Federal Legislation

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, and (3) allow states and localities to impose additional requirements – stricter than the minimum national requirements called for in the act – on tour flights.

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.

H.R. 1643 – Reintroduced and formerly known as H.R. 4880, H.R. 1643 will prohibit certain helicopter flights over major cities with high population densities, and for other purposes.

H.R. 4880 – The Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019 is a federal bill introduced (and re-introduced on March 7, 2021) by NY Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney on October 28, 2019 and Co-Sponsored by NY Congress members Jerry Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clarke, José E. Serrano,  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Eliot Engel.

The Improving Helicopter Safety Act of 2019:

  • Prohibits nonessential helicopters from flying in covered airspace of any city with a population of over 8 million people and with a population density of over 25,000 people per square mile—including waterways within the city’s jurisdiction
  • Defines “nonessential” helicopters as any helicopter flown by a pilot with a Part 135 or Part 91 license (i.e. any private or commercial pilot) whose purpose is not “essential”
  • Defines “essential” helicopter flights as: law enforcement, emergency response, disaster response, medical services, or for the public interest; does not affect military aircrafts
  • Excludes airports from “covered airspace”
  • Helicopters are permitted to fly through the shortest, most direct routes possible to access or depart from airports
  • Directs the FAA to update helicopter flight charts to show airspace designated as “covered” under this bill (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not have any regulations, policies, or procedures to account for New York City’s uniquely crowded airspace, and it has ignored calls to implement such policies.)

Manhattan Community Board 7 2020 Resolution Supporting H.R. 4880

Manhattan Community Board 4 Letter to Elected Officials Regarding H.R. 4880

Press Releases:

Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Ban Non-Essential Helicopter Flights In NYC. WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reports – listen below:


Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10]

Rep. Velázquez, Nydia M. [D-NY-7]

Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9]

Rep. Serrano, José E. [D-NY-15]

Rep. Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-16]

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria [D-NY-14]

Rep. Suozzi, Thomas R. [D-NY-3]

Date Co-Sponsored








Press Coverage

Plan to ban non-essential helicopter traffic over NYC reintroduced – Spectrum News NY1

Sick of helicopter noise? New bill would ban most chopper flights over NYC – Brooklyn Eagle

New York lawmakers seek to ban all non-essential helicopters over NYC – New York Post

Proposed bill would ban non-essential helicopters in New York City – ABC 7

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