May 27, 2016

The FAA recently took a strong stand in support of the many voluntary efforts being made by Southern California helicopter operators to reduce their noise footprint.

In response to four petitions from the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition (LAAHNC) – a group of homeowner associations seeking FAA rulemaking on various helicopter operation proposals – the agency on May 20 sent four letters to LAAHNC denying each of their requests. The proposals included measures such as the establishment of mandatory altitudes, routes and hovering times, and “media pooling” for news coverage.

The FAA cited the significant progress already made by helicopter operators, the complexity of the Southern California airspace, and geographic, topographic and climate limitations as the primary reasons for dismissing the petitions.

“We applaud the FAA for their leadership on Southern California helicopter issues, particularly Glen Martin, the FAA Western Pacific Region administrator, and Steve May, the FAA Western Pacific Region special projects coordinator,” said Stacy Howard, NBAA’s Western regional representative.

“Shortly after Congress passed the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Relief Act in early 2013, the FAA took the lead by forming and chairing a regional working group of all stakeholders,” Howard explained. “Helicopter operators and other aviation interests have worked closely with the FAA to identify collaborative ways in which they could reduce hovering times over certain landmarks and news events, design and fly voluntary routes to avoid some noise-sensitive areas, and create a web-based and call-in noise and overflight reporting system,” she added.

NBAA has participated in a number of working group meetings and will continue to be involved in efforts to mitigate helicopter noise in the Los Angeles basin, according to Howard.

Morrie Zager, president of the Los Angeles-area Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA), said, “The PHPA stands resolved to work through the concerns of the citizens of Los Angeles County relating to helicopter noise. We will continue to strive for solutions that are fair and reasonable to all parties. The safety of pilots and the community below will always be our top priority.”