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FAA Holds Helicopter Town Hall Meeting In California

Residents Stridently Express Concerns About Noise, Safety

About 150 people turned out Monday night for a meeting held by FAA representatives in Sherman Oaks, CA, to let the agency know their views about helicopter operations in the area. The people attending the meeting came from all over the greater Los Angeles area, and the majority were upset about what they perceive as low-flying helos.

Among them were a few representatives of news organizations and others who use helicopters in their daily businesses. The San Fernando Valley Business Journal reports that one reporter/pilot with 35 years in the business ... Chuck Street from KTLA and KIIS-FM ... said to the best of his knowledge, any time a news helicopter has been asked to increase its altitude because of a noise complaint, it has never been ignored. "I've never heard one media pilot refuse to do that, ever," he said at the meeting.

Many of the complaints stemmed from news coverage of the closure of a major freeway in the LA area. Many residents complained that voluntary noise abatement procedures were not followed by at least some of the pilots. One board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association said "we need enforceable, legal restrictions right now."

The FAA was represented by FAA regional administrator Bill Withycombe and Elizabeth Ray, vice president in mission support services from the agency’s Washington D.C. office. It was held at the request of Congressman Howard Berman, who has introduced legislation to create guidelines for helicopter operations co-sponsored by Congressmen Brad Sherman and Adam Schiff, all Democrats which represent districts in the Los Angeles area.

FMI. www.faa.gov

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