City needs to ground helicopters
Oct 20, 2011 | 6066 views | 0 0 comments | 109 109 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the wake of the recent helicopter crash in the East River that killed two people, a bevy of politicians who represent waterfront districts are renewing their call for a ban on nonessential and sightseeing helicopters in city air space.

This is not the first time that they have pushed for the ban. In May of this year, State Senator Daniel Squadron held a rally in Brooklyn Bridge Park with resident of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights, who argued that the nonstop helicopter noise was disrupting their quality of life.

In May, it was a nuisance. This time, it's a matter of saving lives.

According to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of the Upper East Side and Western Queens, since 1983 there have been 28 helicopter crashes in New York with at least 19 fatalities.

That might not seem like a big number, but in these days of heightened security in New York City's airspace, having largely under-regulated helicopters buzzing around the city is not only foolish, it's a serious security issue.

What's to prevent a terrorist from booking a sightseeing tour on one of these helicopters and using it to pull off a terrorist attack; another 9/11 on a slightly smaller scale.

But the threat is there.

Even barring that scenario, NYPD helicopters need to have unfettered use of the city's airspace, and can't be worried about potential conflicts and mid-air collisions with aircraft out on sightseeing tours.

Perhaps a complete ban on personal helicopters isn't necessary, but the city definitely need to do more to regulate the industry, which is turning the city's skies into the wild, wild west.

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