July 11, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has published a final rule requiring helicopters operating along the north shore of Long Island, N.Y. to use a published route one mile offshore for noise reduction.
The rule, to be effective Aug. 6, 2012 through Aug. 6, 2014, requires helicopter pilots to use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route, which was added to the New York Helicopter Route Chart in 2008 as a voluntary routing option.
In the final rule published July 6, the FAA said that the route was made mandatory in response to “continued concerns from a large number of local residents who are disturbed by the level of noise from helicopters operating over Long Island.” The rule is set to lapse Aug. 6, 2014 unless the FAA determines that a permanent rule is merited.
When the mandatory route was proposed, AOPA questioned the wisdom of requiring helicopters transiting Long Island to fly a loosely-described offshore east-west route as a reaction to local noise complaints -- instead urging “a more refined and thought-out approach to mitigating” the issue.
The association also pointed to data indicating that 85 to 90 percent of area traffic already uses the route, rendering further noise reductions almost negligible.
The final rule allows pilots to deviate from the route for “safety, weather, or when transitioning to or from a point of landing.”
The FAA also agreed to publish additional educational guidance for pilots using the route before the rule’s effective day.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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