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Noisy Helicopters – scrap the CAA Regulations allowing low flying

2 Comments 8th July 2010

RESTRICT and RE-THINK Helicopter use in crowded England.

Helicopter use has grown like Topsy in our area over the past five or six years. In part this is due to the `pro Aviation' stance of the last Government. There was a Greater London Assembly Environment Committee report on this topic,  `In a Spin' , published in 2006, that was `kicked into the long grass' by Labour. It is time to dust it off.  The CAA have `Safety' Rules which allow very powerful helicopters to approach persons or structures to within 500 feet in uncongested areas and within 1000 feet in congested ones. The CAA have no Noise or Environmental remit, which I suspect they find rather convenient, and they report to the Department FOR Transport (DfT), so there is a potential for a `conflict of interest' here. Helicopter noise travels too well, annoys thousands, and benefits few. Regrettably DEFRA, responsible for the Environment, have no legal powers – they need some urgently.

Why does this matter?

 

In our area, it is often possible to hear the low frequency `thwap-thwap' of the main rotor blades 30 seconds before the helicopter appears. Then there is the whine from the gearbox and higher pitched noise from the tail rotor blades as it passes overhead. Sometimes the `Noise' is sufficient to pulsate the air in our House and rattle light fittings. From a human hearing (phsyco-acoustic) viewpoint, Helicopter noise has also been rated as 10-15 decibels more annoying than noise from conventional Aviation, for the same reading on a Noise Meter. Also a medium size `Executive' helicopter has a high carbon and air pollution footprint, as some only do 2 miles per gallon and the exhaust gas is not cleaned up. Helicopters benefit few people (excepting Air Sea Rescue, and the Air Ambulance) and blight many peoples lives. It is time for a radical rethink and restrictions – like Paris – on their use in the crowded South East of England (and the Lake District too apparently ….) . Finally it is almost impossible to read the Registration Number on an overflying Helicopter, so there is little chance of reporting specific dangerous or nuisance flying. This also needs review, and perhaps `tachographs' or similar  in the Cockpit.

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2 Responses to Noisy Helicopters – scrap the CAA Regulations allowing low flying

  1. stephen ryan says:

    I totally agree that there needs to be some type of ruling to protect residents of areas that have become helicopter rat-runs in recent years. Helicopter noise can be very intrusive and annoying and totally avoidable if sensible height above ground limits were imposed. Pilots themselves seem to be either unaware or do not seem to care about the consequences of their careless flying routines. Please help!
    SAR

  2. Mick Woodman. says:

    I fully agree, the noise from the movement of helicopters can blight your life. If like us your are unfortunate enough to be on a helicopter training path we seem unable to get the RAF to fly consistantly higher and further away beyond the edge of our village. The type of noise from the many daily helicopter flights is very wearing and distressing to the point where we have considered moving. Flight numbers are increasing. PLEASE HELP.

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