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RCP0909_008-017_Hangar Talk 10/16/09 11:18 PM Page 11
After all, pilots have the most at risk; we What are your thoughts ˜ I sincerely want to
are the ones in the aircraft all the time. know. Whether you agree or disagree, email
For a reality check; let us not forget me at, and let me know
Paul Smith, former HAI Safety Commit- what is going on in your world. As always
tee Chairman. Paul spent almost 25 years have a Safe Flight and Fly Neighborly.

safely flying helicopters in this airspace.
Tragically he was killed by a runaway taxi Best regards
on a midtown Manhattan street. MATT
That is my story, and I am sticking to it. Matt Zuccaro is President of HAI.
caused a head on collision resulting in the
death of five children and four adults. I
did not notice any elected official holding
press conferences on the roadway; no
hearings were held, nor were there de-
mands to install available technology to
prevent vehicles from being started by
drunk drivers ˜ even though drunk driving
kills thousands each year. However, when
a midair collision in airspace that has ac-
commodated millions of safe operations
for over 25 years occurs, those with a pre-
disposition against general aviation seem
to ignore facts and logic to advance their
real agenda, whatever that may be.
I sincerely believe that one accident is
one too many. I also believe that the re-
sponse should be appropriate, measured,
and predicated on historical data and in-
vestigative results that will actually en-
hance safety. Not on feel good, politically
correct, non-effective initiatives with un-
intended consequences that could actually
reduce safety.
There is good in this story as well. The
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
under the direction of Administrator Bab-
bitt, immediately convened a NY Air-
space Task Force, which I was privileged
to serve on. The sole intent of the group
was to examine the airspace and opera-
tions within, seeking to enhance safety.
The effort was fast tracked with all re-
sources available. The resulting reasoned
and logical recommendations, supported
by industry (and the NTSB in most as-
pects) are scheduled to go into effect a lit-
tle over three months after the accident
occurred. This is how the system should
work, and it did.
Having spent much of my adult life fly-
ing helicopters and airplanes within the
NYC airspace, I can say that this airspace
has been a safe environment for many
years. I, and thousands of other pilots,
would not have flown there if we did not
believe this. The new changes will en-
hance safety, and I await the final NTSB
report to see if we can make it even safer. • September 2009 11
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