Living in a busy urban environment we are all used to noise. However, over the last couple of months there has been a noticeable increase in the frequency and intensity of helicopters flying over Hoboken. To make matters worse they are now flying directly over our city at extremely low altitudes. This represents both health and safety issues. First, noise pollution and the second, increased risk of an accident that will endanger the lives of our citizens.
The noise is so intense that I can feel the pulsing rotors inside the house. I can only imagine what it is like for residents of the Shipyard, Maxwell Place, Stevens, Marineview Plaza and the W that are closer to the river and higher up. The drumming din of rotor blades can be heard as far back as Church Square Park. I was so concerned by the noise and the associated safety issue that I contacted the FAA. Dennis Kaskovich, one of their aviation safety inspectors, told me that over a "congested area" the recommendation is that helicopters should maintain a minimum safe altitude "of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft." When I mentioned that this was not consistent with my experience he replied "the rule is a bit more liberal for helicopters" and "there is no altitude specified for the route in question. You should know that even when there is, it is only a recommendation". So according to the FAA, there's effectively nothing we can do. Residents of buildings like The W or Marine View should just learn to live with helicopters passing within a couple of hundred feet of their buildings.
It is time that our elected New Jersey representatives at all levels work to put laws in place to get the FAA to set minimum safe, enforceable laws for helicopters and all other aircraft over the Hudson that ensure that our air space is safe and our noise levels are manageable. After all, is it right that a densely packed city like Hoboken, which has growth massively since the present FAA guidelines were established is made to suffer so wealthy commuters and tourists can fly to New York?