Helicopter landings on the Waiawa Ridge (across Pacific Palisades)

Helicopters landings on Waiawa Ridge which is only half a mile away from the homes (Kamehameha Schools owned land) is located across the quiet Pacific Palisades hills in Pearl City. It’s noisy, annoying, and there is no permits for it.

Let me introduce myself. I have been a home owner in Peal City Hawaii in the quiet hills of Pacific Palisades for many years. I’ve started this web site to express my concern for our neighborhood. These helicopter companies takes advantage of the local people and the nice and quiet local communities.

So far, the touch and go (littering the skies) commercial helicopter companies has stopped their illegal landings.
It’s been very quiet and peaceful.
Since posting this website, announcing it on nextdoor.com, help from council member Mr. Elefante’s office, meeting with the Pearl City Neighborhood Board and Kamehameha Schools addressing this issue, all commercial activity has stopped, though the HFD still occasionally trains close to our homes.
It took a lot of effort but worth it, I’ve gotten positive comments from my neighbors.
I’d like to shout out a big “Mahalo” to everyone that helped and supported me to finally resolve this ongoing problem!

Recently, I’ve been working from home for the federal government. Since working from home, I’ve experienced a lot of noise from helicopter flyovers and landings in our quiet neighborhood. It’s almost like an airport at times and very annoying. They land in a clearing on Waiawa Ridge across Pacific Palisades hills which is only about half a mile away. This land is owned by Kamehameha Schools and far as they know there isn’t any permits for any aircraft to land there. Secondly, the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) considers this land as AG-1 Restricted Agricultural District and the State Land Use Agricultural District and there are no records of anyone applying for a permit (DPP Document). Lastly, from what I read on the DPP document there should be a landing pad or a helistop available for helicopters. Though without permits, since its a flat space, it seems to be perfect for the helicopters to land as they wish.

Don’t get me wrong, my whole approach here isn’t to stop them from entirely flying there. They just need to have a permit to legally land, though will that stop them from flying there if they can’t land? Possibly?

Distance from the landings to the homes are only 810 meters or 1/2 a mile away.

These helicopters circle around and around and do their touch and go’s many times. Luckily with a zoom lens I can get those tail numbers.

I’ve been taking photos for over a year and captured a wide variety of helicopters from the private sector to the HFD and HPD.

After taking these photos, I then zoom in on the photos and look up the tail numbers. (I will include all this research and information in my blogs) Sometimes it takes photoshop to enhance the numbers to see them.

After getting those number I look them up here: Aircraft Inquiry. Then log them on my spreadsheet.

To find out why they land there I tried various ways to approach this issue. Lots of investigating.

  1. Contacted FAA, 7-AWP-HNL-FSDO (FAA) they gave me the same ole jargon.

(Helicopters are to follow 14 CFR Part 91. 119 per (d) (1) – Helicopters may go lower than the prescribed altitude – if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property –) Though they did mention to get with the land owner which gave me an idea

I did some research of where the landing location was on google maps and used MS powerpoint to draw an flying path to route around.

2. I contacted the helicopter companies directly by phone and email (their tail numbers and flight path above) to KINDLY ask them to please stop practicing in this area because of the noise (this was the wrong approach, but I did this before I contacted Kamehameha Schools (KS) – land owner). Why was this the wrong approach, well according to the FAA the flight path is fine and the height is according to the FAA standards. Anyway, here are some responses I received from these companies I called.

  • Mauna Loa Helicopters – “Yes they will stop flying there, she (Tracy manager) will inform the pilots since” Result: It stopped for a while but continued.
  • Magnum helicopter – (Per media manager) “Contact the FAA they were told to fly there.”
  • Copper Dr. – (Ryan) “Where else can we fly, there are limited areas and we don’t want accidents.”

After contacting the FAA that sparked the thought of contacting the land owner, I contacted the DBEDT and they wrote this:

10.28.21 –“Based on the map and pictures you provided it appears that this is part of a larger parcel owned by Kamehameha Schools (Tax Map Key No. 9-6-005:001). The lower portions of this very large parcel were reclassified to the State Urban District back in the 1980’s as part of the proposed Gentry Waiawa project that has not been developed. This upper portion of the parcel was not reclassified and is within the State Agricultural District. The use of the area for helicopter landings would appear to require a permit from the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP).

I would recommend contacting DPP and inquiring as to whether such a permit is required in the State Agricultural District where it is County zoned AG-1. And, if such a permit is required – do they have any record of such a permit being approved for that activity at that location.

We hope this is helpful to you in seeking answers to your questions. Aloha”

With no idea as to whom to contact at Kamehameha School, I contacted Gentry Homes since this was where the Waiawa community was going to be built but put on hold.

