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Last updateTue, 27 Aug 2019 12am







    Monday, August 26, 2019-9:34:02P.M.






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Low-flying helicopter worries hotels, marine sports operators

THE Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications last week asked the Commonwealth Ports Authority to look into a low-flying red commercial helicopter that, at times, hovers beach areas.

PUTC Chairman Vinnie Sablan said he has already called the attention of the CPA executive director who told him that there is no local rules that govern commercial helicopters, and that CPA used Federal Aviation Administration guidelines on low-flying aircraft.

Sablan said his committee was provided the following information:

“Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

“(a) Anywhere — An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

“(b) 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) An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

“(d) Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters.”

In an interview, Sen. Sixto Igisomar said his office has been receiving a lot of phone calls, especially from marine sports operators on Managaha as well as hotels managers, about the red helicopter that flies too low.

“I’d like to see what license this helicopter operator has. Is it FAA certified? I want to see details. If they have to bombard me with documents then please bombard me with documents so I can see them,” Igisomar said.

Sablan said CPA advised that when the helicopter is seen flying at an unsafe altitude, anyone can report it to the airport tower.

He added that his committee will address the lack of local rules on commercial aircraft.