Schiff, lawmakers concerned about FAA response about helicopter noise

Area lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), are voicing concerns about the FAA's response to their request that the agency better deal with helicopter noise in the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles basin.

Federal Aviation Administration officials, responding to a letter sent by the lawmakers six months ago, do not lay out a timeline for action. In addition, instead of studying the entire Los Angeles basin, they targeted only small areas — Torrance, Hollywood and the Cahuenga Pass — which the lawmakers contend are not sufficient to understand the full problem affecting homeowners and businesses.

Lawmakers stated they are also concerned that the FAA, instead of designing and implementing a helicopter noise complaint reporting system, is requiring homeowners, helicopter operators and community members to develop a system themselves.

Volunteer members of homeowner or pilot associations do not have the technical expertise to create such a system, according to the lawmakers.

They state they are also concerned that the lack of significant progress on the issue and an unclear timeline indicate the FAA is unlikely to meet its deadline to voluntarily reduce helicopter noise by the end of the year.

“While I appreciate the engagement that the FAA has had with stakeholders in Los Angeles, its progress in bringing about relief to residents has been painfully and unacceptably slow,” Schiff said in a statement.

“By law, the FAA will be required to regulate helicopter noise if they cannot demonstrate the success of voluntary measures by the end of the year. The ‘timeline' just released by the FAA casts great doubt on their ability to do so, and makes it far more likely regulation will be required,” he added.

Bob Anderson, president of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition, said the organization has been working “diligently” with the FAA and helicopter pilots and operators to find ways to reduce helicopter noise across Los Angeles.

“While the FAA's letter to congressional leaders states that ‘good progress has been made …', the reality is that a number of meetings have been held without much real progress being made,” Anderson said in a statement. “The community has offered many suggestions for tangible solutions to reduce noise, but the FAA and pilots have not embraced these due to cost and other concerns.”


Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.


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