Eric Ching

September 24, 2020

The pandemic has provided temporary relief from tour helicopters. Prior to the shut down, tour helicopters frequently flew over my home In Olomana at less than 1500 ft above ground level. The overflights occurred at all times of the day, sometimes as early as 7:00 AM.
I’ve been told by Richard Schuman, that sometimes weather conditions force helicopters to fly below 1500 ft above ground level. I’ve observed that this is not always the case. There have been multiple occasions when helicopters have flown below 1500 AGL in clear, cloudless skies.
I can document the low flying helicopters using Flightradar24, which uses ADBS data broadcast from the aircraft, and have multiple screenshots of violations. Although the ADSB data that is broadcast from aircraft allows the tracking the route and altitude of the offending helicopters, it doesn’t always show the aircraft registration number. The registration number is needed to positively identify the offending aircraft and to hold the pilots accountable.
All tour helicopters should be required to broadcast registration numbers as part of the ADSB, to facilitate the identification of pilots violating existing regulations.
In addition, similar to prohibitions against leaf blowers, tour helicopters should not be allowed to overfly residential areas before 8:00 AM, especially on weekends and holidays.
If the tour companies want to be good neighbors, they’ll agree to these stipulations. Mahalo

Jean Graham

September 24, 2020


In May 2018, Kilauea moved down rift to Puna and destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of lives. Subdivisions were buried in 30 feet of lava and beloved ocean recreational parks were obliterated.

While we were suffering through the most massive discharge of lava in modern history, all the helicopter tour industry could do was celebrate its good fortune. Fissure #8 was a fast 15 minute flight from Hilo and an hour from Kona. This allowed them to dedicate their fleets to rapid turnarounds and hundreds of flights per day over stricken Lower Puna. Instead of tours to Hawaii Volcano National Parks and flights over Pu’u O’o and Halema’uma’u, they sent all their tours over Fissure #8. Helicopters made the complete flight in just under an hour and were able to send each copter in the fleet over Fissure #8 six to eight times per day. Because their operations are so opaque, residents were unable to face them with actual figures. We estimated on a good day for tourists, the industry used our homes and skies up to 300 times per day.

Imagine your home under a flightpath for 300 helicopters a day. They ran from sunup to sundown. We made hundreds of calls to their noise hotline and had meetings, but were brushed off continuously.

This testimony is to support some regulation and some accountability. If left to their own governance, they will do anything they please to any neighborhood they choose and will not negotiate with the affected communities.It will require law to make them responsible to the homes and neighborhoods they abuse.

I was told that the skies are their highways and they have every right to use them however they want. This was from Paradise. They also told me they would follow the lava and use it as long and as often as demand endured. This is unacceptable. Legislators need to help their constituents. If we had elected to move next door to an airport, we would have no grounds for complaint. We do not live next to airports for a reason–they destroy quality of life.

In fairness I will point out Blue Hawaiian acceded to request that they stop flights over Fissure #8. We monitored their flight paths for months and once they stopped overflights they never returned.

I realize one person’s gain is another neighborhood’s loss and it will be difficult to craft regulations that please and help everyone. That’s why it’s time to get serious about talking to your electorate and stop having meetings that never lead to reform.

Mo Radke

September 24, 2020

Having heard the meeting in its entirety on Tuesday, September 22 the following are germane:

On this task force, there is no community representation. While there is community input, not having representatives from the community in the room where it happens seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy to develop industry-focused solutions and marginalizing community concerns. Task Force composition is a critical element to making productive strides and contributing DURING discussions and not in the decision vacuum after-the-fact.

Many organizations contributed their mana’o and touted safety as a key element of their charters – It did not appear that tour operators were/are mandated to join any of these groups or comply with their standards. I understand that these organizations may provide data for the decision-making process but
If there are no requirements for Hawaii operators to join these organizations, their voice is moot and tour operator compliance to operating productively falls flat.

While definitions are important, I felt like the issue at hand was diluted by classifications and definitions that may have no relevance. While I now have a better understanding or routing, classifications, etc. I would rather move towards solutions – I’ve always been cautious that when definitions become the feature in a discussion, other important issues suffer.

