Quiet Sky Waiheke applied to CAA on 3 August for creation of a “Special Use Airspace” over the Island, with specific rules that would control non-essential helicopter flights. We are asking CAA to require compliance with the guidelines set out in the helicopter industry’s own “Fly Neighbourly Guide“ such as staying over water rather than overflying land, sticking to consented flight paths, keeping to higher altitude, and ceasing sight-seeing tours. CAA itself has pilot training programmes that promote such practices – we just want them to be mandatory.
While it has established many Special Use Airspaces, CAA has never set up one like this before. We have argued that the situation at Waiheke is unprecedented and requires regulation, both to protect safety and lessen the harm from noise. Another part of the request is that all helicopters over Waiheke be required to keep their transponders on and not hide their registrations, so that their flights can be tracked (check it out next time you hear a helicopter overhead).
Persuading CAA and the Minister of Transport who oversees it to institute a Special Use Airspace is a challenge. The Local Board has supported the request and we have asked Auckland Council to do the same – which would be appropriate, since it is Council’s approval of all the helipads, and lack of monitoring of the consents, which has created the problem. We have also appreciated the support from MP Helen White and MP Chloe Swarbrick who have brought the Waiheke situation to the attention of the Minister of Transport. They always like to hear from constituents who support the positions they have taken: