Thursday, February 16, 2012

Opinion: An answer to aircraft noise problem

Recently, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation indicated the rules for the over-water helicopter route for the north shore of Long Island will be put in place in the next few months. A minimum helicopter flight altitude requirement of 2,500 feet offshore will be instituted.

This does not address the low-flying, disruptive, noisy and home rattling helicopters flying the LIRR Main Line Corridor route from Bellerose to Westbury. There are special considerations that need to be taken into account pertaining to this helicopter route because it intersects with Kennedy Airport jet aircraft runway routes 22 Left (22L) and 22 Right (22R).

The main line helicopter route intersects both the Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) and Visual Flight Rule (VFR) landing glide paths to both runways.

When jet aircraft landing routes to these runways are active, helicopters using the LIRR Main Line Corridor route drop down below 800 feet in altitude destroying the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Homes and contents in our homes literally shake like an earthquake is occurring due to the down force of helicopter propeller blade rotation.

This is not the case when the helicopters are closer to 1,500 feet in altitude. When the Kennedy glide paths described are not active, most helicopter pilots courteously fly above 1,200 feet causing almost no quality-of-life degradation.

The solution to the low-flying, disruptive, noisy, home rattling helicopter problem on the LIRR Main Line Corridor route is for helicopters not to use this route when JFK's 22L and 22R runways are active in the IFR or VFR landing glide paths. When these runways are inactive, helicopters flying at the altitude that courteous pilots do now would be a godsend of suburban tranquility and aviation excellence.

Edward W. Powers

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