We do know that both machines had a right to be in that corridor. Engine failure is highly unlikely. In the absence of black boxes, it will probably be speculative, and finally put down to joint lack of care (see and avoid)
Unless you have been listening to different reports from the NTSB, the only way the Piper had a "right to be in that corridor", as you put it, would have been in an emergency situation.
The Piper was cleared from Teterboro to Newark, so unless you know something that you are not sharing with the rest of us, the Piper did not have a right to be in the corridor unless it was an in-flight emergency.
Yes I do know something and obviously you don't. Who do we believe, you, or this report from the AP?
Air traffic control transcripts described Monday indicate a worry-free exchange between controllers at Teterboro, in New Jersey, and the plane's pilot, Steven Altman, who was told he could pick his flight path toward Ocean City, where he was flying after picking up his brother Daniel Altman and teenage nephew Douglas Altman. The air traffic controller at Teterboro Airport gave him two choices: Head down the river, or take a southwest tack. When a Teterboro controller asked the pilot if he wanted to go down the river or head southwest, he responded by saying: "Either."
"Let me know," the controller said.
"OK, tell you what," Altman replied, "I'll take down the river."
The VFR corridor stops at 1100 MSL, above that is controlled airspace and why he needed to switch over to Newark.
Nothing indicates he was above 1100 MSL, he was not in controlled airspace, and therefore he didn't "need" to switch over to Newark, until he was ready to call them. Certainly he would have made the switch immediately, because TEB had terminated their communication with him, but he was not "handed off", and Newark would not necessarily register his presence until he contacted them.
There is the possibility that he had reason to return to TEB, and was making a 180. In which case he would advise TEB and Newark as he returned. In the absence of a flight recorder, we could never know.
By BETH DeFALCO The Associated Press
The helicopter pilot killed in last weekend's mid-air collision above the Hudson River routinely flew tourists and VIPs around the Manhattan skyline.
But those who knew Jeremy Clarke said the 32-year-old from New Zealand was more likely to talk about his wedding plans or about recently becoming a U.S. citizen than the celebrities and public figures who often sat beside him in the cockpit.
Some took notice of him, though.
"He seemed like a very nice guy and a great pilot," said five-time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, who recognized Clarke as the pilot who flew her and her 3-year-old daughter on a sightseeing tour of Manhattan two days before Clarke's helicopter collided with a small plane over the Hudson River.
Five Italian tourists were aboard Clarke's helicopter when it crashed Saturday. Two men and a boy from a Pennsylvania family were in a single-engine Piper when the aircraft collided and plummeted to the water below the congested flyway. All nine people died.
Ernie Keil, a close family friend who knew Clarke since birth, said the pilot was a consummate professional who would only occasionally mentioned some of the VIPs he ferried, such as the road crew for pop star Beyonce, or talk show host Geraldo Rivera.
"He used to fly him quite a bit," Keil said of Rivera, recalling a story Clarke told recently: "There was a thunderstorm, and they had to land until it blew over, and they spent some time together just talking."
By all accounts, Clarke was an excellent pilot.
According to Liberty Tours in New York, where he worked for the past year and a half, Clarke logged 3,100 hours flying helicopters including 850 in the Eurocopter he was piloting Saturday.
He received his license in 2004 in California, and worked for Los Angeles Helicopters from 2005 to 2007 as a pilot and instructor.
"He was an excellent instructor. He didn't let you be scared of anything as far as the maneuvers," said Los Angeles Helicopters general manager Kim Orahoske, who trained under Clarke.
Born in New Zealand, Clarke moved to California around 2000. For a while, he worked as a greenskeeper at the Beverly Hills Country Club.
"But he always wanted to be a helicopter pilot," Keil said. "That's when he decided to go to school for it."
He moved to New Jersey in 2007 and was living in Lanoka Harbor with his fiancee, 29-year-old Danielle Granahan, who works for Jet Blue. The couple had planned to wed next August, Keil said.
Happy with his career, Clarke told Keil he was ready to move on to the next phase of his life during a trip to Arizona a month ago. He was looking to buy a home in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.
"He was ready to make a move, and settle down and raise a family," Keil said. "The reason he came out was to visit me and do a little house shopping."
Keil said Clarke also wanted to be closer to family members in California. His parents and sister still live in New Zealand. They arrived in New Jersey on Sunday.
