The U.S. Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld the FAA’s right to impose the mandatory overwater North Shore Route on helicopter traffic over New York’s Long Island. Writing for the Court, U.S. circuit judge Richard Roberts rejected a legal challenge (petition for review) to the route filed by the Helicopter Association International to overturn the mandate.
Roberts affirmed the FAA’s power to control airspace, ruling that the agency has the right to “set standards to measure aircraft noise and to prescribe regulations to control and abate aircraft noise” and “to protect individuals and property on the ground.”
The FAA mandated what had initially been a voluntary noise-abatement route last year after receiving political pressure from Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and former transportation secretary Ray LaHood. Helicopter operators had argued that the route, one mile off the north shore of Long Island, was potentially unsafe and would merely shift helicopter noise to other parts of the island.
The court’s ruling is expected to encourage proponents of similar measures that local politicians are promoting in the Los Angeles basin.