----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Young
To: Johnny Bob
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 2:04
Subject: Fwd: Letters re helicopter noise, esp. news helis, in Fenway, Boston

Dear Johnny Bob,

Here is a series of letters on the outrage here in Boston over the helicopter noise problem. They're for your site if you want them. Having a major paper such as the Boston Globe run a front-page article on the problem is a step forward.

I think the main thing is to keep up pressure on our federal representatives, getting dozens of people to call them daily with the helicopter noise in the background, demanding they remove the loophole for under-75,000-pound aircraft as far as noise testing goes, and all the other loopholes that let these people degrade the environment, and call up the pilots and companies involved to tell them to fly at 2000' minimum during the day, as demanded by FAA Advisory Circular 91-36D, and to follow the suggestions in other FAA A.C.s regarding minimizing noise.

Most of all, the medical helicopters shouldn't be taking people to hospitals when an ambulance can get them there just about as fast.

And in general, helicopters are Stage 2 aircraft that should be phased out as much as possible, as other Stage 2 aircraft were.

Best wishes,

Chris Young

Aircraft Noise Action Committee http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PlaneTalk

Alliance for a Healthy Habitat http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HealthyHabitat/

From: c1572young@earthlink.net
Subject: Copters' roar sets off a wailing among Fenway residents
August 16, 2005 12:18:04 AM EDT
To: AviationWatch@yahoogroups.com
Cc: PlaneTalk@yahoogroups.com, ssjpc@comcast.net, danny.ryan@mail.house.gov, FIacovino@massport.com, Operations@bostonmedflight.org

[ Boston Medflight's helicopters have been among the worst offenders. They've been driving us crazy all over Cambridge for years now, as well as Boston, Watertown, etc., etc. A phone call or a complaint often results in a bunch of "strafing runs" the next few days, where they shake up your whole neighborhood with high speed flyovers at a few hundred feet. I've got literally thousands of documented outrageous low flights over the past years, most of them occurring when they are just returning to their base at Hanscom Airport in Bedford, MA. They have never made the slightest attempt to comply with FAA Advisory Circular 91-36D, "VFR Flight over Noise-Sensitive Areas", which specifies a minimum of 2000' (understood to be during the _day_) over residential and other noise-sensitive areas.

I don't see why such arrogance should be permitted. They need to be permanently shut down, their pilots need to permanently lose their flight licenses, their directors need to be declared felons unqualified for any position of public trust, and they need to pay back the hundreds of million dollars in damage they have inflicted on our health. Any future helicopter ambulances need to be under strict supervision for compliance with FAA AC 91-26D; to make sure they are only doing emergency runs that could not be handled by ground ambulance services, particularly at night; and that when possible they go to outlying hospitals. -- Chris Young ]

While the Fenway has gone upscale, like this Queensberry Street building, residents say an increase in helicopter traffic is eroding the quality of life. (Globe Staff Photo / David Kamerman)

Copters' roar sets off a wailing among Fenway residents
Say ballpark, hospitals drawing more flights

By Lisa Wangsness, Globe Staff  |  August 15, 2005

The Fenway is rapidly changing from the home of rowdy students and noisy sports bars to a fashionable neighborhood that just saw its first $1 million townhouse price tag. Along with the gentrification has come a new complaint: helicopters.

Annoyed residents say the percussive roar of airborne machinery has been interrupting their al fresco dinners, drowning out their phone calls, and disturbing otherwise quiet afternoons at home, and they have been begging City Hall to do something about it.

The Fenway's city councilor, Mike Ross, has been talking with the Federal Aviation Administration and the New England Helicopter Council and is planning a community meeting later this month to air the problem.

While helicopters beat the skies over the entire city, they flock to the Fenway because of its famous baseball field and the host of hospitals where emergency cases are flown in and out virtually every day.

TV helicopters film certain ballgames and special events at Fenway Park, private helicopter tours bring paying customers in for a close-up look at the stadium, and State Police patrol the skies [Call your state rep. and ask him/her to curtail State Police helicopter use; if possible film the State Police and get noise readings and forward these to the state rep. -- Chris Young] During events at Fenway, choppers may hover overhead for 20 to 40 minutes at a stretch -- making some neighbors feel, as one resident put it, ''like we're in M*A*S*H."

