23 October 2010

Airport Noise- Updated:

I truly wouldn't believe it if it hadn't happened to me personally.
Yesterday I flew 2.8 hours with Tim, who now has 11.6 hours total helicopter time. Tim is doing great... as his instructor it's relaxing, because he's so far ahead of the game I can take my time and concentrate more on those things he'll need to do really well to fly safely.

We had about 8 knots of wind yesterday. Wind irritates new students... it makes crosswind and downwind hovering more difficult. Hovering into the wind is a breeze... the helicopter is a natural weathervane and is very stable with its nose pointed directly into the wind. But turn away from the wind and the wind reminds you you are a weathervane and tries to make life difficult. Downwind hovering is most uncomfortable... the wind gets underneath your tail feathers and pushes your tail up, which pushes your nose down, requiring you to position your cyclic farther aft than normal to keep the helicopter motionless above the piece of real estate you want to hover over. Gusty, variable wind like we had yesterday means the condition is intermittent and really gives the student a workout.

So yesterday we stayed close to the hangar for 40 minutes or so, hovering, landing and taking off from a hover, and hovering with the wind coming from all directions in relation to the helicopter's heading. It's a great exercise (actually makes 'em sweat!), and a confidence builder for the student.

When we finished the lesson and had shut the helicopter down, one of the airport tenants came over and said, "Everyone's complaining about you hovering here. They can't hear to talk on their phones."

"What?!! Who's complaining "Fred"?"
"Who's complaining "Fred"?

Can you guess who was actually upset?
For me it's a first...
An aircraft owning tenant of the airport complaining about aircraft noise.


Today I received a comment from an old friend who also happens to be a tenant at that end of the airport and he asked me to look at the issue from a different point of view. He makes a (somewhat) valid point that IF he was trying to conduct business while I was hovering around making noise, he'd be forced to come out and ask me to move, and I know this guy well enough to know that's exactly what he'd do. And IF he was conducting business and my hovering around was causing him difficulty, I WOULD move.
But that's not what happened here. I won't/can't go into details, but let's just say previous situations colored my view of this whole incident.
I will apologize for one thing...
In the post I used the complainer's real name, and my friends reading these words know him well. I should not have done that. It was petty. I've now changed his name to protect the guilty.
I'm sorry "Fred"... I wrote the post in anger and I should not have done that to ya.


Bob Barbanes said...

Couple of things: 1) Is the hangar a place of business? If so, then perhaps they had a valid complaint. If not, scroom.

2) They were annoyed by a...you teach in an R-22, right? I mean, we're not talking a 407 here. An R-22...which makes about as much noise as a ceiling fan, right? Who could be annoyed by that?

3) IT'S AN AIRPORT! Sometimes they're noisy. That's just life.

Sheesh. Dipwads.

camerapilot said...

Complaining about aircraft noise while your at your hanger is like a lifeguard complaining about getting wet.
Watch out GB that they don't burn you at the stake.

Greybeard said...

One hangar IS a place of business Bob, but my thought process went like this:
The business offices there are a football field away from where I was hovering, separated from my noisy little R22 by a thick hangar door, the hangar floor, and the mechanic's office/parts room/break room. I'm reasonably sure the airport lawnmowers make as much noise as my bird. Still, if I thought I was causing problems with the business there I'd be troubled...
These are old friends in every sense of the word.

But again, that's not what really frosted my corn flakes here. It's a control issue. Everyone wants to be "King of the airport" and have everyone else bowing and scraping.
I've personally apologized to "Fred" about the way I handled this, and the way I talked to him personally. But I think there needs to be another "talk" in the future to clear the air.

That's enough on that subject.

Anonymous said...

