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Helistop flight path over ring and foal & mare pasture

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  • Helistop flight path over ring and foal & mare pasture

    Yikes!! Panic time!!! We have had a horse breeding farm in Fauquier County Virignia for over 30 years and now a relatively new neighbor (built house in the late 90s) wants to put in a heliport!!!!! The reason?? Well so they don't have to drive to Northern Virginia because of the traffic, they can helicopter it instead!!! They only have 10 acres and the heliport would be next to the scenic by way of Leeds Manor Road. The flight path will be right over my pasture with mares and foals and infoal mares!!

    Now my horses panic in thunderstorms so we are always very careful to watch the weather to make sure they are in during times of storms. The people wanting the heliport do not want any restrictions and do not want to have to notify anyone when they are using it.

    Those of us with horses are absolutely sick!!! This is going before the Board of Zoning Appeals next week and we are wondering how in the world can we fight this inappropriate infringment of our propery. Anyone have any possible ideas???? No, our attorney can't take it, too busy and not enough time.
    Last edited by talloaks; Apr. 27, 2007, 10:25 PM.
    http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill

  • #2
    One of the neighbors has a heliport behind my barn. Initially, our horses cared, but now they don't bat an eye at the helicopter taking off & landing (mares, geldings & foals alike). Either find a way to stop them legally or suck it up & deal. It is their property & they can do what they please. I personally think it's good for them to be exposed to that kind of stuff. Emergency crews have also had to land a helicopter several times due to accidents in the road directly in front of the barn. They are very, very low over the horses & the horses don't mind.


    • #3
      Just ask them in the nicest way possible to let you know the first 10 times it's going to be used, that you have mares and foals, and will need to watch them the first few times until they become acclimated.

      Believe me, this is NOT the end of the world. Not only do I have fighter jet sflying over my present farm so low sometimes they set off the driveway alarm (and never any warning - can't understand why the Navy doesn't check in with me first ) the mares, and yearlings and two yo don't even look up anymore.

      What more, I've had to have a copter land on this very farm without enough warning to get the horses in....twice. There was a little snorting, and some trotting, but it was no deal.
      "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin


      • #4
        Not sure how your legal system works & Im sure its way different to NZ.
        I know some people (they had broodmares also) who had the same problem & they went to the district council & got regulations put on them such as no flying over their property whilst they land/take off etc.
        But really there was not much else they could enforce.

        I know its no help but their horses did get used to the choppers though.

        My Dad is a helicopter pilot & when I was a kid my ponies were pretty much bomb proof after having the chopper become a part of daily life.

        Actually my Dad called in the other day in the chopper & landed in the paddock next to my horses (who havn't had that experience before) & they just stood there & looked! One pranced around & snorted but the others didn't really care, this is including my 4 month old filly.

        Not really helping you I know! But just thought I'd share, you may be suprized with how they deal with it.
        Last edited by Dark Horse; Apr. 25, 2007, 11:36 PM. Reason: Spelling


        • Original Poster

          Flying over head is one thing since we are in one of the flight paths to Dulles, and often times the helicopters fly from the CIA training center but they all always very high in altitude. Landing and taking off will be over my big pasture with the elevation same as the heliport. This is a residental subdivision with various lots sizes from 5 to 22 and we just happen to own two lots, did own four until recently. The helicopter has flown at treetop but my horses were stabled at the time. I am really not comfortable with this occurance to be any time of the night or day~~oh yes, with night lights at the helistop!!
          http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill


          • #6
            I am surprised this is legal actually in a residential area. How intrusive to all your neighbors. Can the neighbors all ban together to fight the noise and light pollution through the legal system?

            We did have a helicoptor with a very long saw come through and clear the power lines on my property. I have some TBs that I thought wouldn't deal but they did fine. The helicoptor came very very low and the saw was very loud.
            Ladybug Hill--Hunters and Ponies
            WWSD? (what would Suerte do?)


            • #7
              Not sure that you can do anything if its within county bylaws...

              We have a private airstrip across the road from us, and they fly small props, war plane lookalikes, have competitions throughout the summer etc., and I swear they zoom down and clip the tops of the trees outside of our paddocks, the horses don't even bat an eyelid anymore.

              Now the hot air balloons landing in the field are quite another story! That noise is VERY SCARY

              Good Luck!


              • #8
                Talloaks will correct me, but I believe it's zoned A-10 not R-1.
                "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin


                • #9
                  Depends on your state but Heliports and private airstrips have to be approved by both the State and the FAA. Usually local approvals are required as well.

                  We've had small planes using a nearby air strip - now closed and we have corporate jets and helicopters as well as military over our farm here in NJ and it doesn't bother the horses.

                  What DOES bother them is the hot air balloons.
                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                  • #10
                    We have had a medovac helicopter land IN the field with 25 horses in it. They did go to the far corner at first, but then a few ventured closer, and THEN my worry was that the stupid horses would want to play with it. Curiouser, and Curiouser! We stood guard and were prepared to shoo!

                    Years ago, we had hot air baloons come over each evening. Got to see some fancy movement. No one went crazy though. I wish they would still come over, but I have not seen them for 15 years.


                    • #11
                      We actually lease our property FROM the airport, so our place literally starts at the end of the runway. We have private jets flying over us, incredibly loud old planes (like WWII fighter planes), helicoptors, weird military aircraft, weirder experimental aircraft (why you'd want to fly in something termed "experimental" I'll never know), the planes that fly those lame banners ("Congratulations Junior for Graduation from 6th Grade! Love Mom and Dad!")...oh, and did I mention the frickin' BLIMPS??

