Congressman introduces Bill to curb helicopters in LA

Congressman introduces Bill to curb helicopters in LA 29 Jul, 11, Source: Congressman Berman

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Howard L. Berman introduced legislation to provide Los Angeles County residents relief from the ear-shattering noise and safety concerns caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.  The Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act of 2011, H.R. 2677, would force the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to restrict helicopter flight paths and set minimum altitudes within 12 months.

“Residents deserve relief from the thunderous clacking of helicopter blades hovering directly over their homes, and instead all they’ve been getting is the runaround from government agencies,” said Congressman Berman.  “The buck stops here because it is simply unacceptable for residents to be forced to contend with these brazen helicopter operators on their own.  This bill requires the regulations that will give residents the relief and increased safety they are so desperately looking for.”

“Helicopters are hovering right above our homes at all hours of the morning and night.  It’s the wild, wild West up there and until now nobody has been taking control,” noted Richard Close, President of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.  “Our community appreciates Congressman Berman’s willingness to work with us and tackle this issue head on.  This is about our quality of life and the safety and privacy of residents across the Valley.  Finally, someone is listening and something is being done.”

Currently, residents across Los Angeles are battling intrusive and disruptive low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods.  San Fernando Valley residents suffer more than most from the foundation-rattling flyovers due to the heavy helicopter traffic in and out of the Van Nuys Airport.  When residents have attempted to address this disturbance they’ve reached a dead end, unable to find a way to require helicopter operators to change their behavior.

The FAA has refused to regulate helicopter flights above Los Angeles.  This failure to act is what allows helicopter operators to fly in a manner that creates excessive noise pollution and jeopardizes the safety and privacy of residents in their homes.  Additionally, this refusal by the FAA to set regulations above Los Angeles has left residents without any means to seek and secure relief from the problem.

Congressman Berman’s bill solves this problem by requiring the FAA to exercise its explicit legal authority to regulate helicopter operations above Los Angeles within 12 months of being signed into law.  Specifically, the bill calls for the Administrator of the FAA to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operators in residential areas of Los Angeles County.  Exemptions would be allowed for law enforcement, emergency responders, and the US military.

Earlier this year, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York successfully included an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which passed the Senate, requiring similar regulations to helicopter operations above Long Island.  This legislative precedent lays the groundwork to require regulations be put in place to curb aggressive helicopter operations above residential areas in Los Angeles.

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