September 22, 2020
Dear Hawaii Air Noise and Safety Task Force Members,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I am writing as a Hawaii State Representative for House District 31–a district that stretches from Fort Shafter to Pearlridge Shopping Center and surrounds the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Pearl Harbor. Consequently, many of the residents of my district feel as though they live in ground zero for small aircraft and tour helicopter flights.
Increasingly over the years, I’ve received numerous complaints from residents and schools in various neighborhoods–all experiencing the same phenomenon of helicopters and small aircraft flying over areas that heretofore rarely experienced air traffic. In fact, in 2017, one of these small private aircrafts crashed right near the suburban community of Moanalua Gardens and landed under the Moanalua Freeway (https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38575919/ntsb-wraps-up-investigation-of-a-plane-crash-under-moanalua-freeway-over-1-year-ago/). This incident along with the increased air traffic, the inherent potential safety concerns, and noise complaints regularly occupy the minds of many of my constituents.
Although there’s always the chance of accidents occurring, I think it is unwise to pretend that in a state (and particularly on the island of Oahu) where population density is so high with residents living so close to each other and so closely abutting major public infrastructure (e.g. the airport and Pearl Harbor), that less regulation is somehow going to ensure greater public safety. I certainly understand the role that small aircraft and helicopters play in our tourism industry. I think these operators could still continue to provide their services with more clearly restricted air space and or flight patterns. There’s no need to fly over or so close to residential communities. Doing so, not only risks engendering further irritation and ire of residents, but more importantly, continues to risk compromising residents’ health and safety.
For these reasons and many more, I respectfully as the Task Force to consider to truly address safety and noise concerns by recommending or establishing greater regulations to lessen the flights near and over residential areas on Oahu and throughout the state. Mahalo for your consideration.
Aaron Ling Johanson
State Representative, District 31
Hawaii State House of Representatives
Hawaii State Capitol