Neighbors Vent Frustration About Noisy LA Helicopters

 - August 9, 2012, 3:27 PM
California residents petitioned the FAA to address noise from low-flying helicopters. (Photo: Freddie Benson)

At a public hearing Monday in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Los Angeles-area citizens complained to FAA Western-Pacific regional administrator Bill Withycombe about noise caused by low-flying helicopters. For Palos Verdes Estates resident Freddie Benson, the sound of an MD500 passing by her house on July 31 below the level of her 130-foot-msl yard “was absolutely deafening.”

On August 2, Los Angeles county supervisor Zev Yaroslavky’s enjoyment of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was ruined when a helicopter flew over the Hollywood Bowl at a low altitude. “This was an outrage,” he said. The LA Philharmonic’s Leni Boorstin said there are an average five helicopter flyovers during evening performances at the Bowl, many nonemergency.

Neighborhood representatives complained about a lack of neighborly flying by helicopter operators and begged Withycombe for new regulations limiting hovering and loitering time, mandating minimum altitudes of 2,000 agl (recommended in HAI’s Fly Neighborly program) and requiring helicopters to have easily visible N-numbers.

The meeting was hosted by Congressman Howard Berman (D-Valley Village), who last year submitted noise relief bill H.R. 2677, which has received no political support.

Local helicopter pilot/reporter Chuck Street told the audience, “I’m concerned about your concerns. Most helicopter pilots don’t want to make you an enemy.”