Confusion continues surrounding whether helicopters are allowed to land in Rancho Mirage, after the city forbade the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert to land a chopper for their event. The city is saying it violates the code, but pilots seem to disagree.
Ivan Arnold, the president of JOIRIDE, claims he’s seen many helicopters land in Rancho Mirage throughout the years. So, that leads him to believe that either the city is playing favorites or not enforcing codes altogether.
“It’s kind of an open secret that wealth people can land in Rancho Mirage, but then when we try to land for an event, we are threatened,” Ivan told NBC Palm Springs.
Ivan says all he wanted to do was show his passion for flying to the future pilots of tomorrow.
“We were invited by the Children’s museum and we were very excited to show aviation to the kids.”
An excitement that was short-lived when the city told him don’t fly or else.
“The city told us that if we did land there at the Children’s museum, that they would file charges against us.”
So why is the city against landing helicopters in Rancho Mirage.
“Our code indicates that unless it is for an emergency purpose, we do not allow helicopters into the city,” Sean Smith, the Public Information Officer for Rancho Mirage added.
However, Ivan says, that’s not true.
“We see helicopters landing all over Rancho Mirage.”
He adds that Oracle Executive Chairman and billionaire Larry Ellison lands on the Porcupine Creek Golf Course regularly.
“In order to verify what you’ve just stated, I’d have to go back and look to see if we have issued any permits,” Sean told NBC Palm Springs.
A permit that, Ivan says, is the only thing standing in the way of aviation exploration and the kids.
“This would have been an opportunity to inspire young pilots and you know the city just dismissed it altogether,” said Sean.
An opportunity that will just have to wait.
“To have our hand slapped so hard…it wasn’t great.”
The city of Rancho Mirage says the museum can still have the chopper on it’s grounds. However, the only way that it will be legal is if it is trailered instead of flow in. The city also assures that no permits have been issued for helicopter landings and that they are not aware of Larry Ellison ever landing on the Porcupine Creek Golf Course.