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Don't Hold Your Breath For Helecopter Noise Restrictions

FAA, Van Nuys Airport, LAWA, Bob Hope Airport, Noise restrictions

It must be the election season because Congressman Berman is, demanding restrictions on helicopter traffic to provide Encino residents with noise relief. This is the second time this year the congressman has grabbed headlines with a demand that the FAA do something to restrict noise. It was only a few months ago that he and his rival for reelection, Brad Sherman co-authored a  law calling for night time curfew at Burbank - Bob Hope Airport between 11 PM and 7 AM. The Bob Hope measure failed to get any traction in the House of Representatives.

What Mr. Berman knows better than anyone is that neither he nor anyone else in Congress can grant the relief residents seek. It is the FAA and not the congressman that determines air traffic routes and restrictions on aircraft flights. The article accurately points out that Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) as the operator of Van Nuys Airport will need to conduct studies to see whether rerouting helicopter traffic is warranted and then submit their findings to the Federal Aviation Administration for review.

The study process is not automatic because a congressman demands a study be done. LAWA will need to apply for the funding and then conduct the study under the scrutiny of the FAA. The studies are not cheap either. The cost of conducting the study is paid for out of passenger facility charges and other user fees, not by the offending helicopter operators.

While there are those who will say I am a naysayer, I ask that you ask Congressman Berman the following questions:

How many times has called for flight restrictions at Bob Hope Airport and Van Nuys Airport and how many restriction have they won?

Ask him, how many flight restrictions have been imposed by the FAA nationwide?

Finally, he was quoted in the Patch as saying, “The buck stops here because it is simply unacceptable for residents to be forced to contend with these brazen helicopter operators on their own. This bill requires the regulations that will give residents the relief and increased safety they are so desperately looking for.” What does he mean? Is he willing to take responsibility should restrictions not be obtained? Don’t count on it.

Mr. Berman knows the FAA rules. He knows the likelihood of success of a noise study and he has determined that he comes out looking good for going on the record once again as being against aircraft noise. Just another political stunt we all get to pay for.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Wayne Williams September 24, 2011 at 10:49 PM
Actually Sean, I believe you feel all but talking to pilots is a waste of time. If we were able to and they listened, fine... but that didn't' work! We reached out to Stage 2 jet pilots and owners for many years, we would still be living with their noise and abuse because no laws held them back. Sorry, I know what worked and why. It took all approaches to implement the Phase Out of State 2 jets. because I was a part of that arduous process. You could not be more wrong, but you may hold your ground if you wish. The studies, the laws, the pressure all worked together to implement the new laws and limitations. It took time and money because the industry was so resistant. Now that the pressure is on all around, the HPA is finally realizing we do have the ability to limit their abuses, and they know they have the ability to do the right thing now hoping we will not move forward. The City has little specific power to implement a change, but their voice adds to that of other cities that create pressure to make these pilots act appropriately. If that does not work quickly, the more quickly Congress and the FAA will have to act if the pressure continues to build. We will continue to talk to pilots, and most do listen, but when they don't, as has been the case with a few, government action must be an option, no matter how long it takes.
Sean McCarthy September 24, 2011 at 11:10 PM
I guess we will know who is right when you get the restrictions you are looking for.
Wayne Williams September 24, 2011 at 11:25 PM
No Sean, we will know when the noise quiets to a whisper whether the people wanted a solution or not. There is no right or wrong, only solutions. It often takes many approaches to have a viable effect. That is my point. For the people who speak out, the more pressure, the more likely a solution will come forward. Just talking without the pressure from other angles does not work when you have those few pilots who don't care what others think, feel or how they impact others lives. The appropriate approach is to move on all fronts. Berman, Sherman, Shiff, Assembly, Senate, City Council members, other cities and states let alone the public here in LA, acting on many fronts create the solution that becomes a lasting reality. Now we will see if the people care enough to keep the pressure on. This action brought the HPA forward, smart move, need to see results next. I look forward to seeing those pilots who have turned their noses down on the public begin to act like adults and fly higher, quieter and during the mid day hours without waking people at 5am or 11pm just to run a news story that keeps residents abused and invades their privacy. They have the technology to do this, there are no excuses except the few pilots and editors in the newsrooms who feel they can do what ever they want when ever they want without concern for others lives.
Scott Killeen September 28, 2011 at 02:30 PM
SOHA is so on top of the noise problems in Sherman Oaks, they still list James Hahn as Mayor, Jack Weiss and Wendy Greuel as the Sherman Oaks council member representatives on their website! It says you are better off complaining directly to them. http://www.sohainfo.com/index_files/page0003.html
Sean McCarthy September 28, 2011 at 03:16 PM
If anyone cares to hear real noise, a combination of aircraft, traffic, loud Harley's, race cars as well as sirens and every other kind of urban clatter, spend a night at my house at Balboa and Magnolia. Helicopters really are one of many regular annoyances.

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