Facilitator: Can we get an understanding of this process and what are the immediate next steps?

Possible solutions:

All helicopters operating must have their tail number registered with the state, provide a local address and point of contact phone number and email.

Stop flying over residential areas until tour operators, ATC, FAA, community meet and hash out approved routes to spots where tour operators want to access and egress.

Mo Radke,
Chair, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board #30
Member, Kaneohe Bay Regional Council
Submitting comments as a private citizen

John Mokulehua

September 24, 2020

Would liked to have spoken this morning but unable to.
Waimanalo is a community nestled between the steep koolau mountains and the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean. The Waimanalo community already deals with and have accommodated the tourist industry with the constant heavy traffic of tourists traveling by mopeds, tour buses and rental cars We have welcomed the tourists here as they try to enjoy our piece of paradise here. The tour helicopters are only a handful of small business that employ a small workforce that causes the biggest nuisance in term of noise pollution and on occasion a safety hazard to not only our community but every community on this island they are allowed to fly over. The most recent which I can recall is the helicopter crash in the usually busy streets of the residential community of Kailua. I am confused how this industry was allowed start up and operate like this without any community input they would be affecting. How can a small group of people be allowed to affect so many lives with their CONSTANT LOUD Aircraft NOISE without any regard for the communities they transverse over, to make a buck. I really appreciate that this hearing is being held but it’s after the fact. The people approving these tour helicopters to fly over our communities should have them fly over their community so they can experience all the wonderful noise and hazards these helicopters create. I can understand accept the noise and hazard if our community is next the airport. I can understand if they fly over Waikiki because that’s where the majority of the tourist stay. But Waimanalo, Kailua, Lanikai, Kaneohe, and the rest of the windward side is not next to the airport or is not Waikiki and we shouldn’t be subjected to this noise pollution or hazards for the cause of tourism or the sake of these small businesses. I don’t think these businesses make enough monies to compensate all of the communities and local people they affect.
Having said all of the above. I feel that there could be a solution to this problem that will satisfy the community and the tour helicopters.
The first solution I’ve come up with will only satisfy the most import people involved.
Banning all tour helicopters on the island of Oahu.
The second is to have these helicopters fly at a suitable altitude or over the ocean at a suitable altitude that is agreed upon by the communities involved and affected.
I’m not sure at what altitude the Tour helicopters are allowed to fly now, but currently it’s too low. I have video shot from my iPhone in my yard. You will for yourself the amount of noise that is captured just from a mobile phone. Like I said before Waimanalo, is between the steep koolaus and the ocean. Any helicopter entering from Makapuu can be heard by all of Waimanalo. That is a fact.
Another suggestion is to only allow the helicopters to fly into the communities of the koolaus. Allow them to fly only to Malachi point and turn back to home base. I’ve been to Waikiki and witness the figure 8 pattern they make over the waters in Waikiki and then head over towards the windward side. The shoreline to makapuu should suffice a decent ride for tourist. But of course I do not want to burden this problem to other communities that will be affected by this solution.
These are some of my solutions, I hope other residents have better ones than mine that will satisfy both parties involved but if there is no compromise, I feel the communities voice should be heard over the voices of a few.

Lani Blissard

September 24, 2020

Tour helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft must NOT fly over our residential communities. The noise disruptions and potential safety impacts are COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. This is not a question of Kailua versus Kaimuki or Pearl Harbor versus Waimanalo. ALL RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES NEED PEACE AND SAFETY. The aircraft should be mandated to fly 1 mile off shore around residential areas, have easy to identify numbers and substantial penalties should be established for violations. They MUST NOT be routed over our neighborhood communities. Period.

Rene Garvin

September 24, 2020

Pearl City and Kailua are not the only neighborhoods impacted by these low flying, loud tour helicopters as it seems to be island-wide. I am writing to let you know that Hawaii Kai, before the Covid-19 shutdown, was overwhelmed by them and will be again after the shutdown ends unless something is changed. I suspect that tours covering Kailua include Hawaii Kai on their routing to Kailua for a scenic tour! Our neighborhood board received multiple complaints from residents and submitted a resolution to federal, state, and county authorities with our request to regulate these helicopter flights.