They wrote to me this reply:

10.29.21- “After consulting with our Engineering and Site Development Dept., we have learned that we do not own any property in the Waiawa area. Several years ago we did have the “option to purchase” when we were in talks with Kamehameha Schools for development of the Waiawa Ridge area, which did not pan out. To be sure, they decided to confirm this with our Accounting Department as they would have likely been paying property tax if we did own any property in Waiawa; and Accounting has confirmed that we do not pay property taxes or own any land in Waiawa.”

They also provided the following info:

“As noted by the DBEDT personnel, DPP should be able to confirm if a permit is required and if one was issued for that parcel for that purpose.

Maybe the Councilmember in that district, Mr. Brandon Elefante, would be a source he could express his concerns to. Just a thought.

Yes! So this is how I finally got to contact Councilmember Mr. Elefante. His name was also on the key map.

I wrote to Mr. Elefante and his office about this and he personally and replied with this message:

9.29.21- “Thank you for writing to me to share these concerns about the helicopter noise in your neighborhood. I’m sorry to hear about what you have been experiencing recently. The Pearl City Neighborhood Board has also shared similar concerns as well in the Palisades area. I appreciate you taking the time to do further research on this issue.

Just to clarify, while the Tax Map Key (TMK) lists my name, I’m not the owner of the parcel. It’s just has my name because it’s in the Council District I represent.

We will further look into this issue to find out more information and if it’s a permitted use/landing area. I’ve copied my Pearl City staff member liaison, in this email to follow up and apprise of you of updates.”

And this is why HE’S GOT MY VOTE! So I now have finally some help from above. Sooner than later his liaison from District 8 writes back:

9.30.21 –“Our office has submitted a formal Request for Investigation and Service Report (RISR) to answer your questions and address your concerns.  It generally takes between four to six weeks to receive a RISR response from the Administration.  We will keep you apprised of any updates.”

After about a month went by, I receive this email:

10.25.21 – “Our office just received the attached response from the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP).  As recommended by DPP, we have also just emailed the landowners, Bishop Estate and DLNR, requesting additional information about the helicopter activities.  We’ll let you know as soon as we hear back from the landowners.”

Click here for DPPs response.

During this investigation KS (Kamehameha Schools) also received and email from Council District 8. This is KS reply after some investigating:

10.28.21- FROM AG/CONSERVATION LANDS TEAM (C&AR, Community & ‘Āina Resources Group):

·         We are not aware of KS having any agreement with a helicopter company to use our parcel [TMK No. (1) 9-6-005:001] for regular landings.

·         We are also not aware of any utility company needing to utilize this specific parcel for helicopter landings.

·         We do have conservation partners that we work with that on occasion may use helicopters to transport materials and staff to our upper lands because access by foot isn’t possible.  Those transports do NOT utilize the subject parcel because it is miles makai of the areas that they are working on.

·         We believe that these helicopter companies may be illegally utilizing KS lands (i.e., trespassing).

·         C&AR is willing to investigate this matter further by:

o   Contacting the constituent who has reached out;

o   Obtaining any information the constituent is willing to share:

  • Dates/Times when the helicopters have landed on our parcel;
  •   Pictures of the helicopter and the tail numbers; and,
  •   Any other pertinent information.

o   Checking with FAA about the flight plans for these helicopter companies.

o   Issuing a Stop and Desist letter, if appropriate, to these helicopter companies for their illegal use of KS lands.

I’ll wait to see where everything falls with this, but just know that we’re ready to reach out to the constituent.

As soon as I hear back about their investigation, I’ll get back to you all. Mahalo nui for bringing this to our attention. Please thank Warren, as well, and let him know that someone will be contacting him. Please let me know if you have any further concerns, suggestions or thoughts.

Aloha.

So after all it is illegal for these helicopter to land on Waiawa Ridge.

11.8.21- KS finally contacted me and I’ve overnight them 2 DVDs with over 200 images, tail numbers and companies, a video and flight pattern.

Their response a week later after an emailed to him:

11.22.21 – “Yes – I received the discs and all I can say is WOW….

I’ve started the inquiry as follows:

  1. Working with the FAA on flight logs (they’ve informed me it will take them some time to compile)
  2. Working with the Airport Fire Station (where HFD flies from)
  3. Sent emails to 2 other local helicopter operators to see if they’ve performed contracted work or can provide any clarity on operations on our KS lands.

I will let you know what I find and how we proceed.  Should you have questions, please let me know.

Mahalo for reading this blog!

Mauna Loa Helicopters flies the most at that location.

Please sign this petition to keep the helicopters off of Waiawa Ridge

Email me

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