Could not authenticate you.followers
In response to pressure from homeowners and lawmakers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is funding and implementing a comprehensive complaint system for residents upset by helicopter noise.
While it may not alleviate the issue, it will enable homeowners and renters to assist the FAA in gathering data to quantify the extent of the annoyance and identify “problem” helicopter operators, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said.
“Of all of the FAA recommendations, I thought this was one of the most significant steps they could take to identify the problems and address them,” he said.
Currently, the helicopter operators are “all pointing fingers at each other” while the public remains frustrated, because residents can’t tell who is “buzzing” their homes, Schiff said.
“This will give residents not only a systematic way to weigh in and alert the FAA of noise problems, but also help identify the bad actors,” he added. “So, I think it’s a very important step forward.”
Last May, the FAA released the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Initiative that outlined six steps the agency could take to lessen the impacts of helicopter noise generated by paparazzi, the press and law enforcement, among others.
The agency suggested evaluating existing helicopter routes to determine whether some modifications were feasible, analyzing whether helicopters can fly at higher altitudes in certain areas, developing best practices for hovering and news gathering, conducting outreach to pilots and continuing to collaborate with the community and operators.
In October, a delegation of federal California lawmakers sent a letter to the FAA, calling on them to follow up with the recommendations the agency put forward five months prior.
At the time, Schiff introduced the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, which required the FAA to act within one year to reduce noise problems or be forced to put in regulations to alleviate the issue.
In January, the FAA responded, stating that good progress had been made. Officials said a group of entities — the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition, the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, the FAA, the LAPD and others — had met to discuss the report last September.
Coalition president Bob Anderson said the organization has been meeting with the FAA for approximately two years. He is pleased that the agency will be implementing a complaint system.
“We think it’s absolutely necessary,” Anderson said, adding that it has been difficult to determine how to file detailed complaints. “Right now, all you get is anecdotal [grievances].”
He said some members of the coalition have been fighting helicopter noise for 20 years. Anderson, a Sherman Oaks resident, got involved after Carmageddon in 2011. He said the issue plagues residents from the Hollywood Sign to Torrance to Long Beach.
Anderson said the coalition is working with the agency to create a written agreement between the coalition and the pilots with the FAA to get a list of best practices in place by the beginning of next year.
“It’s hard. It’s going to be a difficult job. There’s a lot to do,” he added.
According to an FAA representative, the agency has allocated funding to acquire 12 months of noise complaint data. Stakeholders can provide input on the design of the “complaint box” during regular meetings. The representative did not respond when asked when and where the meetings are held.
When asked whether he believes the FAA will follow through with the complaint system, Schiff said he does not think “that this is something that we’re going to be able to let up on” in any way.
“I also think accountability is going to be key to getting results,” he said.
The congressman said he believes the system will have a positive impact on helicopter operators, who will no longer be anonymous in the sky. They could be called upon to justify their actions if a complaint is filed, Schiff said.
He said his office continues to get complaints from residents all over the district, though he has received feedback that operators are modifying their behavior in helpful ways in some areas.
“I think this system will only accelerate that,” Schiff added.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a Reply