Sept. 12, 2022
NBAA has issued a call to action urging members of New York’s business aviation community to write Gov. Kathy Hochul and urge her not to sign Senate Bill S7493A, which would allow anyone to sue a pilot, flight department, line service personnel or company employee operating in the state for alleged helicopter noise pollution, even if the operation complied with federal law and regulations.
Also known as the “Stop the Chop” act, the bill passed the NY state assembly on June 3, 2022. NBAA has been working with its New York partners to oppose the legislation, arguing that the bill as written could have far-reaching detrimental impacts on business aviation across the state.
In a letter sent to Hochul signed by NBAA and other groups, the stakeholders say the bill runs afoul of federal law. Also signing on to the letter were the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, Helicopter Association International, New York Aviation Management Association and the National Air Transportation Association.
“As written, the act operates as an access restriction at the West 30th Street heliport,” the letter states. “But that is prohibited by the federal law governing the implementation of noise and access restrictions, the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (49 U.S.C. § 47521, et seq.).
They also argue that the act is overly broad. For example, the act purports to create a private right of action for “any person” who has suffered from an “unreasonable level” of noise attributed to the operation of helicopters. The act allows for a lawsuit against “any person” who has “caused or contributed” to the use of helicopters at “unreasonable levels.”
“In New York, the general aviation industry is responsible for 43,200 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in total economic output,” reads NBAA’s call to action. “The governor must hear from the general aviation community that this legislation will be detrimental to business aviation across the state of New York.”
“There are a lot of unknowns in this legislation, and it is so vaguely worded that there many avenues in which litigation could be taken,” added Brittany Davies, NBAA Northeast regional director. “So we are urging our members to visit the Grassroots Action Center on the NBAA website and write the governor asking her not to sign this legislation into law.”