"His love of flying walked hand-in-hand with his dedication as a professional, winning the respect and admiration of his peers within the commercial aviation industry," Clarke's family said in a written statement released Tuesday.
"It is the great hope of this family that through this tragedy lessons will be learned, and new regulatory provisions within the aviation industry will emerge that will prevent future loss of life to our loved ones and the loved ones of others."
However the reporter turned out a well researched and very complimentary article. One can feel the strength of the report when she warms to the high calibre of her subject, congratulations to Beth DeFalco.
Jeremy's folks back home will take some comfort from the commendations of his peers, as will his fiance in years to come. Just now of course will be very hard and I feel for her dearly.
Danielle must remember that Jeremy was obviously a good and steady professional; with a great love of family.
I do sincerely hope that a higher degree of airspace management will result, see and avoid in heavy congestion is always chancy. That must be improved.
When flying VFR and in radio communication, it is important for readers to distinguish between clearances and instructions and advisories. After take-off, a VFR pilot in uncontrolled airspace is mostly involved with advisory communications with ATC, much of them initiated by the pilot as requests or questions or intentions, as long as he is not violating rules. ATC is usually very busy controlling commercial traffic. The facts as we know them in this case seem to be that ATC was available for the plane's communications, after his clearance at take-off. Of course, they never came.
Tfor2, there is no way ATC would have handled the Piper down the corridor. As he approached the river, all that pilot would have heard from a controller was, "Numerous targets in the exclusion at your eleven to two o'clock, 1100 feet and below, radarserviceterminatedsquawkVFRfrequencychangeapprovedbyebye ."
That Piper had every right to be in the exclusion. But it is very hard to see an aircraft ahead of and below you, especially against a built-up background like NYC. Especially an aircraft that is slower than you and climbing up into your flight path.
The helicopter pilot had a duty to scan the sky for traffic as he took off, turned southbound and climbed. We may never know if the Piper would have been visible to the Liberty pilot as the Saratoga came over the little hill on the Jersey side of the river. Perhaps someone will reconstruct the two flights like they did with the two ENG helicopters in the Phoenix, Arizona mid-air, which might give us some more insight into this one.
It's a busy corridor. I flew tours up there for a while, many moons ago. I've also flown up and down the corridor in fixed-wing planes. And I sure had my share of close-calls. As helicopters are among the slowest of the aircraft in that area, I used to press for better strobe lighting on the *rear* of our helicopters (TCAS had not been invented yet). Those pleas always fell on deaf ears.
Currently, my normal commute to work in the car involves a one-hour drive on fairly flat, fairly straight, two-lane country/farm roads with 55 mph speed limits (and most of us do 60 or a little better). Not long ago, there was a head-on collision on the road I take every day that killed two young people in one car and an older guy in a pickup truck. The young girl driving the car inexplicably crossed the line. The old guy wasn't able to avoid her.
I think about this collision often as I drive those very same roads, sometimes on my motorcycle. If someone were to veer even slightly into my lane at a 120 mph closure rate, I might not have time to get out of the way. But there is no "safer" way for me to get to work. It's all backroads.
Accidents like this NYC mid-air are always tragic. But at the end of the day, they are just that - fluke accidents. Let's not make more of this than it is.
I fly in the exclusion on a fairly regular basis, once or twice a fortnight. And I don't think there's any need for more restrictions. The pilots that fly there are generally really good with their radio calls and keep the chatter to a minimum. It feels safer in there than the average busy uncontrolled airport with multiple aircraft in the pattern. Just gotta keep your ears open and eyes peeled.
Having watched the video on MSNBC I have a question (I am a fixed wing PPL student of 4hrs so far).
Greg Freith (the former NTSB guy) stated that the piper flew into the path of the helicopter - in the UK the presedence is to give way to the right so would the chopper not be in the wrong - is this different in FAA land? (This question is not to apportion blame but to understand why he said what he did).
Regardless of what aviation law says, I find it hard to believe that in VFR conditions if either had seen the other that they would have proceeded on a heading without observing what each other where doing (as in you would always work on the basis the other has not seen you).
A very sad incident which is another expensive lesson in life which hopefully has the silver lining that we learn from it.
