Volume 22, Number 32 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 18 - 24, 2009
fuels concern Downtown
The city is putting a 4,000-gallon fuel tank at the Downtown Heliport sometime next year.
The goal is to reduce the number of flights from the heliport, as helicopters go elsewhere to refuel. About 10 percent of the heliport’s flights are solely for refueling, which causes unnecessary noise for the community, said Janel Patterson, spokesperson for the E.D.C.
The tank will be above ground, adjacent to the parking area inside the heliport fence at South St. near Broad St. Patterson said in an e-mail that the tank was designed in consultation with F.D.N.Y. to withstand vehicle and aircraft impacts, along with hurricanes, floods, fires and tornadoes. It will also be protected by bollards.
Still, some Financial District residents are worried that the tank could become a terrorist target and want the city to more thoroughly screen the cars that will be parking nearby. The E.D.C. will make a second presentation to Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee next month to address those concerns.
The fuel tank installation is part of a $640 million renovation of the heliport by operator Saker Aviation (formerly FirstFlight). The current location of the terminal flight operations room prevents staff from seeing the entire area around the heliport, but after the renovation they will have an unobstructed 180-degree view, Patterson said.
Downtown Heliport serves corporate, sightseeing, government and emergency flights. Service to local airports has been suspended since earlier this fall because of operator U.S. Helicopter’s financial problems. The New York Times reported that Saker Aviation is having problems as well, but Patterson said the E.D.C. is not concerned.
— Julie Shapiro