By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on May 01, 2010 10:00 AM
Hard on the heels about the ruling on bus sightseeing tours (tour buses will have to revert to headphones rather than loudspeaker systems) comes a ruling about helicopter tours in the city. Yesterday, the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced that helicopter tours would be cut down significantly in response to complaints about the noise generated by the choppers. The five helicopter companies that operate out of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport will no longer will be allowed to fly over Brooklyn, the Empire State Building, or Central Park. In addition, tours under eight minutes, which make up about 15 to 20 percent of all flights, will also be a banned. The latter tours have represented the biggest hassle for residents in Brooklyn; they often went by the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Helicopter operators will have to follow one of two new routes, which are designed to keep the copters flying higher over the Hudson River. The new plan would also make it easier for city residents to call 311 to complain about helicopter noise and for the calls to be tracked. Complaints about the frequency and level of noise from helicopter routes have increased since April 1, when helicopter flights were relocated from the West Side Heliport. As a result, the number of flights--and the amount of noise--has increased exponentially. The Economic Development Council and the Eastern Region Helicopter Council will enforce the regulations. Operators who don’t follow the new rules could have their licenses taken away and also face fines. If you’re planning a day out in New York, you might want to consider using your own two feet.