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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FAA Says No to New Rules to Limit Helicopter Noise

• Agency Suggests Voluntary Measures


The Federal Aviation Administration released a report recently providing recommendations for reducing helicopter noise in Los Angeles, but did not offer any hope of setting up new regulations.
The report offered suggestions such as evaluation and modification of existing helicopter routes to determine if the choppers could safely travel over less inhabited terrain, research whether helicopters might safely travel at higher altitudes, develop voluntary best practices for hovering and news-gathering, do outreach to helicopter  pilots to make them aware of community concerns.
The report indicated with Los Angeles County having the world's most complex, congested air spaces the regulations “would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to develop.”
The report went on to state that the “most satisfactory and widely accepted noise abatement measures are those that have been collectively discussed by engaged stakeholders and the FAA at a local level and are supported by local consensus The Malibu City Council had recently voted unanimously to support what is called the Los Angeles Residential Noise Relief Act of 2013.
A helicopter pilot who works for the local media and attended the council meeting said they have already voluntarily changed some habits such as hovering.
“We stopped that practice. We represent a small portion of the noise. We hear complaints of police helicopters. They are out there for a reason. So fire and the Coast Guard,” he said.
The chopper pilot said civil aircraft including the flying paparazzi are the culprits.
Residents in Malibu and many other neighborhoods throughout the county have been dealing with the noise disturbance caused by the low flying copters for many years.
Everyone is quick to point out how helicopters can provide a tremendous benefit when used by health officials or law enforcement.
However, the growing use of the flying devices for such activities as sightseeing, area tours, filming and papaprazzi has caused what some call an “unacceptable intrusion” on the quality of life for local residents due to copter traffic.
Unlike airplane traffic, helicopters are not currently regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration or any other agency, according to city officials.
House Resolution 456 introduced by Malibu Congressmember Henry Waxman along with Representative Adam Schiff, Janice Hahn and Brad Sherman, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced Senate Bill 208.
The measures would direct the FAA to develop regulations for helicopter operations in Los Angeles County that would include requirements relating to flight paths and altitudes in order to reduce helicopter noise, pollution and increased safety in residential areas.