Residents living near airports, like those in parts of State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.’s district, have been dealing with an increase in helicopter activity over the last few years, which is why Addabbo is co-sponsoring four pieces of legislation aimed at regulating helicopters in the state.
While aircraft noise is expected in areas neighboring an airport, the introduction of Uber Copter in 2019 — an initiative by the ride-sharing company Uber to offer helicopter rides between Manhattan and JFK International Airport — has increased the number of helicopters flying over residential neighborhoods leading to more noise and air pollution in those communities.
“I’ve heard from many frustrated constituents asking if we can do anything about the growing helicopter noise in their communities,” Addabbo said. “While much of the responsibility to regulate aircraft falls to the federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are steps we can take on the State level related to the operation of helicopters within New York.”
The first piece of legislation co-sponsored by Addabbo is S.7493, which would allow a person who has suffered interference with the use and enjoyment of private property or public parkland by a rotorcraft used in a manner that creates an unreasonable level of noise at ground level to have a right of action against that person who caused or contributed to the use of such rotorcraft in such manner. It also focuses on the use of certain heliports in the city of New York, and it relates to the granting of certain franchises, consents and concessions connected to the use of certain heliports as well.
The second bill is S.3930, if passed into law would require helicopter pilots to have completed a helicopter safety and risk management training course utilizing a flight simulator training device certified by either the FAA or the European Aviation Safety Agency before operating a helicopter within the state.
Bill S.3911 requires a notice to be provided when selling a helicopter. That notice would contain all incidents reported within the past 10 years by the National Transportation Safety Bureau or the FAA involving the make and model, or a substantially similar make and model, of such helicopter.
The fourth bill Addabbo is co-sponsoring is S.3604. This bill would require helicopters be equipped with flight recorders, cockpit voice recorders and terrain awareness and warning systems.
“There are studies that show that these helicopters are adding to the city’s air pollution through more carbon emissions, as well as noise pollution for the communities in their flight path,” Addabbo explained. “It is our hope in the State legislature that these measures, if passed into law, will alleviate some of the issues pertaining to the increase of helicopters flying over our local communities, and to make them safer for the pilots and passengers.”