[HISTORY: Derived from Art. I-A of Ch. VII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any contrivance now known or hereafter invented, used or designed for navigation of or flight in the air, except a parachute or other contrivance used primarily as safety equipment.
No person, firm or corporation shall fly or permit any aircraft to be flown over any part of the City at an altitude of less than 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of two miles from the aircraft, except in landing or on taking off from the waters of Lake Erie, the Niagara River or the Buffalo Harbor. Such landings or takeoffs shall be made at such minimum safe altitudes as will not endanger persons or property on the surface or other aircraft.
Helicopters, however, may be flown at less than the minimum prescribed herein and may land or take off at places of landing within the City designated as such for temporary or permanent use as hereinafter prescribed, provided that such operations are conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface or to other aircraft and without undue interference with the use of property on the surface and at an altitude which will permit an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface; and provided, further, that the Commissioner of Public Works, in the interest of safety, may prescribe specific routes and altitudes for such operations to which helicopters shall conform; and provided, further, that any person, firm or corporation desiring to land a helicopter on any site within the City not permanently designated for said purpose and for no longer than two consecutive days shall submit said request, in writing, to the Director of Licenses at least one day in advance of the date of landing. Any person, firm or corporation which lands a helicopter on any site in the City shall first submit to the Director of Licenses a certified copy of an insurance policy covering said person, firm or corporation against public liability and property damage in connection with said operation, and, in addition, the person, firm or corporation shall file with the Director of Licenses an insurance policy of public liability and property damage, in which policy the City of Buffalo is the named insured. Said policies shall be in the amounts of $5,000,000 for public liability and $1,000,000 for property damage. Certificates of said insurance policy evidencing that the above-required insurance is in effect must also be furnished before the Director of Licenses can approve said request.
The above regulations shall not apply to helicopters used directly by governmental agencies for governmental purposes.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an aircraft either on the ground, on the water or in the air within the limits of the City while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics or other habit-forming drugs or to operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of another. Violation of the standards for safe operation of aircraft prescribed by federal or state statutes or regulations shall be deemed careless or reckless operation of aircraft within the meaning of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate an aircraft within the limits of the City in any manner prohibited by any provision of or contrary to the rules and regulations of the Civil Aeronautics Administration or the Civil Aeronautics Board or the laws of the State of New York.
[Amended 7-9-2002, effective 7-23-2002]
No person shall hereafter establish a privately owned airport or make an improvement to an existing privately owned airport except by authorization of the Common Council. The term "airport" shall mean and include any landing area used regularly for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo; any landing area being used for personal or training purposes; and any locality, either of land or water, which is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, whether or not facilities are provided for shelter, servicing or repair of aircraft or for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo. The term "airport improvement" shall include extension, alteration, modification, addition to or realignment of the runway(s) of an existing airport or the modification in any way of the landing or takeoff directions at such airport.
Any person seeking to establish a privately owned airport or make an improvement to an existing privately owned airport shall file an application therefor with the Common Council, which shall contain at least the following information:
The name and address of the applicant.
Detail of the type of aviation service proposed.
The number and type of aircraft expected to be based at the airport.
Whether an instrument approach procedure will be requested for the airport.
The maximum number of daily operations and the anticipated total annual operations.
Evidence that the airport is privately owned and that all owners of the real property have consented to establishment or improvement of a privately owned airport.
One United States Geological Survey topographical map, scale one to 1:24,000, of the area proposed for the establishment or improvement of a privately owned airport.
One plan view map, scale 1:1,000, with the position of the airport indicated thereon. The airport runway(s), helipad or seaplane operational area must be plotted thereon accurately. Such map must include the direction and length of runways and seaplane operational areas. Helipads must be precisely located, with all approach and departure paths clearly indicated. The map must be sufficiently large so as to include all approach and lateral transition zones to the airport.
A copy of the favorable airspace determination issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the proposed airport establishment or improvement.
Upon receipt of the completed application, the Common Council shall forward the same to the New York State Commissioner of Transportation and adopt a resolution requesting the Commissioner to determine whether the establishment or improvement complies with the standards of the Department of Transportation pursuant to § 249 of the New York General Business Law. The application shall also be referred to the Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of Fire, Commissioner of Public Works and Director of Licenses for their review and determination whether the establishment or improvement of the privately owned airport complies with applicable codes, ordinances and public safety requirements.
Upon receipt of the determination required by this section, the Common Council shall hold a public hearing on the proposal, upon due notice, at which all interested parties shall be afforded an opportunity to present evidence and testimony.
The Common Council may grant permission to establish or improve such privately owned airport upon consideration of all information before it; provided, however, that no such permission shall be granted unless the privately owned airport is in accordance with the standards prescribed by the New York Commissioner of Transportation or unless such standards have been waived.
No privately owned airport shall hereafter be established or improved if the proposed location is within 1,500 feet of property used for residential purposes. However, this prohibition may be waived upon presentation to the Common Council of a validated petition requesting such waiver, signed by 65% or more of those persons having their residence within 1,500 feet of the proposed location or improvement. This prohibition and petition process shall not apply to facilities that are New York State certified emergency trauma centers that propose to use such airport for medical purposes only.
It shall be unlawful for any person to jump or leap from an aircraft in a parachute or any other device within the limits of the City, absent imminent danger, except as provided herein.
No person shall jump from an aircraft using a parachute or similar device as part of a parachute or skydiving exhibition unless and until said person has received from the Director of Licenses a permit authorizing the same.
Application for said permit shall be accompanied by a fee as provided in Chapter 175, Fees, which shall not be refundable.
Each person, firm or corporation applying for a permit to perform parachute or skydiving exhibitions shall furnish, along with his application, a United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization Form (FAA 7711-1) or equivalent document.
Permits for skydiving or parachute exhibitions shall not be granted unless each participating skydiver or parachutist possesses a United States Parachute Association Class C (advanced) or Class D (master) license. Proof of such license held by each prospective participant must accompany the application. In addition, the applicant shall give evidence to the Director of Licenses of at least one participant in said exhibition possessing a United States Parachute Association Class D license. In addition, adequate proof must be shown to the Director of Licenses that each named participant in said exhibition shall have completed a minimum of 450 jumps utilizing the type of parachute referred to below.
All persons participating in parachuting or skydiving exhibitions must utilize a ram-air-type main canopy.
Applications for such a permit must be accompanied by a plan filed which shows a target area no less than 200 feet from a designated spectator site and a minimum of 150 feet from the closest major obstacle as defined in the United States Parachute Association guidelines.
The proposed landing area listed in the application and used in the exhibition shall not involve the participant passing over spectators at an altitude of less than 300 feet.
Each applicant shall show proof of liability insurance covering personal injury, property damage and personal liability in an aggregate amount not less than $1,000,000. In addition, there shall be adequate proof that such insurance shall list the City of Buffalo as an additional insured and that the City of Buffalo is held harmless from any claims arising out of the proposed event, in the same aggregate limits as above.