Blade helicopters at heliport in NYC, one coming in for landing
The Helicopter Association International and NBAA are urging members to write to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul urging a veto of the "Stop the Chop" act. (Photo: SnippyHolloW from New York, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

New York Governor Urged To Veto Helicopter Noise Bill

The "Stop The Chop" act would unleash a torrent of civil suits against helicopter operators.

The clock is running to thwart a potential law that could economically hamstring helicopter operators flying over New York. If enacted, the bill would allow the state attorney general and anyone else to sue a pilot, flight department, line service worker, or company employee for creating an “unreasonable level” of rotorcraft noise anywhere in the state—even if the flight operation complied with federal law and regulations. 

Under the bill, a suit could be brought even if flights do not originate or terminate in New York, as any overflight would qualify. It also prohibits the use of the West 30th Street heliport for sightseeing operations.

While the initial impetus for the bill appeared to be an effort to limit the noise from air-tour flights, the rules would apply to all helicopter operations. “It is our hope that the threat of a lawsuit will stem the plague of sightseeing flights coming from New Jersey that hover over Central Park and ruin the park for thousands of residents and tourists for the enjoyment of a select few,” said assembly member Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

New York senate Bill S7493A has passed both houses of the state legislature and now sits on the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who must sign it by December 23 for the bill to become law. The Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) are urgently asking members to contact Hochul and urge her to veto the “stop the chop” bill. HAI has provided a template letter for its members to do so. 

The helicopter lobby warns that the legislation “will have detrimental effects to you and business aviation. If you have already communicated with the governor, please do so again, as the matter is urgent and time is of the essence.”