FAA expected to announce mandatory helicopter regulations Monday

05/21/2010 12:00 AM |

Could it be true that the helicopter noise North Fork residents are so used to hearing in the summer months may soon no longer be an issue?
Senator Charles Schumer announced Friday that the FAA will issue first-ever mandatory regulations Monday that will set minimum altitudes and establish mandatory flight patterns for helicopters on Long Island.
“These regulations are the culmination of years of work to protect Long Island residents from intrusive and disruptive helicopter noise that has impinged on the quality of life of families throughout the Island,” Mr. Schumer said in a prepared statement. “Residents will finally have some peace and quiet and not have to worry about being jolted out of bed or interrupted at dinner. These regulations will make it clear, enough is enough.”
Elected leaders, the FAA, area airport managers and helicopter operators had originally agreed to voluntary regulations in 2007 that forced pilots to a minimum flight altitude of 2,500 feet and also established a North Shore route to divert helicopters over the Long Island Sound.
Those voluntary regulations have been largely ignored, Mr. Schumer said. The regulations expected to be published Monday will be mandatory and enforceable, Mr. Schumer said.
The public will have 30 days to comment after the regulations are published.
Assemblyman Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham) joined Mr. Schumer in applauding the new regulations.
“I am grateful that the FAA has listened to Congressman Bishop, Senator Schumer, and my office in deciding to regulate helicopter traffic, but I want to make sure that all the residents of the east end realize that this is just the beginning of the process and not the conclusion,” Mr. Alessi said in a statement. “We need to make sure we are active in the public comment period over the next 30 days to ensure that the routes that are drawn do not overburden any one community.”