NOISE from a helicopter taking off and landing on a private helipad is causing disruption for residents in Port Erin, and they have asked that steps be taken to mitigate the problem.
A group of residents contacted Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly about the issue last month after they could hear the helicopter taking off and landing – on occasions at 6.30am and 10.15pm. During one week there were flights at antisocial hours every day.
They said: ‘The high noise level, the frequency of flights, the inappropriate flight path and the low “landing” altitude should constitute a “nuisance” to local residents.’
Mr Skelly, who also lives in the area so is also affected by the noise, said: ‘I’m one of the neighbours, I can appreciate and understand what the disturbance is like.’
He added: ‘The response from director of the airport is they are within their rights to use the helipad. I have investigated it through the Civil Aviation Authority, there are restrictions but they are adhering to them.
‘I also contacted noise control at DEFA [Department of Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture] and this does not come into it. All we can do is make representations for them to be more sociable than they are.’
Airport director Ann Reynolds said a householder in the area has recently begun travelling to and from his home by helicopter. The helicopter pilot is following the aviation rules. When the airport is open (6.15am to 9.15pm, Monday to Saturday, and 7am to 9.15pm on Sunday), no pilot can fly through the airport’s airspace unless they have permission to do so. When the airport is closed, pilots can fly through the airspace without permission.
The helicopter is flying above the required 1,000 feet (except for take off and landing).
However, she said the director of Civil Aviation, Hartley Elder, met with the chief pilot, who said he will seek to mitigate the noise nuisance.
Wind direction is a key consideration when planning the flight path, and may mean adhering to a course that may have an impact on households.
She added the number of flights is expected to reduce in December.
The resident said people are ‘not worried’ by the ‘occasional’ flight but it becomes a problem when it is ‘persistent’.
He added if no legislation exists to control the situation, that can be changed in the island. ‘We do not need to wait for the UK.’