A new attraction at the York Fair is creating a lot of buzz, both literally and figuratively.
Helicopter rides at the fair are really taking off, but some people who live near the fairgrounds say they’re suffering because of it.
Kaemon, 2, loves to play in his West York yard. But since the York Fair kicked off Friday, his mom says playing outside or even inside has been tough. Ashley Stahle says the helicopters taking fair attendees on high-flying tours are disturbing the peace. Stahle said over the weekend, the helicopters flew too frequently, too low and too late in the evening.
“It’ll shake the windows or the door frames, but it’s just the vibrations, you can feel it,” she said. “Kind of like a tremor.”
But it’s her son Kaemon, who is autistic, who has the most difficulty with it.
“He covers his ears and runs and hides and scream for about 15 minutes it took us to calm him down every time it did that,” she said.
The owners of East Coast Helicopters, which runs the tours, say they’ve heard neighbors’ concerns and have made changes as a result.
“We try to stay high. We try not to fly too late,” said Tyler Sigel, co-owner of East Coast Helicopters. “Last night we shut down an hour early and we’re just really trying to be neighborly and help out.”
Sigel said his pilots are also trying to avoid flying over the same houses, but it’s difficult because the FAA and DOT approve where they can fly.
Judging by the numbers, it’s clear the noise isn’t keeping people away from the attraction or the rest of the fair.
“We had over an hour wait each day,” Sigel said. “We’ve had to bring in two helicopters in and fly just to try and get the line down.”
“I’m sure for the people that are flying, that it’s awesome,” Stahle said. “But for us, who live around here, it’s not fun.”
The president of the York Fair said he has gotten a handful of complaints Sunday and Monday, but that the majority of feedback about the helicopter rides has been overwhelmingly positive.