Your Views for April 10

Defeated by helicopters

I live in Fern Acres subdivision. I’ve lived here, this time, for just more than three years now.


I used to live in “the Acres” more than10 years ago, for 20 years, but left in 2005 for other pastures. I don’t recall the helicopters being an issue back then, but I think I just wasn’t in their flight path, so I didn’t hear them really.

I’m retired from the state and am a disabled vet. My disability is PTSD, and the Veterans Administration deemed it severe enough to give me a 100 rating. About four years ago, I wanted — needed, actually — to leave Hilo town to get away from the loud and constant sounds of ambulances, neighbors fighting, music and partying, and loud muffler noises up and down the street I was living on. So, I thought I’d buy another place in the forest.

But I couldn’t afford to buy back my old place, and could only afford a small place in the very back of the subdivision — right under the flight path of the tour helicopters. Had I known, I wouldn’t have bought this place. Shouldn’t it have been in the purchase disclosure? I would think that little fact would have as much weight as a leaking roof? Maybe not.

So for the past three years, when I’m home, I can hear them coming from miles away.

At first I would take pictures, then video with my small camera, or when I didn’t have a camera handy, I would run out on the yard and flip them off! I figured maybe the tourists would be offended and complain, or take pictures and post them.

I had more than 400 videos and pictures. Some showed how low they would fly over my home. I could see the pilot’s face and the tourists behind him. They would fly so low, right over the trees, and turn to give the passengers a better view — of how a local lives in the forest. How dare they?! What utter gall!

Giving tours of my private property, shouldn’t I at least be paid a tour fee? Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen.

I’ve already had to stop typing this six times to run outside and take more video of them flying right over my home. As I said, I can hear them coming from miles away. That loud, grating, obnoxious noise imposing itself on my peace and quiet does not help my PTSD. Usually, I just take another pill.

I read about the local politicians effort to get the Federal Aviation Administration involved, but, having grown up through the “Good Ol’ Boys” days, I don’t have much faith in it doing any good. It seems that when there are actually good changes proposed for the residents — the locals — it usually takes 10-20 years, at least. And I’ve no doubt that the tour companies are going to get that tax deferment they requested.

Well, I give up. I surrender. I can’t keep living here listening to them flying right over my home. Almost every day. Except when it’s pouring rain, or the wind is too strong, or during a lava flow and a “no fly” situation is declared.

Step out on an absolutely beautiful blue-sky morning — ahhh! Then, here they come, right over my home again. And I have to take another pill and leave or I’d be in anger and frustration all day. But then, I have to come back. I just can’t keep taking more meds to alleviate the “stuff” I feel every time they fly right over my home. I shouldn’t have to.

I, and all the other people unfortunate enough to be under their thumb, should be afforded the common courtesy and respect we are all due. And when there was an outcry, “they” should have considered us. But their love of money outweighs simple human decency. I would call them “soulless.”

I will tell the potential buyers the truth — that this home they are considering buying is under the flight path of the helicopter tours. And, hopefully, the new buyers work weekdays and won’t be home anyway. But I’ll have to tell them that they fly weekends, too. If, I do sell this place, I might move to Japan. Because it’s in their DNA to be courteous, considerate and respectful of their neighbors.

I give up. And I can only hope to sell this place, sooner than later.

You win, helicopter companies!


J. Vasconcellos

Fern Acres

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