Chop the Choppers: BHB Gets Some Answers on Activity

On Tuesday Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton commented about the BHA’s efforts to thwart helicopter noise from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH) on our original Chop the Choppers post.

Stanton wrote:

We know that five helicopter companies run flights in and out of the DMH but we do not know the breakdown of users nor do we have the daily totals because nobody has the time here to sit on a bench and count them. Residents report that they are constantly overhead, hence “a war zone” atmosphere.

The BHA requested operations data from the NYCEDC for the DMH in order to understand just what is involved there. How many flights are logged in and out, and for what purpose? We still don’t have that answer.

BHB asked Robert Grotell, special advisor to Sacker Aviation Services, operators of DMH, who tells our Julie Kanfer, “As far as activity, in 2009, the heliport accommodated approximately 25,000 landings, which works out to an average of about 68 landings per day.”

That works out to roughly one landing every 7 minutes before the increase in activity on April 1, 2010.

He adds that last week’s activity, the first after all NYC helicopter tour operations moved to DMH, is in the process of being compiled and he will provide BHB that info when work has been completed.

The tour companies currently operating out of DMH are: Helicopter Flight Services, Liberty Helicopters, Inc., New York Helicopter Charter, Zip Aviation and Manhattan Helicopter. In addition, Grotell says that “transient” companies, like charters, coporate helicopters, and law enforcement also operate from DMH. However, he says that much more of their traffic comes from the tourist helicopter business.

Sign the Chop the Choppers petition, join the conversation and offer your own proposal here.

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  • zburch

    Here is a very timely interview in Salon:
    http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2010/04/04/pursuit_of_silence_interview/index.html
    “If you were to go to many cities in the 19th century, in particular during the Industrial Revolution, life would have been louder than what we have in New York. But I think the noise we suffer from today is more incessant. We have a different set of issues — nighttime noise and air traffic being some of the most obvious culprits — but in the 19th century, even people from the working class often lived in situations where it was easier to find an actual quiet space or a space where the sound of civilization was mixed with some kinds of natural sounds.’

  • DrewBurch

    I think those numbers will be significantly higher for April. According to Liberty Tours’ website they fly 160,000 people a year. If you assume every flight takes off fully loaded with 7 passengers (which is probably not the case) that comes to a minimum of 22,857 flights per year, just from Liberty Tours alone. And each one of those tourist flights has two interactions with the East River corridor, taking off and landing. It is a mind boggling number of flights in a very small area.

  • Joe

    Went out to the promenade to eat lunch since it is a beautiful day and within a few minutes saw 5 helicopters go by overhead. Needless to say it felt like the Fall of Saigon and I took my exit as soon as I finished eating. This seriously is becoming noise pollution/quality of life issue.

  • Laura Mardiks

    here will be a press conference TOMORROW, Friday, April 9th at 10:30 am at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. This was planned by our elected officials (including Senator Squadron) to bring attention to the helicopter issue (noise, safety).

    Tell others you know who are interested. Having a “critical mass” there will be useful.

    Downtown Manhattan Heliport- Pier 17 in lower Manhattan, located on South street northeast of Broad street, across from the ACLU building and the New York Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Park