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Community Board 12 Seeks to Curb Uptown Helicopter Noise

By Nigel Chiwaya | March 21, 2013 10:37am

UPPER MANHATTAN — Manhattan Community Board 12 took a step to curb excessive noise from sightseeing helicopters Tuesday, passing a resolution asking city and federal agencies to keep chopper flights in the center of the Hudson River.

After years of fielding community complaints, the board called upon the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to "restrict all tourist helicopter flights to the center of the Hudson River and not permit them to cross over residential areas of Washington Heights or West Harlem" in its resolution.

The resolution calls for an amendment to the New York City Helicopter Sightseeing Plan, which currently allows flights along Upper Manhattan.

Excessive noise from sightseeing helicopters departing from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport has been a problem for residents since 2010, when the NYCEDC changed its flight plan and banned flights over downtown Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.

Flights were then rerouted up the Hudson River, and residents have complained that the noise from the helicopters — many of which fly below regulated altitude limits — shakes their windows makes them feel like they live in a "war zone."

"The policy was implemented without any notice or consultation with the Washington Heights and West Harlem communities and has had a significant adverse impact on the quality of life for many residents," the resolution reads.

At a meeting with City Councilman Robert Jackson in February, Washington Heights resident Kevin Ryan said he counted between 100-200 flights regularly pass over Washington Heights and West Harlem on a given day.

CB12's resolution stated that a member of the board counted 20 flights over lower Washington Heights during an hour-and-a-half period during a weekday.