Bruce Lum

September 25, 2020

Aloha kākou and mahalo for the opportunity to comment on the issue at hand. My opening thought for all of us is, in Hawaiian, A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia.
No task is too big when done together by all.

My name is Bruce Lum, l have lived in Halawa for 59 of my 73 years. I have been tracking by using the Flightradar24 app. I decided to participate in this task force, because the volume of air tour traffic over my home had reached 20 per hr from 6:45a to 7:45p every day. Thatʻs 260 total flights a day over my house, during the summer. This is outrageously excessive and puts all of us in this extensive and broad flight path at greater risk, danger and disruption of home life. This extreme level of air tour invasion over residential neighborhoods is not justified and must cease.

At Tuesday’s Hawaii Air Noise and Safety Task Force webinar for Pearl City, the presentation we saw helped me grasp how easy it is for the air tour industry and the government to define and espouse air safety, and how much needs to be done by government and the air tour industry to deliver on those touted ideals and standards.

At ground level, there are exemplary industry associations and councils setting high industry standards, however, membership remains primarily voluntary and optional.

The current air tour industry model is primarily producing industry support and promotion. This legacy model lacks effective (1) air tour industry monitoring, (2) standards assurance, (3) progressive and attentive governance and (4) enforcement.

At the most basic level, what is needed now is authentic and genuine actions by government and the air tour industry to work closely with the public towards a more robust and sustainable air tour industry model. Ideally, a truly inclusive model will have robust government, industry and public interaction at its core. A new model with clear deliverables in (1) noise and safety standards, (2) updated best practices and (3) achievable success measurements that will be honored and fair to all concerned.

I have high expectations for this task force and I hope this HANSTF will deliver what the public deserves – Safety, peace and quiet. We, the citizens of Hawaiʻi look forward to a better model and a closer collaborative engagement with this task force, government and the air tour industry.

Choon James

September 25, 2020

I concur with the many testimonies and concerns that were shared at the hearings. It’s unfortunate that there were technical difficulties and some residents were not allowed to share, due to time constraints.

Please note that the factors stated in those public testimonies are prevalent and growing concerns. The public is becoming more agitated about this as the number of tourists reaches over 1 million these recent years.

COVID19 shut-down has also provided a reprieve from some of these tours. It’s so wonderful to live in your own home without constant aggravations from noise or the worry that one of these helicopters may malfunction and crash. It has happened before on our island.

We live at Laniloa Point. I’ve been living there for over 40 years. We’re seeing a lot more tour helicopters now than ever. We also live close to Turtle Bay Resort where they provide helicopter tour services.

We come from a family of military as well as commercial aviation. Flying is exciting and wonderful. We recognize that it’s a livelihood for a few. But commercial profits from the operators cannot be forced upon the public without any accountability or consideration for other’s safety, peace, and quality of life. That becomes an exploitation at the expense of the non-consenting residents.

It’s time for the commercial aviation to remember that we the residents deserve peace, quiet and safety in
our own homes.

For many tourists, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation for them in Hawaii. Their helicopter tour is probably their one and only experience too. We’re happy for them.

On the other side of the coin, it must be acknowledged that WE THE RESIDENTS are the victims of CUMULATIVE impacts from these once-in-a-lifetime tours. We’re exposed to it daily and year round. We live with these CUMULATIVE exposure and impacts from these tours day in and day out.

There must be strict regulations. It’s unfair to expect residents to spend time and efforts to regularly report and lobby for the basic peace, safety and quality of life. It’s also not easy to record as these tour helicopters buzz by very quickly. Residents should not be expected to live our lives this way – to regularly spend time and energy to “stake-out” these irregularities, of which I will share below.

Tour helicopters buzz our roofs. It has also become more clear that they are not observing the 1500 feet attitude after we witnessed the August 27 Fly-over 75th anniversary of the ending of World War 11. The pilots of these antique planes were obeying the aviation regulations. I can emphatically state that all the tour helicopters that we have seen or heard are way lower than that.

