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Helicopter Landing at Hawks Cay - April 2008



Who can you call about an aircraft flying "too low" over your house?

Recently the same helicopter landed several times during the day in a water retention area at Hawks Cay Resort. The helicopter may have been there to film one of the recent events promoted by the resort. In past years other helicopters have landed in the same retention pond area.

Was the landing approved and safe? Did it fly too low over your home or the Hawks Cay Resort buildings? As with all landings of aircraft near residential buildings, safety and noise can be an issue. Were the setbacks from roads and housing sufficiently removed from the landing area? The FAA requires landing standards where there is repeated use of an area for the landing of a helicopter. The FAA however defines repeated use as something more than 10 times in one year. The FAA allows for something they classify as "one-time use". Strangely the FAA, a government agency, defines "one-time use" as up to ten times per year). 

While helicopters have fewer restrictions as they are more maneuverable and can land in tighter spaces, it would seem that common sense dictates that landing in the water retention next to vehicular traffic, a pedestrian walkway, and resort villas in not a safe practice. Especially so if there is no personnel at the landing area to caution those persons to stay clear of all propellers during landing and takeoff. Takeoffs and landings also brought the helicopter low over residential areas.

Some questions also arise about the safety of the helicopter once it has landed.

1. Rotor blade are extremely dangerous and require caution - Rotor blade accidents generally are fatal even at slow speeds. Were there any physical barriers or stanchions established for the safety of passengers?

2. Was the helicopter landing area marked and safety barriers erected to restrict access by unauthorized persons (hotel guests and children) ?

Who can you call about an aircraft flying "too low" over your house?

Call the FAA's Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO - 19) 8600 N.W. 36th Street, Room 201 Miami, FL 33166 at 305-716-3400.

The Miami Office is the office to contact regarding allegation of unsafe flight operations in Monroe County. They will probably want the helicopter's ID number.







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