1,000 feet while planes passing through the airspace must fly between 1,000 and 1,300 feet.
There are also new special flight rules for pilots flying over the Hudson River. Pilots have to maintain a speed of 140 knots—about 161 miles per hour—or less, turn on anti-collision and navigation lights if equipped and announce their position on specific radio frequencies.
The federal transportation secretary Ray LaHood said the separation of flights will give pilots a higher margin of safety.
Sen. Charles Schumer was less impressed, urging the FAA to “to go back to the drawing board and put in the necessary additions to keep the corridor safe,” he said in a statement.
Schumer and other critics of the FAA’s lax regulation have called for mandatory flight plans and for controllers to be in charge of airspace below 1,000 feet to monitor low-flying planes.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the rules are a good first step, but they fail to address the congestion in the skies. Nadler and Schumer are researching legislative options.
“We must take action to limit helicopter traffic, at least until the technology is available to put the entire airspace under air traffic control,” Nadler said in a statement.
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