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helicopterOver the last few years the number of helicopter flights over our suburb has increased dramatically. Three helicopter tour operators operate out of a helipad next to the V&A. Short flips from the V&A along Sea Point and around Camps Bay are priced at an attractive level. With a weak rand, a steady increase in tourist numbers and easy access from the V&A, business has been good for the operators. At some periods we have recorded up to twenty flights per hour over Green Point.

But we think these sight-seeing trips are non-essential, noisy, dirty and dangerous. They benefit a few at the expense of a great many. Over a large part of the suburb it is often quite impossible to stand outside on an otherwise peaceful day and hold a normal conversation. We are also concerned for the safety of residents on the ground: helicopter accidents are not uncommon: in a cursory search of CAA accident reports we found six reports involving craft operating out of the V&A or flying past that resulted in damage to or complete destruction of the helicopter. Helicopters also burn a great deal of fuel: pumping so much unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere (up to 1.5 tons of CO2 per day) is not compatible with Cape Town’s goal to build a sustainable city.

The industry is largely self-regulating within guidelines that the CAA sets down; there is no impartial authority to effectively police adherence nor to adjudicate these guidelines. Are these guidelines appropriate for a busy air space, contested by growing number of helicopters, fixed wing planes, aircraft towing advertising banners, recreational pilots, and para-gliders?

Following a meeting in 2014, it has been agreed that the GPRRA and the V&A will monitor helicopter flights creating a disturbance in our area with a view to taking appropriate action against the relevant helicopter operator.

The GPRRA would like to hear from residents to understand how many are affected by these flights. How you feel about them and what impact do they have on your area? Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a comment on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/watchGP.