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Fri, Jul 06, 2012

FAA Agrees To SoCal Helicopter Noise Hearings

Community Meeting To Take Place In The First Week Of August

The FAA has agreed to a request from California Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) (pictured) and others to hold a town-hall style meeting in Los Angeles on the subject of noise generated by helicopter traffic.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News, Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta gave the go-ahead for the meeting Tuesday. It will be held during the first week in August, though a specific day and location have not been released. The purpose of the hearing is to hear from residents and community groups about how noise from helicopter operations affects them. They will be seeking information about areas where the noise is loudest, and which companies make the most noise. The agency will hear from helicopter operators in separate meetings at a later date.

The meeting was requested by Congresman Berman, along with Senators Diane Feinstein(D), Barbara Boxer (D) and other Los Angeles-area Members of Congress, in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in May. The legislators asked that the FAA formally solicit local stakeholder views on solutions to the helicopter noise problem in Los Angeles County.  This collaborative community effort is an important step in broader efforts to institute rules regarding the flight paths and altitudes of helicopters flying over residential neighborhoods.

Last year, Rep. Berman authored the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act of 2011, which would mandate the FAA to regulate helicopter traffic in LA, with special exception for law enforcement, emergency responders, and the US military.  A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Feinstein and Boxer. The bills have not been discussed in either chamber.

Most of the complaints are from residents living near Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley, and many have focused on LAFD helicopters which residents say don't follow the prescribed flight path, bu instead cut the corner and fly directly over residential neighborhoods rather than commercial areas.

FMI: www.house.gov/berman, www.faa.gov

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