Queens senator proposes legislation that would curb ‘harmful and dangerous’ noise pollution from helicopters

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State Senator Joe Addabbo is co-sponsoring four pieces of legislation that would regulate helicopters in the state, as many residents in his district are suffering from the frequent “harmful and dangerous” noise. 

Aircraft noise near neighborhoods surrounding the airports in Queens is to be expected. However, Addabbo credits an increase in noise pollution to Uber Copter, which was introduced in 2019 to offer helicopter rides between Manhattan and JFK International Airport.

“I’ve heard from many frustrated constituents asking if we can do anything about the growing helicopter noise in their communities,” Addabbo said. “While much of the responsibility to regulate aircraft falls to the federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are steps we can take on the state level related to the operation of helicopters within New York.”

One Middle Village resident told QNS that the noise has become intolerable in his neighborhood. 

“The air pollution and constant noise is harmful and dangerous to the population,” the resident said. “The traffic should be varied miles north or south at least periodically and not be constant to the same place. I do not wish to live on the runway. This will destroy property values once folks find out the truth.” 

The resident told QNS that planes have been passing overhead every 60 seconds in recent days. The New York Times reported that last year, the city received 17,733 calls about helicopter noise, which was more than triple the number it was last year. 

Addabbo is co-sponsoring S.7493, which would allow a person suffering from the use and enjoyment of a private property helicopter that has caused unreasonable noise levels to have a right of action against that person. The other three pieces of legislation concern pilot safety measures.

“There are studies that show that these helicopters are adding to the city’s air pollution through more carbon emissions, as well as noise pollution for the communities in their flight path,” Addabbo said. “It is our hope in the state Legislature that these measures, if passed into law, will alleviate some of the issues pertaining to the increase of helicopters flying over our local communities, and to make them safer for the pilots and passengers.”

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