''Since the All-Star Game [in 1999], you've had Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett; we're going to have the Rolling Stones -- not to mention the Red Sox winning the World Series, not to mention speculation about new ownership and do they or don't they move," Ross said. ''All of that has led to so much air traffic over Fenway Park, and residents have started to say: 'Are there any controls, and what can be done to alleviate the noise?' "

The FAA says federal law prohibits the agency from releasing the number of flights over the neighborhood and from disclosing who is flying. [Unbelievable arrogance, but par for the course.] But residents say they have noticed many more choppers in the air over the last several years, especially during big events at Fenway Park.

''It's the ones that just kind of sit there -- park there -- for 20 minutes or a half-hour," said Steve Chase, a realtor who lives and works in the area.

Getting something done about the problem is no easy matter, some residents have found. Lisa Simon, 50, a choreographer who lives in the Fenway, recalls trying to eat dinner with friends on the patio of a cafe last year when a chopper essentially stopped over their heads, emitting an ear-splitting drone.

''We couldn't talk to one another at the table," she said. ''Finally, I asked someone for their cellphone and called the police. They could hardly hear me on the phone. The police said, 'It's not our jurisdiction, it's the FAA or somebody.' I said, 'Well I can't call them, you call them and tell them to move.' "

Helicopters have to get permission from Logan International Airport's control tower to fly through Fenway airspace. But the FAA usually gives the go-ahead to any pilot who follows federal regulations, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the FAA's New England region.

The regulations aren't too restrictive, either. As long as pilots are licensed and follow safety regulations, they can basically fly wherever they want -- and as low, as long, and as loud as they want, Peters said.

''The resulting noise that may occur from that event we don't regulate," Peters said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the airspace within 3 nautical miles of Fenway Park has been off-limits to aircraft from one hour before baseball games to one hour after they end. But the Transportation Security Administration grants waivers on a case-by-case basis, and public safety and medical aircraft are exempt from the prohibition.

Peters said a 1982 federal law prohibits the FAA from releasing the identities of companies that request permission to fly into the airspace. But there are clearly plenty of operators. Several Boston tour companies advertise helicopter rides offering sky views of Fenway Park.

The State Police runs a helicopter patrol, but a spokesman would not comment on when -- or whether -- that unit monitors Fenway Park.

All the major local television networks also boast helicopter coverage. Fox25 has SkyFox, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) has Sky Eye 4, WCVB-TV (Channel 5) has Live Sky 5, and WHDH-TV (Channel 7) has Sky 7.

Publicists for channels 4, 5, and 7 said they send helicopters over Fenway to cover only big events, such as the World Series and Opening Day.

''We do try to be considerate of the neighborhood," said Ginny Lund, director of public relations for WHDH, adding that the station's news director, Linda Miele, would be happy to meet with Ross if he asks.

Charles Steinberg, a spokesman for the Red Sox, said that neighborhood associations cited helicopters as a hot issue a few years ago, but not lately. He said that when concerns arose previously, he relayed them to the news directors of TV stations with choppers, and the complaints quickly dissipated. If residents bring the issue to the team's attention again, he said, ''we would try to use our imagination" to find a way to help.

''I don't know that the news organizations are the culprit," he added. ''I don't necessarily know who's flying a helicopter on what day."

Ross said that when Mission Hill residents began complaining about helicopters traveling to and from the Longwood Medical area a few years ago, informal meetings among hospital officials, residents, the FAA, and helicopter pilots helped alleviate the problem. Now he hopes the New England Helicopter Council, an advocacy organization for the ''rotorcraft community," can help address Fenway residents' concerns through informal conversations with the companies and organizations that fly helicopters in the neighborhood.

For example, he suggested, media covering big events at Fenway Park could pool their footage. ''It's a tremendous thing to coordinate, as I'm finding out," he said.

Christophe Raynaud, 36, thinks that's a splendid idea. An independent consultant who works out of his apartment at the corner of Park Drive and Queensberry Street, Raynaud spends much of the day trying to ignore the swooping choppers that render his phone conversations inaudible for 30 seconds at a stretch.

