February 17, 2005
Scottsdale is trying to cut aircraft noise in residential areas with a guide that asks all Arizona helicopter owners to avoid flights over homes near the Scottsdale Airpark.
The city sent out the guide Friday to about 200 helicopter pilots as part of the airpark’s ongoing effort to address aircraft noise complaints.
The guide asks pilots to fly over undeveloped areas, major roads and Loop 101.
The city can’t require pilots based elsewhere to use those corridors, Scottsdale aviation director Scott Gray said. But he expects the guide will prompt pilots to change where they fly by making them aware of the problem.
"We believe it’s going to be significant because most of our visiting helicopters that aren’t based at our airport have no idea where our noise-sensitive areas are," Gray said.
The city also sent multiple copies of the guides to flight schools to ensure the everchanging classes know about the issue.
It’s unclear exactly what impact will be seen in addressing helicopter noise,
Gray said, because officials don’t track how many of the flights are by helicopter compared with fixed-wing planes.
The airport has already made efforts to work with pilots based at the airpark. Officials had helicopter pilots sign agreements that they will fly in the corridors listed in the guide. That happened about six months ago and has already helped to make residential areas quieter, Gray said.
The guidelines do not apply to pilots in emergency situations, such as law enforcement or crews on medical calls. It also doesn’t apply to pilots flying in bad weather or other hazardous conditions.