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.