A Manhattan heliport operator has started enforcing the “No chopper” zone above Brooklyn Heights — and two tour pilots have already gotten slapped with $100 fines.
The unlucky flyboys allegedly violated a city flight plan redrawn in August to keep tourist hell-icopters from hovering over our scenic waterfront.
“We believe we’re having the desired effect,” said Ron Ricciardi, president of Saker Aviation, which runs the helicopter landing pad on the East River. “There were likely more instances of noncompliance” before the fines began.
In case future pilots don’t get the message, fines will rise to $500 in April and $1,000 in May.
The battle over the airways started nearly two years ago, when a chopper hub on the West Side of Manhattan closed, shifting the tourist flights to a pad on the East River.
Since then, the noise has been driving residents crazy, with Brooklynites filing 184 complaints to the city’s 311 line since last June, when a dedicated chopper complaint category was established. Over the summer, the Economic Development Corporation also banned super-short flights and redrew the acceptable route so that choppers couldn’t circle over Brooklyn.
The new fines now add bite to the bark — which had state Sen. Daniel Squadron singing.
“Rules only work when you have enforcement, and for the first time we’ll have enforcement of the rules,” said Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), who has spearheaded the “Stop the chop” campaign after his office was flooded with complaints about the deafening noise.
©2011 Community News Group
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