We can hear their aircraft noise. This is in spite of the ocean waves and winds in our area. When we close our windows and doors, we can shut off the sounds of the waves but we can still hear the helicopters’ noise inside our house.

We live on Laniloa Point, a peninsula that juts out into the ocean,  which is about 30-40 feet above the ocean. Sometimes, I can see tour helicopters from my kitchen window.

I see helicopters flying low along the coast line of Ko’olauloa. I’m sure it’s a beautiful vista from the helicopters.  But that is at the expense of the residents.

Most times, we hear the helicopters buzz over our roofs when they could have flew away from us, over the ocean waters. But than, that’s probably a more distance view of the coastline vista for the tourists.

Every time, there’s a helicopter crash, we hope that it will not happen over our roofs. That’s not a good thought to
have, especially when the tour operators are profiting at our expense. It’s unfair.  

Clear and regulations protecting residents must be in placed to balance this injustice and worrisome factors to our residents. We deserve to live in our homes in peace and safety.

Choon James
Laniloa Point, Laie, Oahu.

Leonard Rossoff

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

Gary Ferrell

October 2, 2020

Helicopter tours flying over heavily populated areas should be highly restricted. Off shore flights or more rural routes should be favored. Should flights transit populated areas, they should be restricted to daylight hours and only allowed In very limited Numbers. Small numbers of people taking commercial tour flights are creating noise pollution and degrading the quality of life for a large number of residents and tourists alike. Absent regulation/restrictions, they should be banned. They serve no Larger community purpose and create excessive noise pollution “benefiting” only a few.

Darlene Nagatani

October 3, 2020

Today is Oct 2. Two nights ago on September 30 around 10 pm or just before off of East Hind Drive in Aina Haina, I was awoken by a loud booming sound above the roof over me. It was disconcerting as I was startled awake to what I initially felt like there was a Sci-Fi invasion occurring atop my roof. After a few moments, I realized it was the military helicopters my husband had complained earlier about.

I knew what he meant thinking they were the black hawks I could see during daylight across the sky and ocean high above in the atmosphere. But I didn’t realize until two nights ago just how disturbing the loud noises were and wondering about just how close they had come to feel like they were landing on my roof! What in the world is going on with our military here in Hawaii late at night close enough to the homes that we are woken to being scared to death by such a horrendously loud noise disturbance that continues until the helicopters have passed over.

Daniel Brown

October 4, 2020

I am Dan Brown and I live in Kailua HI. I am extremely concerned about the tour helicopter industry on Oahu with regard to the safety aspect of us who live under their flight path as well as the accompanying noise nuisance. Two tour helos have crashed on Windward side of Oahu within last 28 months – both of which had flown over my home minutes before crashing. Coupled with that, I experience 8 – 10 tour helos over my neighborhood every hour from 8am until approximately 6pm every day of the week. I am concerned about the safety of my community and the serenity of our daily quality of life. I strongly support moving tour helos one mile offshore to enhance safety of those of us who live directly under their flight paths and to enhance quality of life for us as well. Thank you for allowing me to express my concern. I also strongly support allowing citizen representatives on the Task Force!

Please See Attached files.

Roberta Mayor

November 1, 2020

Submitting testimony from Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.

Don Horner

November 9, 2020

I have lived on the north shore of Oahu for many years. Over the last 18-24 months, noth Army and Marines aircraft have significantly increased their helicopter (Army from Schofield) and Osprey (Marines aircraft from Kaneohe Air Station) flight over our neighborhood homes and along the beach (overhead of families). During their military exercises, they do consistent low flight patterns over our homes up to 11pm. We have complained to both milirary bases via our community association but, the flight patterns have not changed. It is both a noise and safety issue. We understand, the need for training but, rather taking flight path over homes at low elevations-they could/should fly over the ocean until they get to their training sites which has been the case on the past. We cannot understand why they have chosen to use residential areas and beach front as new flight paths.

Toni Lee

December 7, 2020

Why do thousands of people on the ground get disrupted with excessive noise for the pleasure of a few helicopter passengers? There should be a cap on the number of daily flights and they should not fly as close to homes as they did in the past. It is so unbelievably distracting and loud.