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration says it has placed two employees on administrative leave in connection with last week's deadly mid-air collision over New York's Hudson River. The FAA said Thursday night it has begun disciplinary proceedings against an air-traffic controller who was handling the small plane that collided with a tour helicopter and against a supervisor on duty at the time.
The FAA says the controller was involved in "apparently inappropriate conversations" on the telephone at the time of the accident. The agency says the supervisor was not in the building at the time as required.
However, the FAA says that the employees' actions don't appear to have contributed to the accident itself. Nine people died in the crash.
All the baloney about whether or not the Lance pilot should have put the gear down was covered many pages ago in this thread. The gear on that airplane is hydraulic. With one wing gone, the hydraulic system would have been open, the fluid gone in seconds. The gear then free-fell. Pilot had nothing to do with it.
Then why resurrect the issue? No one else has.
This thread really has deteriorated to a state where the most "knowledgeable" posters are maybe a student pilot with four hours, the rest certainly don't belong on "a haven for professional helicopter pilots." Sad. The posters on this thread include many helicopter pilots with intimate knowledge of the area. They have the good grace to answer questions from "4 hour student pilots" without criticism of the poster. We also have the good grace to accept that not everyone posting here is a "professional helicopter pilot".
Oh, and Gordy, I don't know where the AP gets its information, but there were no ATC people "handling" either of those aircraft. Both were well below radar coverage in the area and were flying in VFR-only airspace. No positive control possible.
I suspect that the AP get their information from the FAA in the same way that you (as a journalist) get yours. It is already well established that the light aircraft was handed off by ATC: other than trolling, I don't understand your issue here.
Same in the states with regards to "right-hand-rule" however from the last footage I am under the impression that the plane is turning into the helicopter from behind. The aircraft that is overtaking another, does not have the right of way even if it would come from the right (ie. should pass behind in that case) For a helicopter-pilot to see and aircraft coming up from past 3 o'clock, as it looks in this case, is not easy. When I fly, my general scanning is the 180 degree arc in my path of flight, unless I have been warned by ATC about approaching aircraft in proximity in the process of overtaking me. Also, the plane was climbing, so the helicopter clipped the right wing of the plane instead of the left one that was the closest.. This makes me think that the helicopter would easily come in a blind-spot for the pilot of the plane. Nose higher than in level flight, turning + factors as scanning his map, changing radiochannels etc.
The video of the crash shown on NBC News makes a private pilot shudder. There he is in his family plane, maintaining a steady course and altitude, perhaps chatting with his brother and son, keeping a wary eye out for traffic, staying in his imaginary lane, believing that the rule of the road is to keep to the right if on a collision course, serenely believing all is well.
Suddenly a helicopter appears in front, totally unexpectedly - what to do? Keep to the right? Go up? Go down? What will the traffic do? No amount of training will help here.
There seems to be little information and discussion about the helicopter pilot, a seasoned professional, and his actions. Was he in touch with ATC? Which one? Did he announce his intentions? Did he need a clearance to take off? Are there recordings of his radio communications? What was he doing at the altitude and in the observable flight path of a less manoeuvrable fixed wing plane?
(And isn't a common shared frequency urgently needed?)
As for those poor guys being disciplined back at the TEB ATC, they were out of it. But I'm sure that the operator would have responded quickly to any radio'd call-in, and the authorities have to show they're doing something.
The press and the public read these posts, not for spin, but for facts. Let's provide them.
"The press and the public read these posts, not for spin, but for facts. Let's provide them" says Tfor2 who writes:
There he is in his family plane, maintaining a steady course and altitude, perhaps chatting with his brother and son, keeping a wary eye out for traffic, staying in his imaginary lane, believing that the rule of the road is to keep to the right if on a collision course, serenely believing all is well.
Which parts of the above are known facts?
the authorities have to show they're doing something
That's the time to get worried. Knee-jerk legislation when 'the authorities' (aviation and non-aviation) feel they ought to be seen to be doing 'something' rarely produces anything of value. The product is usually greater (and unnecessary) restrictions of freedom and greater inconvenience with little real benefit - if any.
Accidents like this NYC mid-air are always tragic. But at the end of the day, they are just that - fluke accidents. Let's not make more of this than it is.
Exactly. Well said.
Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 14th Aug 2009 at 08:42.