19-Dec-2022 Source: HAI
Helicopter Association International (HAI) commends New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for her veto of New York Senate Bill 7493A, known as the “Stop the Chop” bill. In addition to banning nonessential helicopters at New York City’s West 30th Street Heliport, the legislation would have allowed anyone to sue an operator, pilot, flight department, line-service personnel, or company employee operating in the state for alleged helicopter noise pollution, even if the flight in question was conducted in accordance with federal law and regulations.
“We are grateful for the governor’s sound reasoning in vetoing this legislation,” says James Viola, president and CEO of HAI. “The bill would have resulted in frivolous lawsuits, and it had the potential to affect future vertical aviation flight operations as well. Moreover, the law would have violated the constitutional principle of federal preemption that reserves regulation of aircraft and airspace to the federal government.”
In a statement announcing her decision, Hochul cited preemption as her primary reason for the veto. “Recent federal case law makes clear that non-federal actors must carefully consider how state and local restrictions interact with federal laws governing aviation and must be attentive to federally mandated processes for enacting policy in this area,” she said. “Certain elements of this legislation run counter to the federal scheme regulating New York’s airports and airspace. Therefore, I am constrained to veto this bill.”
HAI and other general aviation organizations opposed the legislation from the time it was proposed, participating in a joint campaign that provided insight into the bill’s flaws.
Viola also noted the impact of efforts by businesses, operators, and pilots who reached out to their New York elected officials about the legislation. “HAI applauds the efforts of the businesses and individuals in the vertical aviation industry who took the time to send messages expressing their opposition to the bill to Governor Hochul. Elected officials pay attention when they hear from their voters,” says Viola.
HAI remains committed to community compatibility and encourages vertical flight operators and their local communities to collaborate on solutions for sound issues. Information on the association’s Fly Neighborly program is available on rotor.org.