These helicopters fly so low and are so loud that my house shakes when they go over and I cannot even hear the radio or the other party on a phone conversation. Imagine a baby or an elderly person who is ill trying to nap or rest under these conditions! Additionally, there are often entirely too many of them – coming sometimes every 5 – 10 minutes – in a single day, from early mornings until evening and even circling around the area multiple times.

We also learned that they are not held to the same safety standards as other aircraft, which is frightening to consider. There have been serious accidents and although none have happened in Hawaii Kai it seems clear that it is only a matter of time before it happens.

Please improve the safety standards and regulate the frequency, altitude and noise from these invasive and dangerous overflights of our residential neighborhoods. Thank you.

Andrea Anixt

September 24, 2020

Enough noise and needless endangerment to residents of Kailua neighborhoods by tour and military helicopters already. They need to to stay away from residential areas. Rescue units should avoid flying overhead of housing as much as possible. These vehicles are getting a deserved bad reputation for accidents! Please restrict them.

Jeannine Johnson

September 24, 2020

Due to the escalating public concern on both the safety and quality of life issues because of recent fatalities and continuing unsafe flight patterns, low altitudes and high noise levels of commercial and tour helicopters flying over Hawai‘i’s communities, the Kuli’ou’ou / Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board #2 passed a resolution on 11/7/2019 requesting to immediately ground tour and commercial helicopter operations in Hawai‘i until a thorough and detailed investigation of the recent fatal crash in Kailua town could be completed with full public disclosure. Neighborhood Board #2 also fully supports and endorses substantially increased regulation of tour helicopters and small aircraft and there requested the FAA Honolulu Air Traffic Control and Flight Standards District Office Managers, the Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation, and the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation Airports Division work together to ensure immediate remedies and controls through stringent regulations and enforcement of tour helicopter and small fixed-wing charter aircraft operations. Mahalo for your kōkua in addressing this rapidly increasing safety risks in the air as well as on the ground.

Aloha, Jeannine Johnson
Subdistrict 7 Representative (Niu Valley)
Kuli’ou’ou / Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board #2
(East Honolulu)

Choon James

September 25, 2020


Here are some public comments from the social media. This gives an over-view of a few public sentiments.

Judy Hones Magin You should hear them over Makiki.

Liz Fischer Hawaii DOD (HING/ HIANG) rotary pilots are notorious about low flights …town side in particular

Office of the Adjutant General
3949 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816
Public Affairs Office
Phone: (808) 441-7000
Adjutant General’s Office

TuBou Naeata Ha’ungatau Annoying. I swear they don’t give a damm.

ElizaBeth Leeds
ElizaBeth Leeds No “tickets” for them, tho.

Ria Keltz-Remenar You should be able to turn them in. Unless, they are military. They fly low late every night!!!

Stacy Lau
Stacy Lau Get the “N” number and turn them in to the FAA!

Jason Blair That is a total waste of time. Did it hundreds and hundreds of times. Unless they crash. The FAA doesn’t care, at all.

Carol Medeiros We live up on the mountain and they fly right over our house we live in Sunset Beach

Roberto Kinchoe

Sunny Kim Unga I’m confused with the regulations. I thought that there was a flyover regulation but was told that helicopters don’t have any flyover distance regulations….

