We hear them. We see them. We try to identify them by their distinctive colors and markings. With increased operations from helicopters, Bay Area skies can seem like a very busy place. So what are these helicopters doing and why? We’d like to explain.
SQL and HAF support a large variety of emergency, public safety and public-utility helicopters, either as a home base, or for fueling, maintenance and other essential needs.
Emergency and public safety providers using both airports to train or respond include the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, United States Coast Guard, Disaster Airlift Response, CalFire and Medevac. Public utility providers such as PG&E often use SQL as a staging location for inspecting power lines, equipment, trees and other vegetation to reduce the risk of wildfires. The Nevada National Guard, based in Reno, is an occasional visitor to SQL for training exercises and interstate collaboration.
County of San Mateo Airports is a proud supporter of these aviation providers that protect, serve and respond to essential public needs. The airports’ team makes every effort to educate and engage with helicopter pilots about noise-sensitive neighborhoods and recommended flight paths to reduce their impact on our neighbors.