Herne Bay residents fear for beachgoers, particularly small children, after today's helicopter test above Briscoe boss Rod Duke's new home.
Local resident John Ray said: "If a small child had been swimming out there, they would have been pushed under. I could hardly stand on the beach when it came in. A towel would go absolutely flying and kids on the beach could be flattened."
He was commenting after authorities said yesterday helicopter noise testing would be carried out at the boatshed property on the beach, drawing residents to film the event just after midday.
Ray said a large black chopper flew in from the city or eastern side, then swooped down towards the black boatshed on the beach which Duke has had modified so it opens up for the chopper to land.
Above that boatshed, Duke's new home is rising, modified on an existing home site.
Another resident said the helicopter made at least two approaches to the shed but did not land in it. She described the noise as "deafening."
Ray said residents were not NIMBYs as they acknowledged that people could apply for and be granted rights to land helicopters on their own private property.
"But this is at a boat shed without a slipway, on the beach. It's an entirely different thing," Ray said.
Duke was approached for comment but did not respond by deadline.
An Auckland Council spokesperson said the one-day noise testing was a temporary activity, permitted in the Unitary Plan.
"The noise testing will take place on-site in and around 75 Sarsfield St. The testing will be done by Duke's chosen noise expert consultants. Auckland Council experts will be present during the testing. There was a trial at 12 pm and a further flight will happen around 5 pm today," the spokesperson said.
"Noise measurements need to be taken at low tide and then again at high tide. Six sound level monitors will take measurements from the beach and neighbouring properties. The helicopter type must be the same type as what will be used normally," she said.
Weather-wise, for the testing, light rain was ok and only gale force winds would mean cancelling for safety reasons, she said.
"The helicopter will perform six movements: three approaches and three departures for each tide condition. It will perform a hover as if coming into land but not actually landing. The hovering needs to be approximately 10 to 30 seconds to get measurements," she said.
In 2017, Duke said he just wanted the same rights as other Herne Bay residents in his fight to get six helicopter flights a week from his waterfront property.
Duke and wife Patricia lodged Environment Court proceedings against Auckland Council over helicopter landing rights from their new property back then.
He said at the time that many other people in that waterfront area were allowed six flights a week from their properties, he had consent from neighbours for flights from the new Sarsfield St home and wanted to be treated the same as anyone else in the area.
"There's a whole bunch of people on that particular coast who have landing rights for six flights a week," Duke said two years ago.