Copter overflights halted after residents complain

By kristin.macfarlane@dailypost.co.nz, Kristin Macfarlane


Helicopters continuously flying over residential areas in Rotorua and annoying residents have stopped, with the company involved saying they have changed their flight path to avoid disturbance to the public.

Members of the public have been contacting The Daily Post about an increase in helicopter activity over their homes in Western Heights, Selwyn Heights, Fairy Springs and Kawaha Point.

George Sleet has lived in Selwyn Heights for about 27 years and over the past few months had noticed more helicopters flying over his house and over Western Heights.

He was just one of at least five Rotorua residents who were sick of hearing and seeing helicopters around their homes and had contacted The Daily Post.

They reported the constant helicopters flying over Fairy Springs, Kawaha Pt, Western Heights and Selwyn Heights.

He said he had always noticed the helicopters but it didn't bother him until they became more frequent.

Director of Volcanic Air Safaris in Rotorua Dorine Vroom said as soon as she found out about the complaints, the flight path was changed to ensure minimal disruptions to residents in the area.

She said a few months ago her company started a new service transferring Chinese tourists to Skyline Rotorua for lunch and dinner and in winter it didn't seem to bother anyone.

However, over summer and the Chinese New Year, Ms Vroom said the trips over the residential areas had increased, which was when she had heard about the complaints from residents.

She said she found out about the complaints after a letter ran in The Daily Post and once they started, they changed their flight path.

"As soon as the complaints came through we changed flight paths," she said.

"To be honest complaints didn't come to us ... I didn't even know."

Ms Vroom said the flight path changed last Friday.

"We can't upset people," she said.

Mr Sleet said he hadn't noticed the helicopters lately and was glad to learn they had stopped going over the residential areas.

When he contacted The Daily Post, Mr Sleet said the helicopters had been loud and distracting and he was worried if the flight path wasn't changed everyone in the area would be in danger.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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