                      This is not a private airstrip, this is a large city airport. So I think I got ya'll beat!! But amazingly, the horses don't seem to care. Even the new horses come in and don't seem to mind. Occasionally a new horse will come in and maybe spook a couple times if a plane is low and loud (might be a Pterodactyl!). But I've never had one take more than a couple of days to become blase about it. And seriously, most of them aren't bothered by it from day one.

                      It makes for an incredibly bomb proof horse. Our arena is right at the end of the runway. A jet idling down at the end, or a loud plane doing touch-and-gos might annoy ME but the horse will be all, Ho hum.

                      And, for some reason, they also become bomb proofed to loud trucks and generators. I guess once they learn that loud engines won't hurt them, all loud engines go into the same category.

                      And it's not like these are dead head, seen it all horses. We get horses right off the racetrack and from fancy show barns for layups, weanlings, nervous maiden mares with foals--doesn't seem to bother them.

                      It could be partly because they take their cue from the horses that are already here. If nobody else spooks maybe it's not scary?

                      Anyway, to make a long story short (oh, too late!), I think the horses will be fine with it. And I like the suggestion to ask the owners if they will let you know the first 10 times they take off or land. Then you can make sure nobody is panicking.


                      • #12
                        I spent the first 11 years of my racing career at Penn National in PA. There is a national guard base right next door. You wouldn't believe some of the things they did while playing their war games. They were forever flying something overhead and taking off and landing, but that was nothing. They had F-15 dog fights where they chased each other and dove up and down all over the place. They were forever blowing something up, they had some "bombs" that lit up the whole side of the mountain like it was daylight.....while the races were going on! They shot some kind of gun off that sounded like a gigantic burp etc. Long story short in my 11 years I never saw one horse so much as bat an eye at any of it. Just think of it as more bombproofing.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home


                        • #13
                          I would say the same thing about the noise and what not... we had our horses kept for a short time at an Army training base with all the helicopters and CANNONS, thats always nice, and no the military isn't really big on asking your opinion or letting you know when! My horses showed some really nice moves (that I have yet to see since!) but it truly is bomb-proofing, not that it helps =)

                          I would agree with the other poster about just asking for help, notice and understanding in the beginning.


                          • #14
                            Tall Oaks--I have been at two horse shows--one a hunter show and the other a Pony Club rally, both with hundreds of horses--when medivac helicopters have had to land literally only about 50 yards from where the horses were all standing. No horses even got upset. I am sure yours will get used to it.


                            • #15
                              I'm so sorry Talloaks. Personally, I gave up a lot to live in more peaceful surroundings and sure wouldn't want a helicoptor taking off and landing over my head, never mind the horses'. Could you threaten to sell your horse farm to a, um, factory hog farmer?


                              • #16
                                Believe it or not, the exposure to the chopper will be good for them in the long run! Your horses and ponies will be unflappable! You would be better off trying to play nice with your neighbors, as opposed to trying to "stop" them.
                                Collector of fine ponies.

                                In loving memory of Mr.Zipp 3-25-72 / 11-4-08


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by mairzeadoats View Post
                                  I'm so sorry Talloaks. Personally, I gave up a lot to live in more peaceful surroundings and sure wouldn't want a helicoptor taking off and landing over my head, never mind the horses'. Could you threaten to sell your horse farm to a, um, factory hog farmer?
                                  Ha Ha that is funny!! Our land is in a subdivision (400 acre farm) that was deeded in 1974 and has covenants and restrictions which prohibit hogs!!! Guess they didn't think ahead to private helicopters!!
                                  http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by talloaks View Post
                                    Ha Ha that is funny!! Our land is in a subdivision (400 acre farm) that was deeded in 1974 and has covenants and restrictions which prohibit hogs!!! Guess they didn't think ahead to private helicopters!!
                                    Hmmm, well all may not be lost. I distinctly remember reading, while researching real estate, that convenants generally run out after 20 years and are very hard to enforce anyway. Of course, if all else fails you could threaten to sell to a factory camel, lama, goat and donkey farmer instead...or maybe just to fertilize with chicken manure. Now THAT ought to get their attention. I remember my last year or so down in Mass, a well known local farmer spread fertilizer. The entire town stank so bad the town got tired of the complaint calls and ran an article in the newspaper explaining what the smell was, what the farmer did to reduce the odor and how long we'd be holding our noses!


                                    • #19
                                      We have a base not too far away. I've seen 3 big Chinook helicopters flying fairly low overhead and the horses usually run over and look up to watch them. As said, they probably won't react nearly as hysterically as you and it will make them bomb proof.
                                      Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                                      Now apparently completely invisible!


                                      • #20
                                        They'll get used to it. But I'd try to ask those folks for a "heads up" the first few times so you are not in a small paddock with a loose horse or trying to lead a youngster in. The wider open the fields they have during the initial experience the safer it will be for all.

                                        Darlyn...oh yea. I remember the hot air balloons! I think they took off from Gainesville and crossed my farm (near Pageland) then headed up Rt 15.

                                        My original barn by the house was hilly and wooded. I could barely hear it before it was upon me. While I'm waving them off, the decided to "come down close" to watch me feed my horses as they were coming into the barn from a small enclosure. The horses were loose and I was amongst them...obviously I survived (grin) but it was pretty hairy.
                                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube