HAI president testifies before Congress
Sept. 23, 2009, Alexandria, VA – HAI president Matt Zuccaro testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee on Wed., Sept. 16.
Sept. 23, 2009, Alexandria, VA – Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Matt Zuccaro testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee on Wed., Sept. 16, concerning the Hudson River airspace and management of uncontrolled airspace corridors. The hearing was prompted by the mid-air collision over the Hudson River of a helicopter and a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane in August, resulting in the deaths of all nine people onboard both aircraft.
Zuccaro testified to his activities as a member of the recently convened FAA N.Y. Airspace Task Force, and provided an overview of the safety of helicopter operations, along with his past experience of almost 30 years as a pilot and executive manager for flight operations within the N.Y. Class B airspace, as well as his service on a number of study groups involving this airspace. He stated that, by making mandatory the existing voluntary practices, which have been used safely for the past 26 years, the FAA would eliminate any ambiguity, and would standardize procedures within the airspace. He went on to say that the FAA's proposal to establish three tiers of airspace would enhance separation of transiting aircraft, and agreed that the FAA's recommendation to standardize the floor of the Class B controlled airspace at 1,300 feet, would simplify the airspace structure.
Zuccaro concurred on the need to standardize procedures for fixed-wing aircraft entering the Hudson River Exclusion, and to standardize the three aeronautical maps which relate to this airspace, as well as the reallocation of the available Unicom frequencies utilized at New York City heliports, which he believes will reduce frequency congestion and enhance pilot communication capability. Zuccaro pointed out that no single recommendation is a silver bullet, but together, each of these recommendations offered would make a real difference towards enhancing safety. Zuccaro also testified that training is the cornerstone to any effort to reduce accidents and improve safety, and said that HAI looked forward to working with the Subcommittee and other interested parties to ensure the highest level of safety within the New York Class B excluded airspace, and similar such environments throughout the National Airspace S ystem.