Inquiring about a recent ruling from a federal court judge that helicopter traffic should go over water, New Hyde Park Village Board Trustee Donald Barbieri reported that he had placed a call to the office of Carolyn McCarthy to contact FAA regarding enforcement of the regulation, but as of Oct. 15 said that he received an answer that “nobody’s there because the government’s closed and they’re unable to get any answers at this time.”
Barbieri noted that on an e-mail concerning the judge’s ruling that some helicopters are exempted from this requirement if the helicopter is not outfitted with equipment to fly over water.
“I don’t know exactly what that means and how difficult it is to outfit a helicopter with the equipment that enables them to fly over the water,” Barbieri said, noting that there have been some reports of helicopters flying at higher altitudes in recent weeks.
“My perception is as of very lately the frequently has decreased somewhat; they have been flying higher but that is only dependent upon the air traffic,” deputy mayor Lawrence Montreuil said.
There are currently five routes for which helicopters can travel in the area: a northern route that has been moved offshore; the ruling speaks of a “Long Island Expressway Route,” but that route is not used frequently; a “track route” following the Long Island Rail Road; a south shore route by the beach; and one that follows Sunrise Highway.
“There was an effort or conversation about trying to get much more of the rail route traffic over the expressway thinking it would be of less annoyance to many people,” Barbieri said. “I didn’t realize there was a route over the highway already.”