HAI President calls for action against FAA proposal

HAI President calls for action against FAA proposal

25-Jun-2010 Source: HAI

I am forwarding this correspondence to request your assistance in opposing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the FAA, that has the potential to establish a precedent with a far reaching negative impact on the helicopter industry, and other segments of the aviation community.

NPRM Overview
Background: On May 26, 2010, the FAA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) which would mandate the following:


Subpart H-Mandatory Use of the New York North Shore Helicopter Route

Sec. 93.101 Applicability.
This subpart prescribes a special air traffic rule for civil helicopters operating VFR along the North Shore, Long Island, New York.

Sec. 93.103 Helicopter operations.
(a) Unless otherwise authorized, each person piloting a helicopter along Long Island, New York’s northern shoreline between the VPLYD waypoint and Orient Point, shall utilize the North Shore Helicopter route, as published.

(b)Pilots may deviate from the requirements of paragraph (a) when required for safety, weather conditions or transitioning to or from a destination or point of landing.

NOTE: HAI along with several other associations submitted a request for extension of the comment period, which is normally granted in such cases. Unfortunately the FAA denied this request.

Accordingly comments must be submitted by close of business, this Friday, June 25, 2010.

Upon initial review of the proposed rule, it would appear somewhat benign and simplistic. However, as always the devil is in the details and subsequent unintended consequences, and this initiative contains plenty of both.

Key issues associated with this NPRM, many noted in the preface of the document:
1. The sole justification for the establishment of this mandatory route appears to be a representation to the FAA, by local and national elected officials, that some of their constituents have made complaints about Helicopter over flights and the sound associated with those flights

2. No analysis, research or study was done to determine the actual number or nature of the complaints, nor the reality of the sound impact. Basically no effort was undertaken to confirm the problem, or the impact, if any.

Eastern Region Helicopter Council data from its Helicopter Hotline indicates that 85percent of the complaints it receives are being generated by 10 individuals.

3. No reference in the justification section of the NPRM was made regarding any safety concerns, or the efficient use of the airspace.

4. The authority of the FAA to enact this rule is questionable when one reviews the FAA referenced Code of Federal Regulations noted within the NPRM.

Additional considerations
1. The proposed regulation is unprecedented in nature. Previously the FAA has not issued a similar rule predicated on noise complaints alone. In the past when faced with similar issues the FAA has indicated they do not regulate noise.

2. If the rule is put into effect, it will establish an extremely dangerous precedent, whereby every elected official will be seeking a similar remedy from the FAA on behalf of their constituents who have a negative bias against general aviation. When one considers the thousands of heliports, airports and area of airspace that over flights are conducted within, it does not take much imagination to realize that we are headed down a slippery slope that will restrict our access to the airspace and related aeronautical facilities.

3. The rule is unjustified when one considers the efforts of the helicopter industry to voluntarily mitigate their impact on the communities they fly over. HAI Affiliate member, Eastern Region Helicopter Council, which represents the local helicopter industry in the New York Tri-State area has been an industry leader in this effort for over 20 years. In fact it was the ERHC that voluntarily established the route referenced in the proposed rule. In their effort to insure compliance by their members, ERHC has been monitoring the flight activity in the noted area via field visits and real time flight tracking systems. Their data indicates an industry compliance rate upwards of 90 percent is being achieved.

This clearly does not sound like a problem in search of a solution.

We need your help, and all it will take is a few minutes of your time. The FAA has established a docket for this item and is accepting comments from the public via E Mail.

You simply need to review the above information, and the actual NPRM – please CLICK HERE.

Formulate your thoughts focusing on the potential effect this would have on your operations if such mandatory routes and restrictions were implemented in the local airspace you operate in, or at the facility you operate from. Keep your thoughts relevant to the issue at hand.

To submit your comments click here. Thiswill bring you to the submission page for this NPRM, which is located on the FAA Web site.Simply fill out the form and type in your comments.


As always I want to sincerely thank you for your continued support and cooperation. We will keep you advised regarding the status of this NPRM.

Fly Safe, Fly Neighborly

Regards – MATT

Matthew S. Zuccaro
Helicopter Association International
1635 Prince Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

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