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Court Upholds Long Island Helicopter Route

On July 12, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a petition by Helicopter Association International (HAI) challenging the FAA’s decision to impose mandatory helicopter routes along the north shore of Long Island, New York.  FAA issued a final rule in 2012 requiring helicopter pilots to use a route one mile off the northern shore of Long Island.  Use of the route was recommended, but voluntary, prior to the final rule.  HAI principally challenged the FAA’s authority to impose a mandatory route in response to noise complaints from local residents.  The court determined that the FAA was authorized to impose routes in the interest of protecting homeowners from excessive noise and that the complaints and other noise data were sufficient evidence of a noise problem.