The use of helicopters is increasingly subjected to objections and concerns about noise. Particular examples currently are in New York and Los Angeles, areas where members of the public are attempting to essentialy eliminate helicopter operations, while members of Congress are proposing that severe limitations be placed on helicopter operations and the routes and altitudes used. Similar actions are also being proposed or considered in other locations and, if successful, will have a major negative impact on helicopter use in metropolitan areas. It could essentially eliminate the "successful helicopter operations" we know today and could lead to helicopters being "banned" from urban areas or being limited to impractical routes and flyover heights.
The negative response to helicopter operations as a result of noise is generally difficult for the technical community to understand, since most helicopters generate less noise than the noise certification standards, and in most cases meet established community noise rating criteria and guidelines. The major question being asked by many is “Why are helicopters still considered ‘noisy’ even though the noise levels have been reduced and Fly Neighborly techniques are being used?” Over recent years, the main effort to address this issue has been handled by the operators of helicopters and their associations.
AHS International believes that it is time for the vertical flight technical community to be directly and actively involved in studying and addressing this issue, since if the current anti-helicopter trend cannot be stopped or reversed, it will have severe negative impacts on helicopter operations and expanded use.
AHS International held a panel discussion and working group meeting on the topic at Forum 69, on May 22, 2013. The working group is now developing a plan to address this important issue.
A collection of research papers and related documents has been collected to assist in addressing the subject of noise and community acceptance. AHS members have full access to the Rotorcraft Noise Library, while links to public access documents are provided for non-members.