Tactic B6.2 | Visit Sedona

Tactic B6.2

Noise Pollution - Heli Programs

Develop initiatives that monitor and moderate noise levels and intrusion of helicopter tours.

Efforts to minimize noise and intrusion of tour helicopters in Sedona are underway.

Expanded efforts would look at the possibilities of prescribing minimum altitudes and requiring route patterns, GPS tracking, and time restrictions on tour operators.

The visitor industry can help educate guests and residents about what can be done – and is being done – to address this concern in light of Sedona’s sustainability focus. 


IMPACTED PILLARS

 

TIMEFRAME Short-term (12-18 months)

LEAD PARTNERS City of Sedona, SCC&TB

SUPPORTING PARTNERS Keep Sedona Beautiful, Counties, Airport Authority, Tour Companies

ALIGNING RESEARCH Resident Survey, Nonprofit Focus Group, Land Manager Focus Group, Public Input

GOAL / STATUS TO DATE

1. Number of agreements with tour companies - GOAL = 2 / STATUS = 2
2. Benchmark noise levels - GOAL = TBD / STATUS = TBD

PROGRESS TO DATE

Heli Programs

Develop initiatives that monitor and moderate noise levels and intrusion of helicopter tours.

FY21: The SCC&TB incorporated the Fly Friendly agreement in its visitor outreach and local communications over the course of FY21 as an example of progress in implementing Sustainable Tourism Plan tactics. The SCC&TB also pitched the agreement as a story idea in the October Media Roundup newsletter, delivered to more than 750 national media figures. 

In late March, the SCC&TB Business Bulletin e-News Letter sough feedback on the impact of the agreement on quality of life and thanking the involved companies.

During Earth Month in April 2021, the SCC&TB published an updated Fly Friendly blog and landing page on VisitSedona.com and published nine social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

In late FY21, the SCC&TB organized a meeting with all Fly Friendly partners to review the agreement and discuss possible modifications, if needed. That meeting is tentatively set for the first quarter of FY22.

FY20:  In a major milestone for sustainability, on April 15, 2020, Sedona helicopter tour operators agreed to cease overflights over the entire city of Sedona of Sedona. Sedona Air Tours and Guidance Air also agreed to avoid overflights of several major resorts and neighborhoods outside the City of Sedona limits.

Other highlights of the “Fly Friendly” agreement:

  • Operators will not hover over or near sensitive archeological sites at any time during tour operations
  • Regular tour flights will occur only between 8 a.m. and dusk
  • Flight paths and altitudes will be electronically documented and archived
  • A protocol for noise complaints will be publicized
  • Operators will not hover over or near sensitive archeological sites or at any time during tour operations
  • Operators will be sensitive to the impact of noise on heritage site such as ruins and areas sacred to indigenous peoples and to neighborhoods.

The agreement is the result of 18 months of discussions between tour operators and the City of Sedona, the SCC&TB, Yavapai County, Keep Sedona Beautiful and the Sedona Airport.

The agreement was signed in January 2020, but an April announcement was postponed due to COVID-19.  The SCC&TB and City of Sedona jointly announced the agreement in June 2020. 

An accompanying map with recommended flying altitudes and no-overflight zones has been published on VisitSedona.com.