Chopper noise pollution in NYC: Calls for end of non-essential helicopter flights

Local News

MANHATTAN — The buzzing has been described as constant.

“I wake up to ‘Apocalypse Now’ every morning. That is the soundtrack of my bedroom,” Manhattan resident Andrew Rosenthal said.

For years, lawmakers have tried to stop non-essential helicopter flights in and around New York City. They are popular with tourists and people looking for a quick commute. 

Citing air and noise pollution and safety concerns, a coalition of New York and New Jersey lawmakers once again called for the end of tourist and commuter flights. 

New York Congressman Jerry Nadler is one of the sponsors of federal legislation prohibiting these flights over New York City.  It was introduced in 2019 and again last March.

“The swarm of non-essential helicopters that fill New York’s airspace, doesn’t just produce noxious noise and environmental pollution, they put New Yorkers’ lives in danger,” Nadler said. In addition to legislation, the local, state and federal lawmakers have also called on the U.S. Department of Transpiration, FAA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to act.

There have been a series of deadly helicopter accidents in New York City, including a chopper crashing into a Midtown building in June 2019 and an open-door tourist flight hitting the East River in March 2018. 

In 2016, the city brokered a deal to greatly reduce helicopter traffic, but choppers coming from New Jersey also fly over city skies. 

According to lawmakers, noise complaints shot up by 130% between October 2019 and October 2020.

State Senator Brad Hoylman also announced Friday he’s introducing legislation in Albany to address the helicopters. “It’s going to stop the city from contracting with tourist chopper companies at any of their helipads,” he said.

PIX11 News reached out to the mayor’s office for comment Friday. 

In October 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on WNYC radio that, “There should be no non-essential flight over Manhattan.”

Blade is one of the most popular commuter helicopter companies servicing the New York area. Friday afternoon Blade issued a statement distinguishing itself from tourist helicopter companies. “These operators do not follow New York City’s mandatory helicopter tour noise abatement routes which are completely over water minimizing both noise and safety issues.”

According to Blade, it plans to transition to zero emission electric aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration did not respond to a request for comment, instead directing PIX11 News to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The DOT and EPA also did not respond to a request for comment. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

New Jersey Videos

Paterson cop fired over body cam video

400 donated toys for underserved children destroyed after fire at storage house

American Dream Mall lures Black Friday shoppers with giveaways, festive DJ and more

Salvation Army feeds Thanksgiving meal to families in NJ

Newlyweds who canceled honeymoon to search for missing dog find pup after 3 grueling days

Small Biz: Different Breed Sports Academy

More New Jersey

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Follow us on Facebook

Don't Miss

@PIX11News on Twitter