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Florida Air Tour Company Hopes To Add Helicopter Location

But Some Neighboring Business Object Due To ... Noise

In an effort to increase its business by appealing to cruise ship passengers, Cape Canaveral (FL) air tour operator Florida Biplanes & Helicopters hopes to gain permission to operate from a helipad in a commercial district. But some neighboring businesses, such as Florida Beer Co., say the aircraft is too loud, and have objected to the new location.

The company normally operates from Merritt Island Airport (KCIO), but thinks it will be able to attract passengers going too and from cruises at Port Canaveral to take an aerial tour of the area. The proposed zoning change may be debated by the Cape Canaveral Planning and Zoning Board next month, according to a report from Florida Today. They will make a recommendation to the City Council for a final decision.

The city has been conducting sound assessments of takeoffs and landings at the new location. Mayor Rocky Randels said that the Robinson R44 was "less noisy than our police helicopters ... but I'm not sure I would like to live next door to it."

Mark Grainger, who founded Florida Biplanes and Helicopters, has tried to be a good neighbor. He recently eliminated flights over the Banana River from his original proposal after receiving objections from people living in the area. But he says the R44 is a low-impact aircraft. "It's safe, It's clean, It's economical. I doesn't have a big environmental impact," he told a crowd before making a demonstration flight for sound-measurement purposes.

The R44 registered 98.4 db on a decibel meter at the AJT Professional Complex next door to the proposed helipad. That's about the same as a power mower, according to Industrial Noise Control, Inc. A lawyer hired by the owners of the complex said that people would not be able to work in the building with helicopter operations going on "every 10 minutes. It's too loud," said attorney Kimberly Rezanka, after listening to the takeoffs and landings while standing in the AJT parking lot.

(R44 image from file)

FMI: Cape Canaveral Planning and Zoning

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