Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Federal Aviation Administration says former air traffic controller associated with 2009 crash does not direct traffic at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF) - Official said FAA employee is assigned to staff duties

An investigative story by WPIX television in New York City states that an air traffic controller cited in association with an August 2009 crash over the Hudson River now works at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport.

But a Federal Aviation Administration official on Tuesday said the employee does not direct traffic at the Newport News airport. He is assigned to staff specialist duties, the official said.

The WPIX story looked into Federal Aviation Administration employees who had been cited in deadly crashes, but remained employed by the agency at its towers and control centers.

One of the employees investigated was Carlyle Turner, who was named in a National Transportation Safety Board report in connection with the Aug. 8, 2009 collision between a sightseeing plane and a helicopter. Nine people died. The WPIX story said the NTSB report alleges a phone conversation by Turner may have been a factor in the crash.

WPIX reported Turner lives in Chesapeake.

Newport News airport Executive Director Ken Spirito declined to comment on the story, noting Turner is a federal, not an airport employee.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters declined to discuss Turner, saying, “Federal privacy laws preclude the FAA from disclosing personnel information about specific employees.”

Peters provided an official FAA statement in response to questions about Turner:

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operates the safest aviation system in the world. The FAA achieves that record by investigating every accident and incident that occurs in the system to determine whether it could pursue further improvements to continue to enhance aviation safety. Non-punitive safety reporting systems also encourage controllers and other aviation professionals to report safety incidents so the FAA can fully understand what happened and implement any necessary corrective actions. If the FAA determines an act a controller committed that led to an incident or accident was intentional or grossly negligent, the controller is excluded from using those non-punitive systems. However, controllers have the same due-process rights as other federal employees and also are covered by the provisions of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association contract.”

Visit the WPIX website to read its story.

Source:   http://www.dailypress.com

Eurocopter AS 350BA, Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours, N401LH and Piper PA-32R-300, LCA Partnership, N71MC: Accident occurred August 08, 2009 in Hoboken, New Jersey


NTSB Identification: ERA09MA447A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 08, 2009 in Hoboken, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/25/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N71MC
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

NTSB Identification: ERA09MA447B
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, August 08, 2009 in Hoboken, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/25/2010
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS 350 BA, registration: N401LH
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board’s full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2010/AAR1005.htm

The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-10/05.

On August 8, 2009, at 1153:14 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300 airplane, N71MC, and a Eurocopter AS350BA helicopter, N401LH, operated by Liberty Helicopters, collided over the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey. The pilot and two passengers aboard the airplane and the pilot and five passengers aboard the helicopter were killed, and both aircraft received substantial damage from the impact. The airplane flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and the helicopter flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Parts 135 and 136. No flight plans were filed or were required for either flight, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
(1) the inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid concept, which made it difficult for the airplane pilot to see the helicopter until the final seconds before the collision, and (2) the Teterboro Airport local controller’s nonpertinent telephone conversation, which distracted him from his air traffic control (ATC) duties, including correcting the airplane pilot’s read back of the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) tower frequency and the timely transfer of communications for the accident airplane to the EWR tower. Contributing to this accident were (1) both pilots’ ineffective use of available information from their aircraft’s electronic traffic advisory system to maintain awareness of nearby aircraft, (2) inadequate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedures for transfer of communications among ATC facilities near the Hudson River Class B exclusion area; and (3) FAA regulations that did not provide adequate vertical separation for aircraft operating in the Hudson River Class B exclusion area.