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How strict for landing a helicopter on private property


greg730g
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I know this is a tricky subject.

 

I live in a town where I can safely land a helicopter along a long stretch of marsh to my backyard. The problem is my backyard is 250 feet from a small 20 boat marina.

 

The marina is taken out of the water and there is no activity, people or cars within 500 feet. only boats shrinkwrapped from September to April.

 

I would like to purchase a neighborhood friendly R44 and land safely and frequently in my backyard.

Any advice or experience would be appreciated.

 

I know if I start asking permission from local politicians the answer is always NO because no one in this small town has ever tried this.

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Sooooo many variables and questions.

 

Are there any state or local ordinances that prohibit the landing of helicopters at "unapproved" sites (i.e. do you live in New Jersey)?

 

Would you be basing this "neighborhood friendly" helicopter at that location? R-44 is good for this, EC-120 would be better.

 

How frequently would you be going in and out?

 

Are there other houses nearby?

 

Can you ensure that your approaches and departures can always be kept safely away from persons or property on the ground? (The wind doesn't always blow from the same direction, and people generally don't like when a helicopter flies right over them on takeoff or landing.)

 

If your downwash causes even *one* boat to rock in its moorings (either in or out of the water) you WILL get a complaint and probably get shut down when the Town Council or County Supervisors enact an ordinance against you. Good luck getting an exemption after that!

 

Show us on Google Maps where you are and we can make a better assessment of your chances. However, these will still only be educated guesses. Remember, this ain't the 1950's; people nowadays don't think helicopters are such a novelty.

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There's a guy in Myrle Beach who went through the process to get approved to start an R44 tour operation. He spent a but load of money to get it up and running,...then the neighbors started to complain! Last I heard the county had changed its mind and ordered him to shut down!

 

Seems like even if "they" say its ok today, tomarow "they" can just change their minds, and you're screwed! (especially if you spend the money on a fancy helipad and/or hanger)

 

Park it at an airport!

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Landing on Public or Private property...it can be a dicey. Probably like many, we all get requests to do all kinds of "special events"...golf ball drops, homecoming queen, etc...and all pose their headaches. A recent one I received is an example of the headache.

 

A local Church (in the middle of town) was holding their Vacation Bible School this past summer with the theme "God is my Co-pilot" type deal. A friend asked if I could fly into the church parking lot (about 10 acres in size) and as a static display have student's picture taken standing beside the ship holding a helmet pilot style...etc.

 

After the typical drive over, look see ground reconnaissance, I agreed under the condition that he contact the local police, fire, city hall and sheriff's department as well as contact the most immediate neighbors around the perimeter of the church that I would be flying into the lot and why. He would also need to coordinate his volunteers that students and staff would remain next to the church building so no one would bolt toward the ship when landing or take off.

 

Two hours prior my wife and I visited the site again, roped and coned off a grassy spot in a far corner of the lot and I left for the airport. She remained to serve as my ground observer just in case someone tried to bolt toward the ship upon landing.

 

When I was on approach to the church lot, I made two very low and relatively slow reconnaissance circles plus one practice approach that I terminated at about 50 feet (my thinking being that it would alleviate concern that this was not an emergency landing, but something intentional and under control).

 

On the second approach we landed without incident and secured the ship. The pics went fine, the departure uneventful. In the week following, I had the chance to bump into our airport manager on the field where I have my ship hangared. He told me they still received over a dozen phone calls about "a ship went down near the church". Thankfully, I've given rides to most of airport staff, so had that base covered and when they heard the tail number, it created no panic.

 

So go figure... can't imagine what that would look like trying to come in and out of my house here in town everyday...good grief...

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  • 1 month later...

I know I'm late to this topic but I've been there and done that. I went through the process of getting my heliport approved BEFORE I ever tried to fly the helicopter into my property. In my locality which by the way doesn't allow commercial aircraft facilities I was able to successfully petition the county for a special use permit for a private heliport then go to the state aviation dept with the same request and after approval on to the FAA for final approval and my heliport was born. The neighbors were all required to sign off on my request to the county for the SU permit so if there's a bad egg you might have a problem. The process took 6 months and that was in 2004 and I'm still not on the sectional but I can live with that I asked the girl at the FAA after I was approved when I might see my heliport on the chart and she just laughed now I know why. Good Luck exercise freedom while you can.

 

Ricky

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  • 8 years later...

Imagine the paradigm shift in acceptance of VTOL aircraft when people can go from garage to work!  All the complainers will melt away in the "George Jetson" fever.  I have been flying since 1976, seen multiple changes in regulations, over 30K hrs and 1/4 million passengers safely flown, and the biggest headache is still trying to just find a landing spot that pleases everybody! :)

Steve

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Hitting the 4, 5 and 6 lane surface routes into, out of the city at rush hour.... Which is, now, anytime except 1-3 am.

Yeah, I want to share those skies with the 'drivers' who are lap-topping their work.

High-speed subway/surface rail, extended well out into the exurbs.

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On 9/4/2007 at 5:36 PM, Paisley said:

I actually just finished getting a private heliport approved in Oregon. I contacted the Oregon Department of Aviation and they met me at the site, took measurements, pictures, aproach/departure angles, diamater of the proposed helipad, elevations etc. They then wrote up a report and requested some additional information such as distances from schools, other houses, churches, city hall etc. After I rounded up this information and sent it back to them they sent me a letter of conditional approval stating that the site was safe and adequate for a heliport (they will let you know what the minimum requirements are). They also forwarded there report to the FAA and the local city officials (planning department). It's then up to the city or county (depending on where your property is located) to approve it or disaprove it. The FAA is forwarded all the information but dosen't have a big say in the matter.

 

I was very suprised at how easy the process was. The Oregon Department of Aviation charged $350. This was the only fee that I paid. It only took about two weeks for the conditional approval. The hardest part was convincing the neighbors and the city that they needed a heliport next door. Your states department of aviation can guide you through the entire process. As far as fuel being kept on site - thats up to the local government. The key is that it's a PRIVATE heliport - that cuts out a lot of red tape.

 

If you have any specific questions let me know.

 

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Aloha Paisley,

Thank you for all the great information and insight.  Is the "Oregon Department of Aviation" part of the Flight Standards District Office of the FAA or a separate government State entity?  If you happen to have their contact info, may I have it please?  They may be able to direct me to the equivalent office in Hawaii.  My personal email is: srs_schaefer@yahoo.com.  Thank you for all your help!

Steve

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