It's not often, actually never, that I comment on someone’s personal site. I feel the reality of the matter is there is never actual reality, just opinions. Which we are all entitled to. However, I take this one kind of personal as I am a helicopter pilot as well, and this is a subject that was addressed to me in my early training days a time back. It wasn't till I heard "FRED" was verbally confronted for just having enough kahunas to address to you the feelings of others, that I felt it necessary to comment as well. First and foremost, I think the subject matter is more than noise. I will address the noise however by saying whoever thinks an R-22 hovering near and above makes about the same noise as a ceiling fan or lawnmower really does need a reality check or at least a hearing test. C'mon guys, really?
Much more than noise, I feel it's a courtesy and respect issue. I'll address the safety issue later. Yes, it’s an airport and yes it is noisy at times. What I have trouble grasping is why do we want to create even more noise in areas that we don't have to. Areas that have human activity going on, whether business, personal or just social. We have so many great areas to practice maneuvers at the airport that it just becomes so unclear to me as to why do it near buildings, vehicles and people. The wind generated from the chopper by itself is enough to throw rocks, dirt and debris into nearby cars, bikes and other people's hangars. That by itself creates even more negative feelings about helicopters to those people that are not chopper pilots. That possibly maybe one-day could be? We as helicopter pilots are always the targets of "the others". How many times do we hear "noisy, dangerous, wind beaters"? No, this issue to me is not a noise issue but a courtesy issue. If this was the one and only time it occurred, I would be quiet about the whole issue. But I factually was there on at least 3 separate occasions within the last few weeks where this transpired. It annoyed the heck out of me as well. And I wasn’t even on the phone!
As for safety consideration, an 11 hour student hovering so close to buildings and vehicles . . . ? WHY? Yes hovering with the wind at all angles will make you sweat, and what a great training maneuver. But is it better near buildings, cars and people?
Especially when we have an entire airport at our disposal. What logic or benefit is there in training maneuvers being conducted in areas occupied? I respect your great wealth of knowledge and experience in the helicopter world. If you would just step back, remove yourself from the situation and look at it from other tenants and people nearby, I will assume that you would see what us complainers are complaining about. Again, I more than respect your instructor experience and ability. I just question why create a possible situation when one is not needed?
Lastly, I have to comment on the “king of the airport” remark: You may want to reconsider that comment, as in my opinion it appears self justifying. In the corner of the airport where only seven hangars exist, nothing more than camaraderie, friendships and respect seem to exist. I don’t think any individual thinks they rule the area. We just all try to respect each other and get along.
As I said earlier, everyone has his or her own opinion, right or wrong. This just happens to be mine.

Greybeard said...

How long have you been a helicopter pilot, Anon?
Those of us that have been around the block a couple times might take poetic license here and compare the noise of an R22 to a "ceiling fan", because they are so much improved over say, a Bell 47 or Hiller 12.
Thanks for your opinion.
And you're right, the problem here was that the subject matter was MUCH more than noise.

Anonymous said...

I'm not certain my time as a helicopter pilot is relevant to this discussion. I think more so consideration should be the time I've been a human. And that said, I feel it more relevant to this discussion the respect and safety issues.Not pilotage time. Please consider that any "human" whether pilot or not would feel this to be an inconsiderate act as well as dangerous. An 11+ hour student hovering near buildings,autos and other vehicles, not to mention humans standing nearby is simply inconsiderate. Certainly your experience and ability has shown you are capable of saving the students mistake should it happen, and getting the chopper back safely under control. But, "ACCIDENTS" do happen. So again I ask the most simplstic question . . Why do it near buildings, vehicles and people that are nearby, when there is a whole airport available for these practice manuevers? And do you really want a new student to think this action is ok for later days when he is a pilot. Possibly comparing a R-22 to a 407 or other large choppers will show the 22 makes far less disturbance. But using that theory, can a guy who murders 2 people be considered less dangerous (noisy) than a serial killer with 20 under his belt.
Again, just my opinion. I really won't debate this any further as I feel nothing to gain by either of us. But I do feel there is something to gain by the 7 tenants residing on that corner.
Have a great day, and good luck with your blog site.

Greybeard said...

I'm pretty sure the fact you weren't there is MOST relevant to the discussion, Anon.
(And by the way, feel privileged I'm even publishing your opinions here with no ID!)
Again, you hit the nail on the head in your first comment...
Everyone has an opinion.
Thanks for yours.