Choon James Part 91 is comprised of basic regulations relating to general operating and flight rules. There is also Part 135 with flight equipment regulations.
But Part 136, Appendix A is SPECIFIC TO HAWAII, which is the regulatory section that these operators always ignore, and are allowed to ignore without enforcement, so they can fall back on Part 91 and fly wherever they want, whenever they want, and however they want.…/14/appendix-A_to_part_136

Marc Naval Choon…not sure where you got your information but it’s incorrect. 14 CFR 91.119 states: “(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.” ALSO, A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA;

Choon James Marc Naval Part 91 is comprised of basic regulations relating to general operating and flight rules. There is also Part 135 with flight equipment regulations.
But Part 136, Appendix A is SPECIFIC TO HAWAII, which is the regulatory section that these operators always ignore, and are allowed to ignore without enforcement, so they can fall back on Part 91 and fly wherever they want, whenever they want, and however they want.…/14/appendix-A_to_part_136

Marc Naval i stand corrected. Are you sure they are air tours? it could be training flights. and are your eyes calibrated to tell the difference between 1000’ and 1500’?

Alethea Rebman You were wrong once. Why try to keep arguing with Choon? ?

Choon James Marc Naval Interestingly, I now know better the altitude difference after seeing the 75th Anniversary fly over Oahu on August 27, 2020. Tour helicopters buzzing over our roofs or hovering along the coastlines are definitely too close.

Alan Dunston Marc Naval as a prior naval aviator with a commercial license, I can’t even tell the difference of 500ft separation from the ground. Unless it’s between 0ft and 500ft.

Marc Naval It’s the Military I’m concerned with when I hear them fly over Ka’a’awa at 1045pm! REALLY! 1045pm?

Matt Ka’ai Every day in Kapolei. Military late at night shakes the whole house, glider planes flying really low sucks but what can I do?

Sam Chung-Hoon ” If I had a rocket launcher…..” LOL

Tim Shandog Shanley Sam Chung-Hoon careful there

Brenda Mariano Ive made many complaints its not just tour helicopters. There are private aviation businesses teaching students how to fly and they circle around & around over my house starting at 6am. I have asked them to stop and came across some real jerks.
Lani Lea Sky Tours
Barber’s Point Flight Schools
George’s Aviation Services
These people have blatant disrespect for residential communities & families. I am tired of hearing their dam engines all day long. My family cannot even sit down and have a nice peaceful dinner hour. They fly low and circle up to 8pm 9pm at night.

They charge hourly rates to teach people how to fly over residential homes in both small airplanes & helicopters.
We have tried reaching out to the FAA and Ed Case’s Office. BTW FAA don’t care they’re all friends in cohoots. They operate their business at my families expense. No peaceful enjoyment in our home.

Larry Schultz How about the military!? Yesterday I watched military choppers go between buildings!!!

Neil Young Pearl City had the worst problem with helicopters flying low…. And at night too!

Andrew Gomes How can we put an end to it and address it?

Stanley Muneoka We get them every dam friday in waikiki when hilton used to have their fireworks

Phillip Guerrero Sr. for the police to fly over residential area 500′

Kathy Teixeira O think Waimanalo too…

Vai Kalaukoa Nope! I love in Palolo and they fly right over my Hale.

Julie Sharrer

September 25, 2020

There are way too many aircraft flying around the island of Oahu, in particular Kaneohe Bay. There have been crashes out on the Sand Bar. The military osprey on Marine Corps Base Hawaii are so loud and vibrate the houses and deafen our children, kupuna and pets. Small children in cribs have no chance to cover their ears. The tourist helicopters are a nuisance. We cannot live peaceably in our homes; noise from tourists, noise from military.

As I type this my house is vibrating from a military aircraft on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The C-17 military aircraft from Hickam Army Base come into Kaneohe Bay and circle continuously over the houses doing “touch and go”.

Visiting jets come onto Marine Corps Base Hawaii and deafening us all hours of the day and night. You don’t even realize they are overhead until it is too late and you experience earpiercing aircraft noise.

When the jets and C-17 aircraft take off from Marine Corps Base Hawaii our homes vibrate like a “mini earthquake”. The plates rattle and the floor and walls vibrate. Does no one realize that these constant “mini earthquakes” are destroying our concrete structures and rock walls as well as the koolau mountains.

It’s just a matter of time before boulders break loose and fall on houses and we have a calamity like Sacred Falls had on Mother’s Day a few years back. Are we waiting for the tunnels inside the Like Like, Pali and H-3 to collapse suddenly???

It’s just a matter of time…