Helicopter associations in Los Angeles have announced their support to keep an area noise-complaint system in operation amid a proposed shutdown. The Automated Complaint System (ACS) became available in 2015 and was designed to be in place for one year. At the request of the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Operators Association (LAAHOA) and the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA), however, the service was extended twice to continue its availability. The groups are members of the helicopter noise-complaint review committee and recently became aware of the FAA’s proposal to discontinue the hotline, which costs about $30,000 annually to operate.
“It might sound counterintuitive, but many of us in the local helicopter industry firmly support keeping this system in place. We want the FAA to continue the ACS program because it objectively quantifies the extent of public concern about helicopter noise in the Los Angeles area,” said Chuck Street, executive director for LAAHOA.
The ACS system supports the Fly Neighborly program implemented by the Helicopter Association International, and Street said the system serves as a reminder to pilots that a form of accountability exists. While the ACS receives an average of 5,500 monthly calls, LAAHOA found that two people in one zip code were responsible for more than 1,600 calls this past April. “That equates to nearly 94 percent of the calls from that neighborhood,” said Street.
The PHPA and LAAHPA attend meetings with the FAA on a monthly basis, along with homeowners group, to review ACS data. According to PHPA and the LAAHOA, more than half of the helicopter flights in L.A. are conducted in support of public-service missions, but “we in the local helicopter community are committed to making adjustments where it makes sense to do so and without compromising safety,” said Street. Members of the California congressional delegation also support continued use of the ACS and have sent a letter to the FAA requesting reversal of its cancellation.