Comments Sought on New York Helicopter Route

The regulation mandating that pilots operating civil helicopters under VFR (Visual Flight Rules) use the designated New York North Shore Helicopter Route when operating along that area of Long Island is scheduled to expire on Aug. 6, 2020. In anticipation of that date, the Federal Aviation Administration is seeking comments to determine whether the mandate should be extended and, if so, what changes might be needed to the route structure.

In response to concerns from many local residents regarding noise from helicopters operating over Long Island, the FAA issued the New York North Shore Helicopter Route final rule in July 2012 to improve on the lower noise levels that had been voluntarily achieved. The rule originally had a two-year duration but was extended several times.

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The agency now concludes that there would be no reason to retain the rule if it has not further reduced helicopter noise along the North Shore of Long Island. But if it can determine there has been an improvement, the agency could make the rule permanent.

To help decide, the FAA is inviting responses to the following questions:

  • Has the rule resulted in more or less helicopter noise in your community compared with levels you experienced before the rule? 
  • How and when do helicopter operators deviate from the rule?
  • Are there alternative routes that you believe will reduce the noise impacts?
  • Should the rule be extended, modified, or allowed to expire in 2020?

Comments are due by January 2.

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