Consequences from Hudson River Midair Continue

 - August 20, 2009, 7:58 AM

Following the August 8 fatal midair over the Hudson River VFR corridor between a single-engine Piper Lance and a Liberty Helicopters AStar, the FAA has initiated disciplinary review of the Teterboro tower controller handling the Lance and his supervisor and placed them on administrative leave. Investigators allege that the controller made a personal phone call to his girlfriend concerning a dead cat while working the Lance and that the controller’s supervisor was improperly absent from the tower at the time. Neither the NTSB nor the FAA linked these events to the crash, but it does raise fresh questions about the conduct of controllers at Teterboro. On July 5 the lone overnight controller there accidentally locked himself out of the tower cab for 43 minutes. Meanwhile the FAA has convened a special working group to recommend safety improvements over both the Hudson and East River VFR corridors by the end of August and issued a new Notam for pilots using the airspace. The August 11 Notam advises pilots to turn on their landing, anti-collision and navigation lights, self-announce on 123.05 when they enter and declare their intended route and fly at speeds not to exceed 140 knots.