Help me debunk...
January 24, 2006 12:33 PM   Subscribe

I would like to track down a local rumor with an Urban Legend feel...

I work next to fairly large local company. Practically every day, the CEO arrives & leaves via helicopter. The rumor is that every time he lands or takes off, he pays a fine to the FAA. The rumored amount of the fine ranges from $1,000 to $20,000. How do I find out the truth? Checking the FAA site has not helped. This article (scroll down to "Long Island Towns Place Restrictions on Noisy Helicopters") seems to indicate that FFA regulations on helicopters are less restrictive than fixed-wing aircraft, but... So what? Can anyone provide more info? Or point me in a direction? Thanks!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan to Law & Government (6 answers total)
I commuted every day with a helicopter pilot for three months this summer. He told me stories about just such a practice, where the local authorities fined someone for landing a helicopter is a residential area, and they just payed the fine each time.
posted by phrontist at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2006

It might be a City or State law regarding noise violations, rather than an issue for the FAA. Maybe contact some people in your local government to see.
posted by pwb503 at 12:47 PM on January 24, 2006

I had read that Larry Ellison (Oracle) does/did a similar thing with his private jet and landing after hours at the San Jose airport. The fine was $10k - chump change for Larry.
posted by daveleck at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2006

Unlikely. The FAA does not permit ongoing violations to be handled with a steady stream of cash payments. After numerous violations, the certificate of the pilot or operator would be suspended or revoked. It is most likely that the helicopter operations are permitted by FAA regulations.

The regulations on the location of helicopter landing sites ("heliports") are somewhat more relaxed than for fixed-wing airports, but there are restrictions. The regulations chiefly address proximity of helicopters to populated areas and minimum altitude restrictions prior to landing. There are also minimum standards for the size and location of the actual landing site.

For specific information on your situation, you could contact the FAA's regional office at JFK Airport. The telephone number for the regional administrator's office is 718.553.3000.

Hope this helps. The bottom line will undoubtedly be that the "daily fine" story is, as you suspected, a local urban legend.
posted by flyingrock at 1:01 PM on January 24, 2006

daveleck writes "The fine was $10k - chump change for Larry"

In Larry's case the fine is levied by the city that owns the airport not the FAA. The FAA (well federal legislation enforced by them) controls what changes can be made to restrictions on airports and planes. Basically all new laws that would restrict the activities of existing aircraft have to grandfather those aircraft.

In Larry's case his Gulfstream meets the current dB based restrictions of the San Jose Airport but that is irrelevant because his plane was landing at night before the noise ordance took effect and therefor the city must allow those grandfathered flights to continue.

Oh and the fine was "only" $2500 per violation.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 PM on January 24, 2006

How much do you care? You can always FOIA the FAA for the information. Request information relating to any flight regulation violations issued pertaining to violations at or near address XYZ.

I supect pwb is right on this one and any repeat fines are local noise ordinance, not FAA
posted by phearlez at 1:54 PM on January 24, 2006

« Older how do you automate?   |   I need help getting EtherPEG for OSX compiled... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.