When the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced new regulations for sight-seeing helicopter tours, president Seth Pinsky said the rules balance “both quality of life needs and our important tourist industry.” Short tour flights that last several minutes have been eliminated and there is a ban on sightseeing helicopter tours over Central Park.
But while the entire borough of Brooklyn was graced with a full ban on sightseeing tours, Upper West Side residents are still subject to helicopter noise.
Operators can fly over the center of the Hudson River to West 79th Street, then turn to fly south, center-west of the river. The flights will be at 1,500 feet or above to mitigate noise.
“[People] picnicking, strolling, walking dogs—they’re being impacted by helicopter flights that are doing nothing more than generating money for helicopter tours,” said John Jeannopoulos, an Upper West Sider who became concerned with the increase of these flights.
But forcing the helicopter operators to fly higher should ease noise problems, according to Robert Grotell, special advisor to trade organization Eastern Region Helicopter Council.
“Altitude is by far the best noise mitigation,” Grotell said. “We’re flying twice as high.”
If pilots are flying too low or breaking the regulations, West Side residents are encouraged to call the Helicopter Council’s toll-free complaint number at 1-800-319-7410 in addition to 311.
Correction added. It is the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
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