Senate OKs message to Obama, Congress to act now on limiting disturbing helicopters

April 18, 2013
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Noisy ‘choppers’ generate quiet push

SACRAMENTO – Noisy helicopters buzzing Southland residents 24/7 may be a thing of the past if the Federal Aviation Administration enacts helicopter regulations supported today by the California Senate.
 
On a bipartisan, 26-9 vote, lawmakers passed a resolution by Sen. Ted W. Lieu urging President Obama and Congress to adopt the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act.

“Los Angeles County residents who have endured the cacophony of seemingly endless helicopter flights over their homes need relief,” Lieu said about a pending federal bill that would ask the FAA to evaluate helicopter routes, operating altitudes and hovering practices, and report back to Congress on possible solutions to noise complaints. “When one can’t sleep or talk because of helicopter noise, it hurts the quality of life.”

Lieu’s bill also asks the president and Congress to direct the FAA to solicit the views of neighborhood groups, helicopter operators and others on helicopter noise and safety issues in Los Angeles County.

U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Reps. Adam Schiff, Janice Hahn, Brad Sherman and Henry Waxman are asking the FAA to explore possible solutions with neighborhood groups and helicopter operators but bills to require restrictions on helicopter operations in Los Angeles have languished in Congress in the face of industry opposition.
Such efforts last year faced resistance in the House, where members rejected an effort by San Fernando Valley lawmakers to give Burbank's Bob Hope Airport and Van Nuys Airport authority to impose nighttime curfews.

The FAA appears receptive to a study. In a recent letter to Senator Boxer, the agency said it is “very much aware of the Los Angeles community’s concerns with helicopter noise” and is “prepared to commit to work” with community groups and helicopter operators to explore solutions.
 
Lieu noted that helicopter traffic in Los Angeles County is not currently regulated by the FAA or any other agency. The FAA does, however, require a specific minimum flying altitude for fixed wing aircraft.
 
Lieu’s bill, known as Senate Joint Resolution 7, is based on the following findings:
 
 Residents across Los Angeles County suffer intrusive and disruptive low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods.

     • Los Angeles County is home to a unique and excessively large concentration of scenic, historic, entertainment, and transportation venues, including movie studios, movie star homes, outdoor entertainment facilities, the coastline, Griffith Park, the Hollywood sign, and many others, that generate extensive helicopter tours engaged in sight-seeing activity.
     • Los Angeles County has a high concentration of media helicopters engaged in monitoring traffic conditions, following car chases, and filming celebrity events which often involve hovering for lengthy periods.
     • Los Angeles County is home to the world’s leading civil helicopter manufacturer that conducts extensive helicopter flight testing in the region.
     • The unique terrain of canyons and valleys in Los Angeles County often amplifies noise from helicopters in otherwise quiet residential areas.
     • Helicopter noise in Los Angeles County interrupts daily life for many residents by interfering with ability to hear conversations, television, radio, telephone and disrupting sleep cycles.
 
SJR 7 is sponsored by Citizens for Quiet Helicopters, and the Act is supported by numerous local governments in Los Angeles County, including the county and city of Los Angeles and the cities of Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates and West Hollywood.

The measure would not restrict helicopter operations for emergency responders and the military. It now goes to the Assembly for action. No initial hearing date has been set.

For more, including language of SJR 7, go to the address below.

Ted W. Lieu represents nearly 1.3 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, as well as portions of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro. With redistricting, Lieu also is responsible for constituents in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes Peninsula, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, and portions of Hollywood. For more, visit www.senate.ca.gov/lieu.

CONTACT: Ray Sotero, Communications Director
(916) 651-4028 desk; (916) 834-1128 cell
or Ray.Sotero@sen.ca.gov