The new FAA rules regarding air traffic over the Hudson River go into effect Thursday, separating pilots into three altitude corridors: in the lower two (below 1,300 feet), local commuter planes and sightseeing helicopters would still rely on the "see and avoid" method, but would also be required to tune their radio to a frequency of 123.05; announce their location, description and route; and obey a speed limit of 140 knots or less. Longer flights under the jurisdiction of air traffic controllers will fly above 1,300 feet. But critics say the rules don't go far enough to prevent another crash like the August 8th collision between a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter that claimed nine lives.

"We had urged the FAA to go back to the drawing board and put in the necessary additions to keep the corridor safe, but will work with them in the months to come fix this safety issue once and for all," said Senator Chuck Schumer in a statement. And aviation attorney and pilot Daniel Rose tells NY1, "I think there should be a buffer of two or three hundred feet that separates the helicopters that are flying low down from the small planes that are flying through the area. And that will allow for a margin of safety in case people don't see each other as we know can happen or don't communicate with each other as can happen."

Yesterday the FAA also made permanent rules governing the East River that were put in place in 2006, Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor crashed their plane into a Manhattan building. Only seaplanes and those obstreperous helicopters that torture Brooklyn Heights are allowed in the East River corridor without specific permission from air traffic controllers. Having seen seaplanes frequently land and take off from the East River right by the United Nations building, we wonder why they're not required to get permission from air traffic control, too.