If you live in Imperial Beach, Coronado Cays, Coronado Shores, Northwest of the Del, North Beach, the Coronado Country Club, or on 1st Street, then you already know this helicopter too well....by sight and by SOUND. If you're a member of the larger community, perhaps immune from the noise pollution because you're a bit farther removed, chances are that you and people you care about still inhale toxic fumes from these aircraft. And the fallout should one of these helicopters fall from the sky, destroying property and injuring or killing people in its path, will reverberate throughout the community and impact everyone of us. Unless we give voice to our concerns, the enormous issues arising from the use of the current flight paths of these increase are soon to exponentially increase.
This is an H-60 Helicopter
In 1996, when the H-60 was first introduced to Naval Air Station North Island, the base was a quiet S3 fixed-wing airbase. Since then, the first fleet of approximately 97 H-60 helicopters is being expanded to more than twice that size, to more than 200.
These H-60 helicopters are inherently dangerous, heavy air polluters, and extremely noisy. More helos, means more flights, which means more air pollution, noise pollution, and potential risk for accidents. We do not mind that the helo fleet is growing, just that this growing fleet continues to fly over our homes, neighbors, and children.
The flight path they currently navigate, known as the "PAR-ASR Runway 29 Radar Approach," (shown to the right) takes these aircraft directly over neighborhood homes, residential towers, the Hotel Del, and Coronado's hugely popular waterfront.
The longer these aircraft stay on this route, the longer they are flying directly over our houses, our neighbors, tourists on the beach, and much more. Although there are safer routes available today, this potentially dangerous route is still mainly used today.
Runway 29 - Current Flight Path
Already in existence is a flight path known as the "Interfacility Flight Routes," (shown below) specifically designed for the arrivals and departures of these helicopters. The use of these alternative flight paths will not only mitigate accident concerns in highly populated areas, but will also dramatically reduce air and noise pollution.
Interfacility Flight Routes
Another existing alternative is the so-called "Hotel Visual Overhead Runway 29 Approach" (shown below). The use of either of these alternatives would change the flight path of the H-60s away from the shoreline and residences, reducing noise and pollution, and the serious concern of devastating accidents.
Hotel Visual & Overhead Runway 29
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