Brooklyn Heights resident/BHB reader Drew Burchenal is sure that that helicopter tour operators are not adhering to their deal with the city to not fly over Brooklyn. He’s posted a video to YouTube (his first, along with our coverage, accelerated action last year) showing alleged infractions. See it and read his letter to NYS Senator Daniel Squadron and NYC Councilmember Steve Levin after the jump.
Hello Sen. Squadron and Council Member Levin,
First I want to thank both of you for your efforts in dealing with the helicopter traffic over BBP and Brooklyn Heights. I was pleased to see news reports that pilots who stray from the approved flight path will be fined. But the fact that only two pilots have been fined up until now seems ridiculous. Anyone that lives in the neighborhood or spends time in the park can tell you that nearly every helicopter that leaves the DMH flies directly over piers 5 and 6 in the south end of the park. I just returned from a walk through the park. In the course of 10 minutes I saw 5-6 helicopters leave the DMH. Everyone took the exact same route:
Over the end of pier 5, across the middle of pier 6 skirting the southern tip of Atlantic, flying along the southern edge of Columbia St and then finally cutting across the container port towards the Statue of Liberty. (You can see some video we shot today here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cVr2NY8TcU)
Isn’t that a violation of the agreed flight path? Will these pilots be fined? Who is responsible for tracking and fining the pilots? How are they tracked? Clearly if the DMH is responsible for tracking the pilots there is a HUGE conflict of interest. They fought against any changes in the flight plans, and now we are expecting them to enforce them? That seems ridiculous. If I call 311 and tell them about the helicopters they just log a complaint. Shouldn’t they be asking for some sort ID so that those pilots can be fined? There needs to be someone other than the DMH operator who is responsible for enforcing the flight path, because the current enforcement is a joke. I urge you to spend some time on a sunny weekend down at the park. It will only take a few minutes to see that the flight plans are routinely ignored.
The thing is, as long as these flights are allowed to fly east of Governors Island, there are going to be issues. It is a tight corridor, and whether they fly over the park or 500 feet off the shore line the effect is the same. Why do they need to fly east of Governor’s Island. Wouldn’t it be more logical for them to fly west of it, which is a straight shot to the Statue of Liberty? As we move into spring, the number and frequency of the flights is only going to increase. I urge you to find a REAL resolution to the matter before the warm weather arrives.