The long-simmering debate about how best to address the issue of helicopter noise above the Los Angeles basin has come to full boil. The parties that had been trying to collaborate on voluntary abatement measures have seen them become mired in a miasma of mistrust, skepticism, anger and a sense of betrayal on the part of just about everyone who flies a helicopter through the airspace, including–for the first time–law enforcement.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says he wants the FAA to apply noise rules to all helicopters transiting the Los Angeles basin, including those flown by emergency services. “Not all law-enforcement flights are emergencies,” Schiff said during an interview with SoCal public radio station KCRW.
Legislation that could mandate noise-abatement helicopter routes in the Los Angeles basin was inserted last-minute into the 1,582-page, $1 trillion federal spending bill signed by President Obama late last week. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, both California Democrats, sponsored a rider that calls on the FAA to develop mandatory helicopter noise-abatement regulations and routes within one year if voluntary measures fail to quell citizen complaints.
The system for monitoring aircraft noise at Boston Logan International Airport and Hanscom Field is being upgraded to provide near real-time flight-tracking data on the web to the public so they can use the technology to report aircraft noise complaints online. The system consists of 36 field monitors–30 in the communities around Logan Airport and six around Hanscom Field.
A group of California politicians wants the FAA to move faster to address the helicopter noise issue in the Los Angeles basin.
Business aircraft cabins are generally not quiet. Not with the turbulent boundary-layer rush of air around the fuselage at Mach 0.85 and the whine of a couple of jet engines no great distance from the comfy chairs. Then there are the pumps, hydraulics, fans, gears, actuators, electric motors, worn bearings and air distribution through the metal ductwork, not to mention the occasional hum of the microwave and induction oven, the rattling of glasses and flatware in the galley and that giant sucking sound coming from the lavatory.
The U.S. Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld the FAA’s right to impose the mandatory overwater North Shore Route on helicopter traffic over New York’s Long Island. Writing for the Court, U.S. circuit judge Richard Roberts rejected a legal challenge (petition for review) to the route filed by the Helicopter Association International to overturn the mandate.
As part of a growing suite of noise- and pollution-control measures, France’s Nice Cote D’ Azur Airport will invest in the installation of a new underground power system that will reduce business jets’ dependency on auxiliary power units on the ramp. The system, the first of its kind in Europe, provides hatches under each aircraft engine start-up stand for access to a centralized power and heating/cooling system, greatly reducing the number of APU operation hours, as well as reducing exhaust emissions. The $2.7 million project is expected to begin this summer.
An Environmental Good Conduct Code is now in place at popular Cannes Mandelieu Airport and signed by multiple stakeholders, including the French DGAC, numerous civil aircraft operators, air traffic controllers, airport tenants and various local environmental groups.
The code is voluntary, addresses primarily noise-control issues and calls for the signers to “respect the quality of the environment at and around l’Aéroport Cannes Mandelieu.”
The FAA’s final rule on civil tiltrotor noise limits and conditions for noise compliance measurement becomes effective March 11. It amends regulations governing noise certification standards and establishes new noise limits and procedures to ensure that noise-reduction technology is incorporated in tiltrotors.
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