Cape Canaveral residents worry helicopter tours could disrupt peace

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —

Some residents of Cape Canaveral, in Brevard County, are worried that a plan to start a helicopter tour business will disturb the peace in their neighborhood.

Florida Biplanes and Helicopters pilot Mark Grainger disagrees.

Tuesday, he put on a test flight demonstration east of State Road A1A.

Residents weren't the only ones watching the demonstration of the four-seater Robinson R-44. The proposal has to get through planning and zoning and the City Council. Representatives from both were at the landing pad.

Grainger hopes to operate his chopper seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Resident Marlene Woodside has concerns.

"It is close. They are noisy. The second reason (is) sometimes flights have accidents. I would not want that to happen anywhere," Woodside said.

Resident Barbra Nyberg said it would be good for the area.

"So long as we could keep the noise down and keeping the helicopters from flying over our sanctuary," Nyberg said.

Ultimately, the Cape Canaveral City Council has to approve or reject the plan.

"There are other places that are probably suitable for it as well. But a residential seaside community may not be the best place," Mayor Pro Tem John Bond said.

Grainger said he would have no desire to be in any business if it wasn't safe.

"I'm a 22-year pilot. I actively fly for a major airline now. My whole life, I've been actively trained in mitigating risks and maintaining safety," Grainger said.

There's no word yet on when the City Council will take its vote.