Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hudson River VFR Charting Upgrades

The FAA has released two new VFR chart insets that provide greater detail for the recently announced VFR routes along the Hudson River in the New York Class B Airspace. They can be downloaded in PDF format by going to this link and scrolling to the section labeled "New York Terminal Area and New York Helicopter Route Charts" (or you can just click on the images below - that should take you to the full sized PDF's).

It's my understanding that these "new and improved" insets will be printed on the back of the next edition of the New York Terminal Area Chart. They are substantial improvements over the charting that was provided (presumably after hurried preparation) with the last edition.

The first of these shows the VFR corridor within the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), the "I-don't-wanna-talk-to-nobody" route. It renders the route as shown on the reverse of the current edition, with increased detail.

I found it interesting to note that when the SFRA guidance was first published, the mandatory reporting point between the Intrepid and the Statue of Liberty was the Goldman Sachs Tower. Now, that point has morphed into "Clock" - the "Colgate Clock" on the New Jersey shore adjacent to the Goldman Sachs building. (The relatively small clock is at lower left in the adjoining photo. The Really Big building is the Goldman Sachs Tower.) Might it be that the recent notoriety of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, has made the FAA nervous about incorporating Goldman Sachs, the landmark, into its procedure?

It's nice to see that there is now graphical guidance for the Skyline Route, for transiting the Class B directly above the SFRA under the positive control of the KLGA and KEWR towers. It's a nice, clean routing and I look forward to using it.

Of course, these insets are part of the continuing response to last summer's mid-air collision between a transient Piper Saratoga and a local sightseeing helicopter. I've commented on that tragic mishap before, here, and here, and here, and here. They say the the Federal Air Regulations are written in blood. These changes to the charting are part of the re-writing due to the reverberations from that tragedy...and I suspect that there's more to come.


Keith Smith said...

I received an email announcement about this from the FAASafety team and decided to look at the new charts. I noticed the 'Clock' reference and sent an email to the contact address in the notification that I received. The FAASafety course on the Hudson River operations still references the Goldman Sachs building. We'll see if they respond.

Frank Van Haste said...

Hi, Keith! Please pass the word, when and if you get a response. Presumably they'll update the course to change the reference.

I find the whole thing pretty amusing. I guess the building is a better landmark than the clock (bigger, and all) but the clock is OK, and I wouldn't want the FAA brass to be all nervous about having to explain to some Senate committee why they were giving free publicity to G-S.

Thanks for stopping by,


Anonymous said...

The clock is well known. Being a New Yorker, this clock has been a landmark much longer than the GS building. Honestly, prior to the training, I had no idea what the name of the big building was next to the clock. I prefer reporting 'the clock' as it is more concise and to me is more visiable at night.


Anonymous said...

Hi Frank,

Regarding the tower/clock switch, it seems Goldman-Sachs was very concerned about their tower being charted so prominently. They were concerned someone would read the chart and get the idea to use the building for a target.

G-S complained, and the chart was changed.

Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Anon:

That's very credible! Thanks for the input.