Tag Archives: Helicopters

Schiff Hails FAA Decision to Institute Complaint System for Helicopter Noise

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement that they would take an important role in helping to stem disruptive helicopter noise plaguing residents across Los Angeles County. The FAA indicated over the weekend that they would establish a comprehensive complaint system for helicopter noise operations – the first step necessary to gather data about the extent of the problem and remedies, identify problem helicopter operators, and give residents a systematic way to register their complaints.  According to the FAA, the agency will allocate $250,000 to set up the system and acquire a years’ worth of correlated noise complaint data for helicopters – and allow residents the real time capability to file complaints online or by phone and identify those helicopters responsible. The FAA will bid the project this year, with implementation slated for early next year.

Earlier this year, Schiff and other Los Angeles area lawmakers, including Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), sent a letter asking for a timeline on the FAA’s Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Initiative.  The agency finally responded to the Los Angeles lawmakers (letter can be found here), on the heels of legislation that Feinstein and Schiff passed requiring the FAA to act within the year to reduce helicopter noise through voluntary measures, or be forced to put in place regulations to reduce it. Pressure from homeowners and lawmakers finally compelled the FAA to act.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that Glen Martin, the regional administrator for the FAA’s Western-Pacific region, said via email, “The FAA has approved funding and is moving forward to establish a noise complaint system for L.A. County regarding helicopter operations. We plan to take approximately three months to complete the contracting, and intend for the system to be up and running shortly after the first of the year.”

“While we are still waiting for final details — would this merely monitor noise levels or identify the helicopters causing the problem — the establishment of a countywide helicopter noise complaint system could be a significant development in our years-long fight to give L.A. residents the relief that they deserve,” said Rep. Schiff. “This move comes on the heels of legislation Senator Feinstein and I authored requiring the FAA to adopt new rules and regulations if they could not achieve meaningful relief through voluntary measures. Collecting this data may give us a benchmark to work from and identify those who lack regard for residents on the ground — and I’m looking forward to working with the operators, homeowners and the FAA to make sure that we meet the urgent need for noise relief.”

Bob Anderson, the president of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition – comprising residents from across Los Angeles County who have been working with helicopter pilots and the FAA to reduce helicopter noise without compromising safety – stated that the LAAHNC has stressed the need for a countywide noise complaint system and is very excited that the FAA has stepped up to this challenge.

“The request we most often hear from residents impacted by helicopter noise it ‘where can I complain?’  The answer, sadly, was nowhere,” said Anderson. “This system will now give all residents countywide a place to lodge helicopter noise complaints and will provide irrefutable data identifying helicopter noise hot spots, so our organization can work with pilots and the FAA to stop the noise.  This system is the first step among many that we are working toward, including a Tri-Party Agreement between the LAAHNC, pilot organizations, and FAA on voluntary noise-reduction practices.”

In 2013, Schiff and other members of the Los Angeles delegation introduced legislation, the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, and encouraged the FAA to act independently of legislation to reduce helicopter noise in Los Angeles.  Following a lengthy study, the FAA released their report on the Los Angeles airspace, urging voluntary measures over a regulatory approach, which many homeowners and lawmakers felt was an insufficient response.

Senator Feinstein and Rep. Schiff successfully included language in the omnibus spending bill, which was signed into law, that would require the FAA to develop regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life of LA County residents within one year unless the FAA can demonstrate the effectiveness of the six voluntary action items in the helicopter noise report. Efforts to include language in the omnibus were supported by the LAHNC.

Schiff and Feinstein Announce Helicopter Noise Reduction Legislation

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that the omnibus appropriations bill – which will fund the government for the next year – includes a provision directing the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and FAA to address helicopter noise Los Angeles County skies. Residents of the Los Angeles region have been plagued for decades by frequent and disruptive helicopter noise, and despite persistent efforts to work on a collaborative basis with stakeholders to reduce the impact of helicopter noise, little has changed.

Last year, Schiff, Feinstein and other members of the Los Angeles delegation introduced legislation, the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, and encouraged the FAA to act independently of legislation.  Following a lengthy study, the FAA released their report on the Los Angeles airspace, urging voluntary measures over a regulatory approach, which many homeowners and lawmakers felt was an insufficient response.  This legislation, which is expected to be voted on this week, will finally force the FAA to act.

“For years, the FAA has not felt the urgency that homeowners and residents across Los Angeles County have felt – very literally with the rattling of windows – on the need to reduce helicopter noise,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). “While we are continuing to work with the FAA on voluntary measures, we need to take an ‘all of the above’ approach towards solving this issue – including new rules and regulations.  With this legislation, FAA will have one year to act on its pledge to reduce helicopter noise or it will be forced to regulate.”

