January 1, 2013
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for taking no action against roaring, low-flying helicopters. This source of noise is extremely irritating to many residents of California and Hawaii.
California Democratic Congressman Howard Berman’s San Fernando Valley district is bombarded with noise from low-flying helicopters. Berman and four other Los Angeles county officials sent a letter to the US Department of Transportation, stating, “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 arelong overdue to find a common-sense solution to this constant problem.”
In 2011, Congressman Berman introduced the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, designed to “address the growing safety and noise concerns among Valley residents caused by low-flying helicopters.” The legislation would require the FAA to establish guidelines on helicopter operations in Los Angeles County. Any new regulations would not apply to police, fire, military, or other emergency helicopter flights.
In August 2012, Berman arranged for the FAA to hold a public hearing on the problem of low-flying helicopter noise. More than 150 people attended, from the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood Hills, Brentwood, Torrance, and west Los Angeles. These areas are inundated by low-flying helicopters carrying the media, tourists, and celebrity photographers.
At the hearing, many Los Angeles residents stated that voluntary efforts by helicopter pilots to not disturb homeowners were not effective, and that that FAA needed to take strong action.
Bob Anderson, a board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, stated, “We need enforceable, legal restrictions right now.”
In response to this constant noise, the FAA, sadly, released a report stating that it is opposed to new rules that would restrict helicopter usage in Los Angeles. Instead, the FAA supports “voluntary efforts.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “the FAA’s failure to address the issue of helicopter noise is an outrage. The people of Los Angeles need relief. There is absolutely no reason to believe that ‘voluntary’ efforts are going to reduce noise levels. No one is Los Angeles ‘volunteered’ to be subjected to constant noise from low-flying helicopters. This noise is extremely irritating and disruptive. The FAA and other federal agencies should be protecting the public interest, not corporate interests.”