Citizen Group Wants Airport Noise Study


A citizens advisory committee has decided to request a feasibility study on ways to reduce helicopter noise generated by Van Nuys Airport, including route changes, restrictions on hours of operation and minimum altitudes.

The meeting of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council Tuesday night generated fiery debate, with various factions painting dark scenarios of what would happen under measures they oppose.

One homeowner said his group may be forced to sue the council. A helicopter operator said he would fight hour restrictions “to the death,” and a resident--not to be outdone in hyperbole--warned that competing interests could make the San Fernando Valley “like Yugoslavia.”


“Every community in this Valley is divided against other communities--and the Valley loses,” said former council member Wilford H. Ross. “We shouldn’t think of ourselves as living in Encino, Valley Village, Studio City, Sherman Oaks or Van Nuys--we live in the Valley. And if we don’t understand that, we’re like Yugoslavia.”

The council itself was divided in voting to request the study, with six members casting yes votes, three abstaining and two opposing.

In adopting the motion, the council decided to ask the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners to request the Federal Aviation Administration and the Los Angeles Department of Airports to determine the feasibility of six noise-reduction strategies.

The measures include routing helicopters over the Ventura Freeway, requiring helicopter pilots to increase their altitude south of the airport over the Sepulveda Basin and designating a radio frequency for helicopter communications at Burbank Airport.

Other proposals the council wants studied are the establishment of a minimum advisory altitude of 1,000 feet over the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills, restrictions on choppers’ hours of operation and the setting of minimum altitudes for police and fire helicopters when they are not engaged in patrol or emergency operations.