Complaints about noise from kansas city helicopter tours prompt pilots to fly slightly higher over the country club plaza _ the kansas city star

Three companies offer helicopter tours of Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. Best apples for juicing They all fly out of the Charles B. Best apples for sauce Wheeler Downtown Airport. Best apples to eat In recent weeks, those flights have generated a handful of complaints from residents upset about the noise.


Best apples to make applesauce The Star mounted a Go Pro camera in the cockpit of KC Copters as they flew over downtown Kansas City during a recent tour.

Helicopter tours of the Country Club Plaza are most popular around the holiday season, but Saturday’s calm skies were perfect for people wanting to get a bird’s-eye view of the area. Braggs apple cider vinegar nutrition facts This trio boarded a chopper at Wheeler Downtown Airport for a brief flight over downtown and the Plaza with KC Copters.

That special Country Club Plaza ambience: Diners and shoppers strolling amid faux Spanish architecture, lit special for the holidays, teeming with a mix of tourists and locals year-round.

Kansas City’s toniest district looks so picturesque from above that aerial tours of the Plaza now make up a regular part of its weekend soundscape.

“Sometimes, it feels like they’re circling up there nonstop,” said Sydney Cooley, who lives near 48th and Holly streets on the southwest edge of the Plaza. Calories apple cider vinegar “When you’ve got your windows open, you can’t hear anything over it.”

She’s among a handful of people who’ve complained to City Hall and elsewhere, saying helicopters buzz too often and too low over their neighborhood.

Rules of the skies come from the Federal Aviation Administration, which essentially lets helicopters buzz around as they please as long as they’re operated safely.

Operators of the tour services, meanwhile, say they aim to be good neighbors. Calories apple fritter Two of the three tour companies said they’ve recently begun flying about 700 feet above street level, 200 feet higher than before, to lessen the noise that reaches the ground. Calories in 1 2 apple The third tour company, Timberview Helicopters, did not return phone calls.

“We’re not here to upset anybody,” said Tim Brummit, the pilot and general manager of River’s Edge Aviation. Calories in 1 apple “We just figured we’d try to solve the situation ourselves” by flying higher.

The number of complaints is small. Calories in 1 green apple Kansas City’s 311 service got three complaints in February. Calories in a granny smith apple By comparison, it can field 45 calls a week about potholes. Calories in a green apple Some City Council members have received a few complaints.

The flights also have triggered a string of complaints on the Unofficial Old Hyde Park Neighborhood Watch page on Facebook. Calories in a small apple At least one gripe has been filed with the FAA.

That federal agency does impose strict requirements on how low a fixed-wing aircraft can fly. Calories in an apple Small planes must remain at least 1,000 feet higher than “the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet” over congested areas such as the Plaza.

Yet helicopters are governed by far looser rules. Calories in an apple fritter When choppers fly “without hazard to persons or property on the surface,” FAA rules state, they can go lower than planes as long as they comply “with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.”

Queried about any particular regulations that might limit how choppers can fly over the Plaza, an FAA spokeswoman referred to the standard rules.

“I am unaware … of any jurisdiction that the city has over aircraft,” Kansas City Aviation Department spokesman Joe McBride said in an email.

He said city aviation officials have passed along noise complaints to the helicopter tour companies. Calories in apple butter In response, McBride said, those operators say they “will endeavor to increase altitudes and, when possible, lessen the time flown over residential areas surrounding the Country Club Plaza.”

Alec Kelley, an assistant to City Council member Jolie Justus, whose district includes the Plaza, said the issue is being studied but there are no proposals in the works to regulate the flights “unless it gets real bad and they start violating people’s well-being.”

When Cooley complained to City Hall, she was told that the city’s noise ordinance does not apply to aircraft but that officials from the Kansas City Aviation Department would be meeting with the tour operators.

“Basically, helicopters can be as loud as possible and fly as low as possible, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it,” Cooley said. Calories in apple cider vinegar “It’s frustrating.”

One complaint filed through the city’s 311 service said “most of us in West Plaza tried to be good sports about the loud helicopter tours over the holidays. Calories in apple juice The problem is that that noise continues, mainly on weekends, with loud, low flying over our neighborhood (one as I write this right now at noon).”

Stephanie Henry has lived near 49th and Jarboe streets, at the southwest edge of the Plaza, for more than a decade. Calories in apple pie The sound of helicopters, she said, became an annoyance in the last year. Calories in apple pie slice When she’s indoors, she can hear the choppers even when her doors and windows are closed, but the sound is particularly annoying when she’s entertaining friends on her deck.

“People stop what they’re saying and look up,” she said. Calories in applesauce “From our backyard, we don’t hear the car traffic. Calories in green apple We do hear the helicopters.”

All three tour operators in Kansas City fly the Robinson R44 four-seater helicopter — room for a pilot and three passengers.

The Helicopter Association International suggests that pilots of the R44 “improve the quality of our environment and … dissuade the public from enacting overly restrictive ordinances against helicopters … (by producing) the lowest possible noise irritation to the general public while flying.”

It recommends that pilots “avoid flying over outdoor concerts, ball games, or other assemblies of people. Calories in medium apple When this cannot be avoided, fly as high as practicable, preferably over 2,000” feet above ground level.

An examination of an Uber-like service using helicopters in Greenwire, an online publication covering energy and environment issues, found the noise level of an R44 at 500 feet above ground level was comparable to the sound of a medium-sized truck moving through a neighborhood between 35 and 55 mph and heard from 50 feet away.

Johnny Rowlands, probably best known for his work chasing storms and trailing police pursuits for KMBC, runs KC Copters. Calories in one apple It flies the most tours over Kansas City — a quickie look at the skyline, a longer ride over the Plaza, one over the Truman Sports Complex and a tour that covers it all. Calories in one large apple The rides cost from $200 to $300. Calories in red apple River’s Edge offers tours ranging from 10 to 45 minutes for $130 to $495. Calories in red delicious apple Timberview tours run from $50 to $200.

The flights are particularly popular during the Christmas season when the Plaza lights glow, and for couples on and around Valentine’s Day.

“We’re in the business of making our customers happy. Calories in red delicious apple large That involves giving them a good view of the Plaza,” he said. Calories in redd’s apple ale “Obviously, that doesn’t involve getting so low that you’re counting the Christmas bulbs. Calories in small apple … But we think we’ve struck a happy medium where it’s not totally obnoxious on the ground.”

Ultimately, Rowlands and Brummit say the FAA requires them to fly safely, not necessarily high.

“We know helicopters create noise. Calories in small green apple We’ve very aware of that,” Rowlands said. Carbs in red delicious apple “It would be unreasonable to not fly tours anymore. Carbs in redd’s apple ale … Whatever we can do to make it as palatable as possible is our duty within reason. Cnn nutrition apple cider vinegar People operate businesses all the time that are an annoyance to other people. Custard apple health benefits You just try to work out a compromise.”

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