Far left: The Boardwalk with helicopter on deck, parked closely to other boats and congested restaurants.
June 12, 2015- By Steven E. Greer
I was informed yesterday by someone at the WFC that the helicopter aboard the yacht Boardwalk actually took off and landed right from the marina. They have video, which we are trying to obtain.
The importance of this indecent did not strike me right away. However, this is a serious development for the community. Not only is this extremely unsafe, with helicopters having a very high crash rate compared to fixed wing planes, but this could become a pattern for more tourist helicopter using the marina as a heliport, aggravating the existing tourist helicopter noise problem.
I did some investigating. The Boardwalk is owned by Tilman Fertitta, according to the website Yachting. He owns the Golden Nugget Casino, Bubba Gump and Morton’s restaurants, among other properties of his Landry’s Restaurant empire.
A source who is a senior official in the federal government with experience in law enforcement told us that it is illegal for helicopters to land on park property. The North Cove Marina is a public park.
A source from an FAA hotline explained that the flight zones around the waterways of New York City are “free fly zones”, meaning that flight patterns are not required if they stay under certain altitudes. However, the landing pads have to be approved. They could not tell us more about whether a yacht is an approved landing pad.
An NYPD sergeant explained, “That is very illegal. We will look into it.”. Also, NYPD’s First Precinct Community Affairs later explained, “This has been assigned to Federal Aviation Administration and is under investigation by the FAA’s Farmingdale, NY office. Will keep you posted.”.
A local blog reported, “Melissa Coley, a spokesman for Brookfield Properties, the operator of North Cove Marina, said of the Thursday morning incident, “we can confirm that it did take place and it was cleared by the FAA. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that it does not happen again.”
A BPCA spokesman said, “we have confirmed that there was an FAA-cleared departure by a helicopter from a boat docked in the Marina earlier today. This occurred in error as our marina guidelines clearly state that such activity is prohibited. No property damage or injuries occurred during the take off. Brookfield has confirmed to us that it will not happen again.””.