Call to ban tour helicopters of NYC skyline

Call to ban tour helicopters of NYC skyline

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Emergency service personnel work at the scene of a helicopter crash on the Hudson River, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Emergency service personnel work at the scene of a helicopter crash on the Hudson River, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Tourists who want a bird's eye view of the New York City skyline might be out of luck.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and local officials called for a ban on Friday of tourist helicopter flights. The Democrat believes they are a threat to the quality of life and public safety of residents along the waterfront.

“For months, we've been...trying to take steps towards a rational way to deal with these helicopters, but the time for talk is long over,” said Sen. Menendez in a statement. “It is time for the FAA to use any-and-every tool they have to shut down these helicopters and put an end to this problem.”

Menendez and Rep. Albio Sires last year reached an agreement to reduce the hours and number of helicopter tours operating out of a heliport in Jersey City. Residents had complained that the low-flying aircraft create constant noise and safety issues.

But the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, a non-profit organization made of up local helicopter pilots says, banning the tours would be a blow to the economy.

"As a recent NYU study definitively proved, the helicopter industry is a critical contributor to our local economy and - as we witnessed after Superstorm Sandy - to our region's emergency response services. The report found that the helicopter tourism industry generates more than $33 million in economic activity each year and, as all tour operators are based in New Jersey, supports hundreds of local NY and NJ jobs," said Jeff Smith, VP, Eastern Regional Helicopter Council.

An air corridor was established after a sightseeing helicopter and a small aircraft collided over the river in 2009, killing nine people.

In 2013, a helicopter crash landed in the middle of Hudson River when the engine lost power with a family of four Swedish tourists on board. The pilot then crash landed in the middle of the Hudson in sight of the 79th Street Boat Basin.

 

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