September 26, 2020
I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Windward Coalition, a community action organization. I attended the yesterday’s teleconference (9/24/20) and was prepared to testify on behalf of our coalition. The conference ended before this could happen. In my opinion, the virtual conference was too front loaded with a significant amount of aircraft operational definitions tangential to the issues at hand.
It was also apparent that the task force was top-loaded with industry representatives and lacked representation from community organizations.
Our 2 major issues are noise and safety.
1. Noise. The number, frequency of aircraft flights, especially helicopter tours, have exponentially grown in frequency, with an increasing number of tour operators indifferent to their disruption of our quality of life.
2. Safety: This increased frequency also brings up safety concerns especially in flights over community homes. I confronted a similar problem as a longtime resident of the North Shore of Long Island. The issue there was satisfactorily resolved by moving flights 1 mile offshore in a permanent manner. I might add that the Long Island problem was not nearly as bad as it is in Oahu. The increase flights were largely in the summer (Manhattan-Hampton’s) with much less density of population nearby and a terrain suitable for emergency landings.
The military on the Windward side has also been far more receptive and amenable to strategies that improved to safety and quality of life of the surrounding communities. The private commercial operators seem reluctant to do so. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian Islands are essentially the apices of mountains peeking through the ocean with a small rim of habitable and densely populated communities below. This makes flying overland more dangerous both to the aircraft operators and passengers and the residents below. Therefore, flights should be restricted to largely over water and aircraft properly prepared for emergency landings in the water rather than on land.
I commend representative Ed Case for his focused and intelligent approach to this problem and hope that he and others will be able to solve if with or without the cooperation of the aircraft tourism industry.
Leonard J Rossoff
Executive Committee, Windward Coalition