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Helicopter noise relief built into Congressional spending bill



Congress continues to seek relief for Angelenos who have long complained about helicopter noise from media choppers and private operators.
Congress continues to seek relief for Angelenos who have long complained about helicopter noise from media choppers and private operators.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

So what do paparazzi helicopters and a Congressional spending bill have in common?

A provision in the omnibus appropriations bill, introduced by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank, requires the Federal Aviation Agency to take action on helicopter noise…though not just yet.

Angelenos have been complaining for two decades about helicopter noise.  Last year, the FAA unveiled half a dozen voluntary measures designed to reduce the helicopter noise over Southern California. Language in the appropriations bill gives the FAA a year to see whether those self-regulating measures actually work. If they don’t, they become mandatory. Schiff says lawmakers wanted to give the FAA “a sense of urgency.”

Assuming that provision remains in the spending bill, that year begins as soon as the President signs the appropriations bill.

Feinstein says she's “optimistic this provision will improve the quality of life for millions of people living in Los Angeles.”

Activists are applauding the provision. Bob Anderson, president of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition, says it "sounds like an excellent idea."

Gerry Hans, president of Friends of Griffith Park, says the park and the Hollywood sign have become a magnet for helicopter tours: “It's great news to finally see a timeline to produce better pilot behavior and flight rules.” 

Representatives from the Helicopter Association International located in Virginia and Burbank's Professional Helicopter Pilots Association were unavailable for comment. 

The six recommendations from the FAA:

The regulations would not restrict military flights or chopper activity by police and fire agencies.