The Kailua Neighborhood Board has formed the first sub-committee of its kind, dedicated to investigating needed improvements for commercial helicopter safety in “congested areas.”
Residents say they’ve seen a decrease in the amount of helicopters flying over houses since the helicopter crash on Oneawa Street.
“It’s more maybe three times a week, about three or four o’clock in the evening now. Before it used to be three times a day from the morning to the afternoon,” said Ricky Ornellas, a Kailua resident.
He and other Kailua residents say they are still concerned.
“You could have like 4 in one day and then maybe none the next,” said Robin Hernandez, another Kailua resident.
“I think it’s a bad idea for them to fly over. Maybe over the ocean around the island would be safer,” said Ornellas.
Claudine Tomasa with the Kailua Neighborhood Board says this is one of the solutions that they would like to look into during the sub-committee meetings.
“What they’re concerned about is the noise but now with the fact that this helicopter crashed and it was a cloudy stormy day, we’re looking at the public safety of the community, and we do not want to have anything like this happening again,” said Tomasa.
She says the goal of the sub-committee will be to work with officials and the FAA to potentially change helicopter flight rules and flight paths. Something similar has worked in the past.
“The public safety committee did work with low flying military helicopters aircraft flying over Kailua about 2 or 3 years ago and it was resolved successfully,” said Tomasa.
The FAA says it’s aware the community concerns, but says quote, “We have not at this time developed any information that would warrant taking action that affects all air tour operators or the operator involved in the April 29 accident.”
Tomasa says the Kailua Neighborhood Board Sub-Committee meeting regarding safety and commercial helicopters will be held next week Thursday.