Panel formed to seek solutions to helicopter noise

HILO (AP) — A new roundtable panel will look for solutions to commercial helicopter noise that has drawn the ire of Big Island residents.

Officials announced the committee Tuesday during a meeting with residents hosted by the state Department of Transportation Airports Division, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported .

The panel will be formed by two representatives each from the transportation department, the Federal Aviation Administration, Hawaii Helicopters Association and the community, said Dawn Chang, who facilitated the public meeting. It is tasked with finding a solution or identifying issues that can move toward solutions, she said.

Dozens of residents attended the meeting Tuesday, with several people telling officials that helicopter noise disrupts their lives and homes. Some urged officials to make changes to flight patterns.

“I don’t know what the solution is, but I know what is going on right now is absolutely untenable, unfair, unkind and borderline immoral,” said Andy Andrews, a Leilani Estates resident.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim addressed the group, urging officials to act.

“The anger is real, their lifestyle has been infringed upon, they know it’s getting worse and we ask of you, please help them out,” Kim said.

The community will have 30 days to give additional feedback and submit representation for the committee, said Dennis Roberts, a regional administrator for the FAA’s Western-Pacific Region.

“There have to be results and it’s something we will monitor very closely,” Roberts said. “We want to make it results-driven. It has to result in something positive that the community can agree upon, the operators can agree upon, the state can agree upon and we find — that whatever the recommendations are — that they meet the safety standards. That’s our role.”