Phone conversations that should last 10 minutes often turn into 15- or 20-minute calls, he said, because he spends so much time asking people to repeat what they said. On a good day, he said, five or six choppers come by; on a bad day, there is at least one an hour.

Raynaud was once on a conference call with people from all over the country when someone joked about all the noise coming from the New York City office.

''The people in New York City said, 'It's as quiet as it can be here,' " he said. 

From: Chris Young <c1572young@earthlink.net>
Date: August 23, 2005 2:06:24 AM EDT
To: AvWatch <AviationWatch@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: PlaneTalk <PlaneTalk@yahoogroups.com>, South Shore Jet Pollution Council <ssjpc@comcast.net>, Alliance for a Healthy Habitat <HealthyHabitat@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Letters re helicopter noise, esp. news helis, in Fenway, Boston

[Following are letters to the Boston Globe about the helicopter noise in the Fenway section of the city, where the news copters hover over Fenway Park and other areas for hours on end.

We're also getting pounded daily in West Cambridge by WBZ's news helicopter out of Allston. They make no attempt to fly at 2000' over residential areas as demanded by FAA Advisory Circular 91-36D. You see them flying flat for miles at 500' or even 300' over residential areas, hospitals, nursing homes, parks, etc. How would ascending to 2000' slow them down enough to matter? Where is any sense of civility or decency?

The other news copters behave similarly. I've seen WCVB hovering over residential areas for 6 hours after one minor robbery in Somerville.

Traffic helicopters fly everywhere at 700' or less at 7 AM in the morning.

The noise of these things is like a freight train 50 feet away. The low-frequency pounding of the blade-slap will go right through a two-foot thick wall. In the middle of the night, when the medical helicopters (Boston Medflight mostly) make their routine flights back to base at 1000' or so, you feel like they're landing on the roof.

We need to eliminate the loophole that totally exempts aircraft under 75,000 pound from any noise constraints, and we need to get back local control so our state representatives can restrict the abuse by these blatantly inconsiderate pilots and organizations. -- Chris Young]

Letters to the Boston Globe re helicopters over Fenway section of Boston

Chutzpah in the Fenway
August 17, 2005
AS A ONETIME resident of New York City, I chuckled as I read the story ''Copters' roar sets of a wailing among Fenway residents" (Page A1, Aug. 15). When I saw that their complaints centered on the disruption of their patio dinners -- while other residents eat inside their sweltering apartments --I laughed out loud.

Noise is a fact of life in the city, and the Fens was dominated by Fenway Park and the Longwood Medical Area long before these people moved in. It is the height of chutzpah to move to a neighborhood and then demand it be changed to suit your taste.


Disturbance in Fenway
August 22, 2005

IT IS UNFORTUNATE that A. David Brown of Newton finds the complaints of Fenway residents amusing (''Chutzpah in the Fenway," letter, Page A12). Despite the prospect of a developer asking a million-plus for a townhouse, the Fenway is primarily a middle-class neighborhood. We're not a bunch of gentrified, Chablis-sipping complainers.

The Aug. 15 article that Brown was responding to failed to distinguish what types of helicopter noise are the problem (''Copters' roar sets off a wailing among Fenway residents," Page A1). This issue arose because of the constant practice of television news stations flying helicopters above our homes for up to an hour or more for what is known in the business as ''beauty shots." These are the three-second aerial pictures shown as the program moves to a commercial.

Nobody in the neighborhood is complaining about a med-flight rushing wounded people to the hospital or broadcasts of legitimate breaking news. And despite the quotes attributed to the news people as willing to be cooperative, their actual behavior has been quite the opposite, as many people in the neighborhood will tell you. The television stations considered it their right to be up there.

Brown is wrong in his statement that the Fenway ''was dominated by Fenway Park and the Longwood Medical Area" long before we moved in. Fenway Park was a lyric little bandbox with just 10,000 showing up for Ted Williams's last game. Does anyone remember organ music between innings?

The Longwood Medical Area is a monster run amok, as office parks are squeezed into every last inch of open space. Most of this development happened only in the last decade. Many Fenway residents have lived here for a lot longer than that.

Yes, noise is a fact of life in the city, there is plenty of it, which is why unnecessary noise is so unforgivable.

Fenway Civic AssociationBoston