The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits mandated restrictions of flight paths, hours of operation, and unduly prohibition of open access to airports. The only exception is for airports which had restrictions in place prior to a 1990s congressional act. Therefore, our noise abatement program can only be voluntary. Martha’s Vineyard Airport is prohibited by federal law from levying fines, restricting hours of operation, or restricting access to the airport (or the route by which an aircraft has access to the airport) to aid with noise abatement. We must rely solely on the continual notification, education, and compliance of aircraft operators. Noise abatement is dictated by safety considerations as well as federal law.
Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 91.119, Minimum safe altitudes, prohibits low flying except under the following conditions:
“Sec. 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General. Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle with a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft. (c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. (d) Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.”
Martha’s Vineyard Airport works with our pilots on a voluntary basis to abate and mitigate noise issues as much as possible. If you have a specific issue or concern please let us know so we can address it. Please utilize our Online Complaint Form.
-Helicopters generally fly under visual flight rules (VFR), where they are not under control of Air Traffic Control (ATC) resulting in ATC not controlling where the helicopter flies. (helicopters are under control of ATC when in the airport’s traffic pattern).
– If you believe the helicopter is flying unsafely, then this is an issue for your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/bos/local_more/media/lowfly.pdf
Med-Flight or United States Coast Guard aircraft routinely transport patients from Martha’s Vineyard to area hospitals on the mainland any hour day or night. These helicopters may fly directly to Martha’s Vineyard airport for patient transport or depending on weather conditions or patient condition fly directly to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Helipad. During some conditions the helicopter may land at the hospital and drop off its medical crew and transition to the airport for fueling and then return to the hospital. https://www.bostonmedflight.org/medical-helicopter-transport/
Military Aircraft Noise:
The FAA does not have the authority to regulate the operations of military aircraft. If you live near a military installation, you should try contacting their noise office or community relations department for more information on their operations in your community. https://www. 104fw.ang.af.mil