Helicopter target practice irks Denton County neighbors

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 8:05 PM

Poll:
Would you have a problem with helicopter target practice near your home?

AUBREY –– It’s a frightening sight to some Denton County neighbors: an armed gunman in a helicopter, hovering near North Texas homes. A gun range allows target practice from the air; the shooter hangs out of a helicopter, firing close to homes near Aubrey.

The neighbors say it was totally unexpected.

They looked up and saw a man in a helicopter armed with an assault rifle. A few seconds later, they heard the shots.

"It's like the ultimate video game," said Dan Claassen of Helicoptersniper.com.

But it's no game to Michael Lauer and his wife, who used their cell phone to show how their tranquil surroundings turned into what sounds like a war zone.

"The first time they were hovering right over our two acres, shooting at whatever," said Lauer. "You really didn't know were they shooting at me."

Helicoptersniper.com provides the helicopter. Big Boar Tactical supplies the gun range and targets. Their goal is to create a thrill seeking, safe adventure.

"It's not like we're endangering anybody's life with our flight patterns or our techniques," said Claassen. "Everything is totally safe in that regard."

The people who operate the helicopter say they only fly over the gun range, not the neighborhood. And they said they don't fly that often: every other week at 15 minutes per shooter.

"It's not like we're hitting this every day," said Claassen. "So it's not noise pollution. So there is no noise. It's the world safest and quietest helicopter."

The Lauers and their neighbors are worried about the possibility of ricocheting bullets. "You just know, some day, one of them is going to hit the house or do something," said Lauer.

But helicopter and gun range officials say the shooter is always aiming down at targets that are backed up by mounds of dirt.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and Denton County said the helicopter target practice is perfectly legal. The neighbors are frustrated and say they may have no choice but to go to court.

Email sstoler@wfaa.com

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