Immune to helicopter problems? Think again
Date: Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 18:22:28 EST
Topic: Lantana

think helicopters won't ever bother you?

You have to pay planners to plan something. Pay them enough and they'll plan anything... even the ridiculous.

Ridiculous because you can't manage what you don't measure and the County has no measurement before or after the introduction of helicopter training schools to know what damage they have already caused to the communities surrounding the airport. But they have acknowledged significant damage caused by these schools over the past decade by bandaiding the problem by publishing RECOMMENDATIONS, GUIDELINES and PROCEDURES and formally requesting schools and pilots to cooperate with sound flying procedures that would prevent further harm to the communities. Of course, helicopter tenants, operators, students, instructors and other pilots simply ignored the County's efforts and the public continued to suffer.

How in the world could you allow helicopter training schools into a small urban uncontrolled airport already saturated with fixed wing traffic and barely maintaining a delicate balance of peaceful cooexistence... without a single measurement, a single assessment, a single evaluation or study of what you might do to the surrounding communities and to the environment?

Then imagine after finding out you screwed up and the communities are suffering because you didn't study what might happen... you decide to pay planners to expand the helicopter operations even more! Now that is truly irresponsible government and we are paying the tab by dimished lifestyle, diminished quality of life, interruptions to our conversations, our concentration, our peace of mind... and subjected to health and most all increased SAFETY risks... all so some outsiders can make money using our public land while they make us miserable. This is for those who might think they are immune from the effects of declining property values and a traffic pattern choked with helicopter students doing maneuvers over YOUR home.

The graph above is from (pg 28) the County study on Helicopters (they spent $80,000 to study helicopters but still no study on the impact to the people) and shows the projected increases in helicopter traffic. The only reason you may not think it's as bad as it used to be... is because of the economy... not because the operator cooperated in the long term.

The GI bill and a loose credit market paid for many of the $30,000 to $60,000 helicopter training programs. The engine that drives the schools is the lease back helicopter (cheapie is about $250,000; Jet copter training which has picked up requires about a 2 million investment in the craft) in which investors are looking for a return on their investment. So the school has to put as many helicopters as possible in the air to make it work. That is why we see them everywhere flying over residential areas. Patterns over the airport would restrict their profit taking whereas flying over your neighborhood means they can put as many in the air as they need and max the take.

Don't think you'll be affected? Just look at this stack of radar traces on the NW/SE runway most commonly used. Notice one side has definition the other is hodge podge everywhere. The hodge podge you see opposite the well defined traces shows helicopters flying where they want, when they want, as low as they want and no two patterns (if there are any) are the same. This is a safety problem with helicopter traffic at an uncontrolled field ...they get in everyone's hair because no one conforms to anything... every man for himself.

They use different runways when it suits them, they use non standard patterns when it pleases them... and there's no way to control whose neighborhood they decide to fly over. And they don't want to stay over the airport where the County has asked them for five years to stay because they can't make as much money.

Imagine how this will look with the vast increases projected and then think about how long you should wait before trying to cap the problem before it rolls over you.

This article comes from Lake Worth Media

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