December 2, 2020
Helicopter tour companies operating over the South Hilo area frequently flew over residential areas in the Kaiwiki Homestead area in 2019- February 2020. This included flights prior to 08:00 on Sunday mornings. In order to prevent the public from getting an ID on these helicopters the pilots are switching off their transponders for short periods of time. This is easily witnessed when running the Flightradar24 app and watching as the helicopter flies over our property. The transponder ID does not show up until the helicopter is approaching the Hilo Airfield.
In consideration of ADS-B airspace, I recognize that pilots are not required to squawk their ID in non ADS-B Areas. However, given the noise pollution generated by the low flying (500 ft) Hawaii Helicopter tour companies, it seems clear that residential areas throughout the state of Hawaii should be deemed ADS-B Airspace and all helicopter tour aircraft made to comply with ADS identification.
In this manor, the public can ID an offending pilot and make a complaint with the FAA. Self enforcement on the part of the Helicopter tour companies has not prevented poor judgement on the part of pilots. It is time we the public are given the tools to monitor Helicopter flight activity and report reliable evidence of pilot malfeasance.