Anti-Helicopter Noise Bill Vetoed


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has vetoed a bill that would have allowed anyone to sue the employees of helicopter operators over noise even if the operations generating the noise are legal. According to NBAA, the “Stop the Chop” bill was passed by state legislators in June and would have allowed individuals to launch suits against any “pilot, flight department, line service personnel or company employee operating in the state for alleged helicopter noise pollution.” In her veto announcement, Hochul said she was happy to leave most aviation regulation matters to the feds.

“Regulation of aircraft and airspace is primarily a federal responsibility, and federal law significantly constrains the state’s ability to legislate in this area. Certain elements of this legislation run counter to the federal scheme regulating New York’s airports and airspace,” she said. NBAA spurred its members to oppose the bill and finally lobbied Hochul directly to kill the measure. “In New York, the general aviation industry is responsible for 43,200 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in total economic output, and this proposed legislation would have done great harm to our industry,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I’ll do my part for New York City noise abatement by never visiting there again.

    We have NATIONWIDE rules and regulations–I can’t think of anything worse for a nationwide air transportation system where every community tries to enforce their own rules.

    It’s no surprise that legislators (predominantly populated by the legal profession) passed this bill–it could rightfully be entitled “the legal profession Full Employment bill.”

    • Why? The bill was veto’ed, so it will not become law. Fortunately, the governor listened to reason and agreed that this does not belong at a local level.

    • This really points out the waste in government today. Such a ridiculous bill that was certain to be overruled by the FAA burned up hundreds of hours of legislator’s time & time from their staff as it worked through committee and onto the floor of the legislature.
      With all the pressing problems in the NY area, crime, high taxes, inflation, ILLEGAL immigrants, homelessness, people moving out of state, etc. they burned energy on this??? Their priorities are so misplaced!

      • They almost certainly wasted so much time on this because their high-end donors and lobbyists wanted them to. Fortunately, the governor (a democrat) vetoed the bill, recognizing that it falls within the purview of the FAA, not the State of NY, to regulate air traffic. So at least in the end, government actually worked the way it’s supposed to.

  2. This seems to be a shining example of partisan politics. It’s such an absurd bill, that if both parties truly sat down to discuss this, it would have never seen the light of day. Politics in this country has been debased and both parties are equally guilty of this. Pandering to the extremes and forgetting those of us in the middle.

    • This has nothing to do with partisan politics, whatever your political stripe.

      At the end of the day, this (defeated) bill is the same thing faced by airports everywhere – NIMBY neighbors complaining about the noise. And, like most such groups, it portrays itself as a “grass-roots” effort. And it may have genuinely started that way. But, judging by the number of hedge-fund managers on the board of trustees of this non-profit, I’d be very surprised if there were no real-estate developers involved positively salivating over the prospect of getting their hands on waterfront property in NYC.

      It’s little different than the effort to ban carriage horses in NYC (“think of the poor suffering animals!”). It ultimately failed, especially when it was found that the stables would end up in the hands of a developer who happened to make large political donations to the then-mayor.

  3. My guess are special interest groups financed this bill, those with upper middle class incomes and more money to throw away than the rest of us. These are high income residents lining the east and west side of Manhattan and must be annoyed of hearing helicopters and airplanes flying the Hudson corridor designated by the FAA for local flights made up largely of tourists and occasional private pilots taking in the views. I would love to fly the Hudson corridor, day or night. I visit a water front park next to the Throgs Neck Bridge, just east of KLGA with business helicopters coming and going from Long Island Sound to the east or west side heliports. Floatplanes too. Low flying as they cross KLGA airspace, under 1500(?) feet. Aircraft noise mingled in with nearby highway traffic. All part of NYC hustle and bustle. Noise is part of NYC. No one forced rich people to take up residence in high rise buildings near heliports, east or west side of Manhattan’s skyline.

  4. I love the Governor saying

    “Regulation of aircraft and airspace is primarily a federal responsibility, and federal law significantly constrains the state’s ability to legislate in this area. Certain elements of this legislation run counter to the federal scheme regulating New York’s airports and airspace,”

    She is doing the exact opposite in relation to gun control. Hiding behind federal law is good when it suits here, otherwise, she ignores it.

    • @Michael S. : Another example of political ignorance Michael. Fed Gov’t has no exclusive jurisdiction over firearms. Doh.

  5. Has NY already used this Californian strategy where you effectively ban something by declaring it open season for tort claims?

    I also wonder if she knows she is not getting re-elected and so took the hit for the team?

      • No, Cali started this nonsense decades ago. It’s why the airports keep getting sued.

        Their latest attempt just got struck down. They tried to sick the tort bar on the gun manufacturers in direct contradiction of Federal protection.

        Texas just got much more creative with it than anyone else has. Hopefully, striking down the Texas attempt will also lead to many of the similar laws getting struck down that haven’t attracted so much attention.

        I’m wondering how these rules aren’t unconstitutional on their faces. Enabling the bar to become agents of the state should make the state liable as well as limit the attorneys actions as if they are public officials. It’s a silly dodge, and needs to stop.

        The governments need to start doing their own job.

  6. This bill might have gotten off the ground if they insisted that all hilos have twelve blades. Ignorance of the lack of such an item is irrelevant. They will allow blade one to be bipolar or have multiple personality disorder.

  7. According to another online publication, this fight may not be over. A New York state Senator is introducing legislation to close certain heliports. And the city of New York politicians are introducing legislation to ban helicopters who don’t meet stage 3 noise standards from any city owned helipads. It will be an interesting test of FAA authority if any of these actually pass.

    • As with most things aviation, it will never be over until the NIMBYs and jealous folks ban all aviation…except when THEY want to use it.

  8. I hate to remind you guys that municipalities and local gov’t DO get to determine where airports and heliports are allowed. Only after Fed money is involved for construction/improvements does the Fed have a dog in the fight.