“I am pleased the omnibus federal funding bill includes a provision to reduce excessive helicopter noise in the Los Angeles Basin,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “I have worked on this issue with Congressman Schiff, Senator Boxer and others for more than two years, and this bill will finally lead to concrete action. The provision requires the FAA to initiate regulations addressing helicopter noise and safety issues above Los Angeles within one year, unless the agency can demonstrate that the six voluntary measures it recommended in May have proven to be effective. The FAA must also move forward with those six voluntary measures immediately. I am optimistic this provision will improve the quality of life for millions of people living in Los Angeles.”

Senator Feinstein, with the support of Schiff and Los Angeles delegation members, successfully included language in the Senate transportation appropriations bill and ultimately the omnibus spending bill that will be voted on later this week that would require the FAA to develop regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life of LA County residents within one year unless the FAA can demonstrate the effectiveness of the six action items in the helicopter noise report. Efforts to include language in the omnibus were supported by the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Coalition (LAHNC).

Below is the provision included in the appropriations bill:

Sec. 119D. The Secretary shall (1) evaluate and adjust existing helicopter routes above Los Angeles, and make adjustments to such routes if the adjustments would lessen impacts on residential areas and noise-sensitive landmarks; (2) analyze whether helicopters could safely fly at higher altitudes in certain areas above Los Angeles County; (3) develop and promote best practices for helicopter hovering and electronic news gathering; (4) conduct outreach to helicopter pilots to inform them of voluntary policies and to increase awareness of noise sensitive areas and events; (5) work with local stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive noise complaint system; and (6) continue to participate in collaborative engagement between community representatives and helicopter operators: Provided, That not later than one year after enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall begin the development of regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life and safety of the people of Los Angeles County unless the Secretary can demonstrate the effectiveness of actions taken under the previous proviso to address helicopter noise.

Following the release of their report – the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Initiative – Schiff and homeowners hosted a town hall meeting with the FAA in which they committed to support the following actions: evaluate existing helicopter routes to identify feasible modifications that could lessen impact on residential areas and noise-sensitive landmarks; analyze whether helicopters could safely fly at higher altitudes in certain areas along helicopter routes and at specific identified areas of concern; develop and promote best practices for helicopter hovering and electronic news gathering; conduct outreach to helicopter pilots to increase awareness of noise-sensitive areas and events; explore a more comprehensive noise complaint system; and continue the collaborative engagement between community representatives and helicopter operators, with interaction with the FAA.

This legislation will hold the FAA’s feet to the fire and will ensure that the agency will complete their work on time and without delay. If after a year, residents, homeowners and business owners do not see a marked difference and reduction in the level of unnecessary helicopter noise, the legislation will require the FAA to set new rules and regulations – something that they thus far have been unwilling to do.

Schiff, Feinstein, Boxer Introduce Bill to Regulate Helicopter Traffic over Neighborhoods

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation today that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to provide Los Angeles County residents relief from the noise and safety concerns caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.

The Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act would establish regulations on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operations in Los Angeles County. Feinstein and Schiff hope that the legislation will prompt the FAA to act, and if passed, will require the agency to finally address numerous resident complaints. They were joined by other Los Angeles congressional colleagues, including Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

“Los Angeles area residents living in Glendale, Pasadena, the Valley, the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood and other areas are especially affected by intrusive, disruptive and often non-emergency related helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods,” said Congressman Schiff. “The terrain of canyons around the Rose Bowl concentrates low-flying helicopter noise to high levels, and Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood residents frequently suffer from noise generated by celebrity news media that follow stars to the beach, the grocery store, or for court appearances. The residents in these areas deserve peace and quiet, and if the FAA won’t act, Congress must pass this legislation to give residents the relief they need.”

“LA County residents suffer from high levels of disruptive, low-flying helicopter traffic over their neighborhoods. This bill would address that problem by requiring the FAA to create regulations for how helicopters operate in the skies above Los Angeles,” said Senator Feinstein. “In addition to reducing noise, this bill would increase safety and minimize commercial aircraft delays while exempting first responders and military aircraft from its limitations. I look forward to working with Congressman Schiff and Senator Boxer to get this bill passed.

“This legislation will ensure that the FAA sets responsible guidelines that allow helicopters to continue to operate above Los Angeles while protecting residents from excessive noise associated with low-altitude flights,” said Senator Boxer.

