High Tide Helicopters battle residents to start tours at Carolina Beach

High Tide Helicopters battle residents to start tours at Carolina Beach

13-May-2016 Source: HeliHub.com

High Tide Helicopters would like to start helicopter rides in a Robinson R44 from Carolina Beach in North Carolina, and believe they have sufficient business from visitors to the area to substantiate one mid-week day of flying per week between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year.  So that’s 16 days flying per year.

High Tide owner Jessica Ward this week addressed a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday night to voice their opinions on the possibility of helicopter tours coming to Pleasure Island.  Despite a good amount of support, it seems that they operator has a vociferous minority who could be hard to win over.

Plans call for flights on one day (a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) each week, and the company has committed not to fly at lower than 800 feet agl rather than their usual 500 feet at other locations.  The planned flight path does not fly over any residential districts.  Ward detailed the flight route would start north over Freeman Park, turn around and head south over the intracoastal waterway, over Snow’s Cut Bridge and follow Dow Road back north to the landing zone. Carolina Beach Lake would also be avoided, as it is ringed with residences, as would the harbor area on Myrtle Grove Sound.

A curve ball in the whole situation is that Jessica Ward’s alleged relationship with Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilcox.  In response, Wilcox is quoted as having said “In response to your concerns over my personal relationship with Jessica, the owner of High Tide Helicopters, it’s just that – a personal relationship.  I’m not involved in any way, either financially or operationally, with High Tide Helicopters or any related entity.  We don’t share bank accounts, investments or a home. My financial status doesn’t change one penny whether the helicopters originate out of Carolina Beach or not. The bottom line is, I’m not in the helicopter business, and I don’t want to be.”

Another operator Helicopter Adventures recently dropped their appeal against a zoning board ban to operate at 4300 U.S. 17 South in nearby Myrtle Beach, and Carolina Beach residents are trying to cite this example as a way of getting the application from High Tide Helicopters rejected.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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