BREAKING NEWS: Choppers Chopped!!

Chop the Choppers indeed!!

WPIX-TV reports and BHB has confirmed with Congressman Jerry Nadler’s office that the EDC will officially announce drastic changes in tourist helicopter flight pattern over Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge Park. A spokesperson for the congressman says that this is an “initial step” but that it doesn’t “solve everything”.

The EDC’s plan calls for:

  • Total Elimination of short tours (4 – 8 minutes) which account for 15% – 20% of current traffic
  • Eliminate tours of Central Park, Empire State Building and ALL flights over Brooklyn
  • Enhanced 311 Protocol including a direct way for complaints to reach the EDC
  • Hardening of fuel tanks for safety at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport
  • All operators will follow one of two routes: helicopters will depart and approach the heliport from the south, maximizing aircraft distances from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Helicopters will then follow the center of the Hudson River north to either 79th Street, or Yankee Stadium, before returning south center-west of the Hudson.

Congressman Nadler adds,  “I commend EDC for this important first step toward addressing helicopter congestion and safety in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  I am committed to continuing to work with the City, the Federal Aviation Administration, and all stakeholders involved to solve these serious airspace congestion and management problems.  It is my goal to find additional solutions to tackle the safety and quality-of-life issues generated by the helicopter industry.”

A big shout out to the entire BHB Community including drewburch, zburch and everyone else who went strong to the hoop on this issue.

And thank you Sen. Squadron, Rep. Nadler and others for your tireless work to have this issue resolved in a sane manner.

And kudos to the BHA for their work on the bleeding edge of this issue over a year ago and to WPIX-TV for taking up the cause.

Full press release here.

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  • Karl Junkersfeld

    And Homer, you weren’t bad either. My hero.

  • zburch

    This is very good news indeed. I will be watching to see how it pans out. Thanks BHB for lending us a forum to bring this neighborhood issue to the forefront. Just this morning I called 311 about a helicopter that was hovering for 30 minutes starting around 6:30 am. They still would not take my complaint, so I had to make a complaint that they wouldn’t take a complaint and also had to specifically request that it be registered with the Mayor’s office. You have to be insistent, it is important that complaints go to the Mayor as well as the EDC.

  • drewburch

    Well that certainly sounds like a good start. I’m a little confused by the line “Eliminate tours of Central Park, Empire State Building and ALL flights over Brooklyn”. Does that mean eliminate all these tours or a potion of the tours? As I’ve said in the past I think any traffic in that narrow corridor is going to cause sound issues. The guideline “maximizing aircraft distances from the Brooklyn Bridge Park” is pretty arbitrary. And we will again be faced with the fact that there isn’t really any agency tasked with monitoring and controlling this air traffic.

    All in all, I am pleased that we’ve seen real action in a fairly short time window. But I reserve final judgment until we see what the impact actually is.

    Kudos to Homer, Squadron, Levin, Nadler and the others who’ve been working on this. Turns out YOU CAN fight city hall if you have the right allies.

  • ABC

    ALL tours over Brooklyn?

  • epc

    Hovering chopper was probably either NYPD or one of the TV stations covering a routine accident on the BQE (you’d think they have B-roll they could run at this point).

  • vjc

    First of all I only care how much noise is inflicted on the B. Heights residents and not the visitors to the park. The noise-the roar in the sky-makes it impossible to sit in your own house if you live close to the water in the Heights. This week is just hell! Today is a sunny day and I don’t dare open my door or window as there is so much traffic and the dam idling of the helicopters that one goes mad at the end of a 12 hour day. I am sick and tired of having to explain to various authorities and elected-s how annoying these helicopters are and how loud they are–all of this is self evident and elementary.
    Let’s see how much if anything changes with this proposed compromise?

  • the where

    vjc – attitudes like yours won’t help the cause a bit, just makes people from the Heights sound rich, old and annoyed.

  • vjc

    p.s. To add we should all thank Judy Stanton who has been fighting on our behalf for a year now. The elected-s were bombarded with our complaints and Judy tirelessly worked on our behalf, for ever it seems. Thank you JUDY STANTON first and foremost.

  • vjc

    First of all I am neither old nor rich! I pay to live in my apartment like everyone else and a bit more to live in the Heights. I expect to have peace and quiet and not to be disturbed by the activities of the entire city, all day long seven days a week. As far as I can tell I didn’t opt to live next to an airport where I would have no excuse for the noise. Lastly, I have been calling and writing to these city and state officials for a year now and yes some progress came out of it–you didn’t really believe that a few blog posts in the last month brought about these changes??