“I hear complaints about helicopter noise from every part of the 33rd District—from Malibu to Brentwood to Benedict Canyon,” said Congressman Waxman.  “FAA regulation of the thunderous helicopter traffic over LA is long overdue.  And if the FAA won’t act, Congress must.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to urge the FAA to implement enforceable measures that provide meaningful more relief for Valley communities impacted by helicopter noise and to protect the safety of aircraft in the crowded skies above our metropolitan area,” said Congressman Sherman.  “The active participation of the FAA, community leaders and the helicopter industry can also help lead to substantial progress in developing solutions to better balance public safety and relief from excessive helicopter noise.”

Last year, Schiff and Feinstein wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to form a working group at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to solicit input from local communities and stakeholders on helicopter noise and safety issues across Los Angeles County. For the past year, that working group has been meeting with local residents, stakeholders and officials to discuss ways to move forward and adequately address the concerns and complaints of affected residents.

Under the legislation sponsored by Schiff, Feinstein and Boxer, the FAA would be required to exercise its legal authority to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operators in residential areas in Los Angeles County within 12 months of being signed into law. Exemptions would be provided for law enforcement, emergency responders and the U.S. military.

“I’m heartened that Congressman Schiff and Senator Feinstein will be taking up the mantle of helicopter noise regulation next year. They have been steadfast partners with me on the LA Helicopter Noise Relief Act,” said former Congressman Howard Berman. “Los Angeles County residents should know that they will have an important voice in Washington who will continue to fight for common sense reforms to protect their safety and quality of life from intrusive helicopter flights.”

Schiff Takes Up the Fight to Curb Helicopter Noise

After a meeting today between regional Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives and local stakeholders, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) continued his call on the agency to provide Los Angeles County residents relief from the noise and safety concerns caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.

“While I appreciate the FAA’s willingness to engage residents and hear their concerns directly, it is plain that voluntary actions will not be sufficient to address the real quality of life and safety issues raised by these persistent fly-overs,” said Rep. Schiff.  “Residents living throughout Los Angeles are deeply impacted by the intrusive, disruptive and often non-emergency related helicopter traffic above their homes and neighborhoods. The canyons and mountains across our region concentrate the low-flying helicopter noise to extremely high levels. Add to that the problem of tourist and press helicopters tracking celebrities in the Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood or perusing the Rose Bowl, and you have a significant impact on the quality of life of thousands of constituents. The residents in these areas deserve peace and quiet, and I will be taking up the legislation shepherded by Congressman Berman in the new session of Congress.”

After the meeting, Schiff announced he will re-introduce the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act.  This bill requires the FAA to exercise its legal authority to regulate helicopter operations above Los Angeles within 12 months of being signed into law. Specifically, the bill calls on 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.

“I’m heartened that Congressman Schiff will be taking up the mantle of helicopter noise regulation next year. He has been a steadfast partner with me on the LA Helicopter Noise Relief Act,” said Rep. Howard Berman. “Los Angeles County residents should know that they will have an important voice in Washington who will continue to fight for common sense reforms to protect their safety and quality of life from intrusive helicopter flights.”

Berman Announces Public Hearing with FAA on Helicopter Noise in L. A. County

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to his request to participate in a community-wide public hearing on helicopter noise in Los Angeles County.

The public hearing will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on August 6th at Millikan Middle School Burrill Hall located at 5041 Sunnyslope Avenue in Sherman Oaks off Magnolia Boulevard. Residents are advised to arrive early to ensure as many members of the community as possible can offer comment to the FAA on this matter.

As the FAA determines what regulatory changes are needed to reduce helicopter noise, this public hearing will serve as the lone forum for community input into the FAA report, and Berman is encouraging a strong turnout from the community.

“Residents of the Valley and other parts of Los Angeles will finally have an opportunity to tell the FAA how helicopter noise negatively impacts our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). “Our views and input will play a significant role in determining how the FAA addresses this issue. We have shared our frustration about this problem with our friends, neighbors and local elected officials. Now the FAA must hear our voices and implement changes that place the well-being of Valley residents before the interests of a few helicopter operators. We are long overdue to find a commonsense solution to this constant problem.”

Last month, Berman, joined by Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and other Los Angeles-area Members of Congress, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formally solicit local stakeholder views on solutions to the helicopter noise problem in Los Angeles County. They wrote that a 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.

The full text of the letter sent to Secretary LaHood is here.

Berman has further raised this issue in personal conversations with Secretary LaHood and the Acting Administrator of the FAA Michael Huerta.

Last year, Berman introduced H.R. 2677, the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act, to address the growing safety and noise concerns among Valley residents caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.