Hello Members, just wanted to let you now that several of us (HICoP) attended a meeting in Hilo on Sept. 22, 2016 with the FAA, Richard, and Hank from the State regarding low flying recreational tour helicopters in the districts of Puna and Hilo. The meeting was informative for us and we did received a lot of sympathy from all those in attendance. However, it was made very clear that the local FAA could not make policy and was only able to inforce existing rules. Existing rules for helicopters allow the pilots to make nearly all the decisions on how, where, when and why they fly the routes they choose, as long as it's safe, except for landing and departing from the airport. This includes the height elevation they fly over residential homes. As bazar as this sounds, local residents are not factored into any equation regard their impact.
All policy making is at the regional level, which would be the Western Regional Headquarters in California. Furthermore, there has not been a single conviction of a low flying recreational tour helicopter pilot that has ever been pursued by local FAA within the last several years in Hawaii, because pilots have such a wide latitude to operate their aircraft. Because the FAA has allowed helicopter pilots such unfettered control over their aircraft both New York and California have introduced legislation to help combat this problem.
It's apparent that this problem cannot be addressed at the local FAA level, they do not have the power, and we need to get more of our politicians involved to move this issue to the regional level. We firmly believe the loud and constant noise generated by low flying tour helicopters all day long is a mental health safety issue. There have been numerous studies done regarding constant loud noise and how it impacts the human brain. In fact, this technique is used in the torture of enemy combatants. We have noise ordinances that address this problem but do not include noise generated from above ground sources. We are not sure if our local noise ordinance can be strengthened to include all sources of excessive noise?