H.R. 389 – Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) introduced H.R. 389, the Safe and Quiet Skies Act, along with Representatives Ed Case (HI-1), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Joe Neguse (CO-2), Brad Sherman (CA-30), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large). The bill will (1) require that tour flights fly above the 1,500-foot altitude over actual ground at all times with very limited exceptions for emergencies and takeoff/landing, (2) require tour flights over occupies areas (including residential, commercial and recreational areas) to be no louder than 55dbA, the same level of noise commonly allowed for residential areas, (3) allow states and localities to impose additional requirements – stricter than the minimum national requirements called for in the act – on tour flights, (4) require that all regulations under this Act, in addition to any updates to any Air Tours Common Procedure Manuals (voluntary understandings between operators and the FAA), include public engagement, (5) prohibit tour flights over military installations, national cemeteries, national wilderness areas, national parks, and national wildlife refuges, (6) apply the “sterile cockpit rule” to tour flights, which requires that pilots only focus on safely operating the aircraft and would define tour-giving and narrating as outside of the duties required for safe operation, and (7) require FAA to implement NTSB recommendations regarding Part 135 regulations, which most tour flights fly under.
H.R. 5423 – Aircraft Noise Reduction Act: This bill, introduced by Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-2), authorizes owners or operators of general aviation airports to implement aircraft noise restrictions, including (1) restricting the number and type of aircraft that can operate at their airports, and (2) setting date and time limitations for such operations. The bill prohibits withholding or withdrawing federal funds from airports that choose to implement noise restrictions. The Department of Transportation may restrict the authority of airport owners or operators to impose noise restrictions in the case of an emergency.
Additional Federal Documents Regarding NY Helicopter Issues:
- June 21, 2019 Letter to FAA from NY Congressmembers Seeking Ban of Nonessential Helicopters Over NYC and a TFR
- Letter from NY/NJ Congressional Members to the FAA and NTSB in response to March 2018 East River Crash.
- Regulation of North Shore of Long Island July 25, 2016 – In response to concerns from a large number of local residents regarding noise from helicopters operating over Long Island, the FAA issued the New York North Shore Helicopter Route final rule (77 FR 39911 – July 6, 2012). The rule requires civil helicopter pilots operating Visual Flight Rules (VFR), whose route of flight takes them over the north shore of Long Island between the Visual Point Lloyd (VPLYD) waypoint and Orient Point (VPOLT), the use the North Shore Helicopter Route, as published in the New York Helicopter Chart (“the Chart”).
- 2013 NY Congressmembers’ Press Release To FAA Re Helicopter Noise