You can report noisy helicopters in New York City.

Airspace is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), though much of the airspace over New York City is uncontrolled. This means that helicopters operate under visual flight rules and are not under the direct control of air traffic.

Helicopter flights over the City may originate from various airports, heliports, or helipads within the tri-state area and may be destined to any of these various airports, heliports or helipads.

The purpose of a specific helicopter flight may not be immediately apparent from ground level, but may be classified as:

  • Charter, tour, or sightseeing
  • Government
  • Filming
  • News gathering
  • Emergency flight

The City developed the permitted tour flight routes from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH) by way of the NYC Helicopter Sightseeing Plan.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) developed the plan in cooperation with the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council and local tour operators. This plan addresses concerns from the local community and elected officials about the impact of helicopter sightseeing flights from the DMH on surrounding neighborhoods.

The NYCEDC tracks tourist helicopters that originate out of the DMH for compliance with the plan but doesn't address concerns from tour flights that come from locations outside of New York City. The City does not have the authority to regulate tour flights that originate outside of NYC.

Hours of Operation

Tourist helicopters departing from City heliports may operate Monday to Saturday, 9 AM to 7 PM.

Approved Routes

Tour or sightseeing flights are defined as Point A to Point A. These flights may originate from a number of airports, heliports, or helipads around the tri-state area for the purpose of viewing the city skyline.

Only one heliport in NYC, the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH), is permitted to allow tour flights from its facilities. All sightseeing helicopters must depart and approach the DMH from the south, maximizing aircraft distances from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Helicopters will then follow the center of the Hudson River north to either 79th Street, or Yankee Stadium, before returning south center-west of the Hudson River.

All flights will fly over the Hudson River at 1,500 feet or above to reduce noise, barring any Federal Aviation Administration restrictions.

Tour flights that originate outside of the DMH or outside of NYC are not required to follow the approved tour flight routes and may legally fly over land.

The New York City Economic Development Council (NYCEDC) tracks tourist helicopters that originate from New York City for compliance with the NYC Helicopter Sightseeing Plan.

They don't have any oversight over NYPD, news, or filming helicopters.

What You Can Report

You can report a noisy sightseeing helicopter that is:

  • Flying too low
  • Hovering
  • Passing by on unapproved tour routes

What You Need

To help the City review the complaint and identify the origin or purpose of the flight, please include:

  • Approximate location of the helicopter, such as cross streets, or adjacent streets if over a body of water
  • Approximate time you saw the helicopter
  • Make or color
  • Photos

Law enforcement or news gathering helicopters are not subject to the routing protocols established for tour helicopters.

Helicopter tours originating from outside NYC are also not subject to the same City regulations as tours departing from heliports managed by the New York City Economic Development Council (NYCEDC).

Any City regulation of these flights is pre-empted by federal law and subject only to the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You can report a noisy helicopter that isn’t under the City’s jurisdiction with the FAA.

Report a noisy helicopter to the FAA.