NTSB Casts Wide Blame for Fatal Hudson Midair

 - September 16, 2010, 11:39 AM

On Tuesday, the NTSB spread broad blame for the fatal VFR midair between a privately piloted Piper Lance and an air tour Liberty Helicopters Eurocopter AS350BA. Nine people perished when the two aircraft collided over the Hudson River near Hoboken, N.J., on Aug. 8, 2009. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the “inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid concept” and “the Teterboro Airport local controller’s non-pertinent telephone conversation, which distracted him from his air traffic control duties, including correcting the airplane pilot’s read-back of the incorrect frequency, and the timely transfer of communications for the accident airplane to the Newark Liberty International Airport tower.” By way of contributing factors, the Board also faulted both pilots for the “ineffective use” of electronic traffic advisory systems aboard their aircraft and the FAA’s inadequate procedures for transferring ATC communications among facilities with responsibility for the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone. It also charged that FAA regulations do not provide adequate vertical separation there.