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Air Traffic Control Issues - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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At 1151 directed airplane to start left turn toward Hudson River ... No further communications with airplane despite several attempts by Teterboro ATC ...

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Air Traffic Control Issues

Air Traffic Control presentation

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New York/New Jersey Map

Hudson River

Teterboro Airport

Hudson River class B

exclusion area

Newark Airport

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Flight History – Airplane

  • Departed Teterboro at 1148 on VFR flight to Ocean City, New Jersey

  • Requested radar advisories with en route altitude of 3,500 feet

  • Radar identified at 1150

  • Provided radar advisories on departure

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Flight History – Airplane

  • Local controller reinitiated nonpertinent telephone call at 1150

  • At 1151 directed airplane to start left turn toward Hudson River

  • At 1152 directed airplane to contact Newark ATC on 127.85

  • Pilot incorrectly acknowledged as 127.8

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Flight History – Airplane

  • Newark ATC requested that local controller direct frequency change and assign heading

  • Newark ATC observed developing conflicts and attempted to pre-empt

  • Nonpertinent telephone call continued

  • Timely transfer of communications did not occur

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Flight History – Airplane

  • Local controller did not hear incorrect read back or Newark ATC request because of simultaneous multiple communications

  • No further communications with airplane despite several attempts by Teterboro ATC

  • Accident helicopter not visible to ATC

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Flight History – Airplane

Radar identified/electronic

handoff to Newark ATC


Directed by TEB ATC to

contact Newark ATC

Directed by TEB ATC

to start left turn

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Flight History – River Traffic


northbound at

1,500 feet

Accident airplane

1,100 feet

southeast bound


northbound at

1,900 feet

VFR traffic southbound

at 1,000 feet

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Planned Tour Route – Helicopter

30th Street

Heliport (JRA)

1,000 feet

1,500 feet

500 feet

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Air Traffic Control

  • Teterboro ATC facility staffing included five controllers

  • Staffing was adequate

  • At time of accident, two controllers staffing tower

  • Rotation had been 1 hour on and 1 hour off position

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Controller Performance

  • Air traffic controllers charged with giving first priority to separating aircraft and issuing safety alerts; good judgment to be used in prioritizing all other provisions of FAA order based on requirements of situation at hand

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Controller Performance

  • Local controller initiated two personal telephone calls while providing ATC services

  • Front line manager in tower for first call but did not address issue as required

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Controller Performance

  • After accident, local controller could not locate front line manager and other controller-in-charge

  • Local controller not relieved from position until about 1215

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Controller Performance

  • ATC recordings before accident revealed multiple instances of noncompliance with FAA and Teterboro ATC orders by local controller and lack of oversight by front line manager

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FAA Actions

  • FAA redesignated class B exclusion area from surface up to, but not including, 1,300 feet

  • Designed to allow for local operations below 1,000 feet and transit operations above 1,000 feet

  • Altitude structures not mandatory and not clearly defined

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Letter of Agreement

  • FAA/helicopter operator letter of agreement defined coded flight routes for tour helicopters

  • Letter does not ensure vertical separation between transient and local operations

  • Letter changed boundaries affecting common traffic advisory frequency usage for East and Hudson Rivers