  • Homer Fink

    vjc – Yes, a few blog posts — and your own comments on BHB — did make a difference. They drew the attention of the mainstream media in our area. And put the issue into a “hot iron” category for local officials.

    The BHA’s efforts here were tireless and on the bleeding edge as we’ve stated many times before. Taking their lead, we were able to get answers from the DMC and EDC that the BHA had been stonewalled on. We posted that information here.

    In the end, Sen. Squadron and Rep. Nadler along with the BHA & other community leaders as well as the loud public outcry here motivated the EDC and the tour operators themselves to agree to this first step.

    There’s more to be done here and a united effort will lead to the best result.

  • zburch

    I also think a lot of it has to do with the videos that were posted. As I have said before, a picture says a thousand words. If everyone bombarded the ‘powers that be’ with audio and video of the actual helicopter traffic we would have more results. Merely complaining is one thing, but backing up those complaints with concrete evidence is quite another.

  • bornhere

    Yay everyone who worked for this.

    Now — does anyone want to try addressing the post-12 AM truck traffic through the area that occurs every morning ONLY so they can shortcut to Atlantic Avenue? I agree that 10 hours/day of helicopter sounds are a problem; but trucks that literally wake you at 2 AM are not fun, either (and I am not referring to NYC sanitation, FD, emergency vehicles, etc).

  • vjc

    Agreed zburch.
    I can’t tell you how many times I recorded the noise, manually logged the never ending line up of landings and take offs, posted a photo and a note on the Brownstoner site a year ago where the helicopter is just above my terrace and you can practically see the pilots tea shirt maker. I reported all of this to the EDC on a daily basis–it felt as if this became my full time job.

    Last summer I went to a hearing at City Hall on this topic and irate Manhattan residents who were still fighting the west side heliport played their recordings of helicopters buzzing by their homes. God awful noise that we are all familiar with and this brings me back to my first posting: why do we have to continue to prove what is obvious? One explanation is that while we document the existing conditions the city and the helicopter tours continue to do business as at the expense of it’s citizens.

  • zburch
  • AEB

    Many, many thanks to Homer and all others who worked on this. One large step for personkind…..

  • zburch

    In addition to complaining internally it helps to get the info out to the general public, on the web and covered by the media. Anyone with video should post it on YouTube. You have to keep at it because the Mayor’s office is counting on us to give up and learn to live with it. In general, people are apathetic and until a tipping point is reached tend to do nothing. There is always pressure from others to be a lemming. It makes them nervous when people make an effort. It is soooo much easier to roll over and get screwed….

  • WillowtownCop

    I am still the only person who doesn’t hear any choppers?
    Maybe I just tune them out somehow.

  • nabeguy

    Grass roots activism at it’s finest! Yeah team CTC! Keep up the ground-level noise so the stratospheric noise is eliminated once and for all.

  • anon

    Too bad Stanton can’t help us get rid of housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park. Oh, I forgot, she thinks luxe condos in the park are swell. Certainly didn’t want any recreational facilities down there did she?

  • tiitoo

    what’s wrong with housing in the park? not a resident there, and in fact think the housing is sort of awful (isolated from anything and too near BQE). but if people want to live there, let them pay taxes and finance the park. this is a city, where people live, not a national forest.

  • my2cents

    Great news! Thanks to all of the activists who pushed the issue! It is nice to see an example of action by elected officials that is directly related to constituent complaints.

  • GHB

    I’ve noticed a drastic drop off of helicopter activity since early April. Thanks Homer for all your efforts in getting this done. Nobody comes to NY to do a fly-over. So unnecessary. They should start a hot air balloon service (like in Albuquerque) for people who want to tour by air. It would be quiet and cool to watch.

  • cr

    Jeffrey Smith, head of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council quoted in the
    EDC’s release, was quoted in the ERHC’s own publication, AviationWeek as saying that the solution for the air tour industry (and indeed all helicopter transportation) operating without causing quality-of-life problems was the use of quieter helicopters, of which one tour company operating out of the DMH has already bought five. If the EDC–and indeed the FAA–approached the problem from this angle, it would be a far more comprehensive
    and effective way of resolving the conflict between helicopters and people on the ground.

  • milton

    I am a little hard of hearing. It is a blessing. Helicopters are not the only things I get not to hear.

  • Claude Scales

    cr: very interesting. I’ve noticed that some of the helicopters make noticeably less noise than others passing at roughly the same distance.

  • hoppy

    I guess the V-22 Osprey hovering over the harbor right now is someone’s idea of a joke…