Senator Schumer Slips Helo Flight Restrictions in Highway Bill

CalPilots Editors Note: It appears that NY Senator Schumer believes it is okay for him to circumvent the FAA process. We believe that Congress should not be allowed to micro manage the FAA by allowing this type of “closed doors backroom” behavior. The very same thing that happened when a California Senator snuck in a amendment to allow the closure of Rialto Airport in SOCAL.

In a deft political maneuver, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) attached an amendment today imposing helicopter flight restrictions in Long Island and Los Angeles to the $52 billion federal highway bill (S.1813). This amendment would mandate offshore routes for helicopters transiting the North and South sections of Long Island and require the FAA to develop more restrictive flight paths for civil helicopters operating over the Los Angeles basin. Schumer’s previous attempt to mandate a North shore route, as an amendment to the recently enacted FAA reauthorization bill, was removed by a joint House-Senate conference committee after being widely opposed by a broad coalition of general aviation interest groups. Following the conference report, Schumer assured constituents that the FAA would impose a North shore route by July 2012 and that he would continue to fight for helicopter flight path restrictions over Long Island’s South shore. The Senator’s new amendment incorporates language in legislation previously proposed by Los Angeles-area Democrat congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman and a companion bill offered by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).