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Helicopters A Nuisance At Governor's Island

The deafening roar of rotors is forcing some folks to make their voices heard over the heavy helicopter traffic above Governors Island.

"They're flying right over the island which makes it difficult to have a conversation much less enjoy a picnic or a concert out there," said Rob Pirani, the director of the Governors Island Alliance.

He says the air tour helicopters that take off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport are supposed to be flying over the water. Instead, they're flying over the island. Pirani says choppers that cut across like that are in violation of a 2010 city rule created by the Economic Development Corporation – that bans tourist flights over land.

The problem is that the EDC says only the FAA can enforce it.

While we wait to hear back from the FAA, the noise is a nightmare for those who make the dreamy day trip.

"People love Governors Island because it is such a tranquil spot, just 5 minutes from the city but unfortunately at times there's just a near constant drone of helicopters and it just ruins that tranquility," said Pirani.

While no one actually lives on the island, Pirani says, it serves as a refuge for city residents. Some say, the buzz from the helicopters holds that peace hostage for up to a full minute at a time during which visitors touring the national park there have to plug their ears.

That is why people like Pirani reached out to US Representative Nadler and State Senator Squadron.

In a statement Thursday, Congressman Nadler told PIX 11, that he has "long urged the FAA to implement an air tour management plan for helicopters over Governors Island and other local National Parks, as is mandated by Congress. Unfortunately, [he says,] the FAA has dragged its feet."

"It is really a federal responsibility but the hope is that between our representatives in Congress and the tour operators themselves, a solution can be found that works for everybody," said Pirani.

That solution may mean the helicopters have to hit the road of the waterways so the island can be left to its peace and quiet.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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