Senators Call on State, FAA to Ground Helicopters in Wake of Kailua Crash
Four Hawai‘i State Senators have sent a letter to the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, calling for an immediate statewide grounding of tour and commercial helicopter operations, or a ban on all commercial helicopter flights over residential neighborhoods until an investigation into Monday’s fatal crash of a tour helicopter in Kailua can be completed.
Sens. Stanley Chang (District 9), Jarrett Keohokalole (District 24), Gil Riviere (District 23), and Laura Thielen (District 25) signed the letter, stating, “As elected officials it is our responsibility to protect our constituents.” The site of Monday’s crash is located in Senate District 25.
Monday’s incident, in which three people died, was the second helicopter crash in the District since an Oct. 22, 2018 incident that left three people severely injured. Another commercial helicopter made a “hard landing” in Windward O‘ahu less than two weeks ago.
“Residents throughout our state have long complained about the lack of flight plans and rules regulating commercial and tour helicopters,” the letter said. “Concerns vary from general annoyance to fears of aircraft falling from the sky. Today our worst fears were realized.”