At Congressman Howard L. Berman's (CA-28) request, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee is convening a roundtable to examine helicopter flight operations in metropolitan areas. As author of H.R. 2677, the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act, Congressman Berman sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking member of the Aviation Subcommittee last month requesting the panel review the issue of helicopter noise and safety concerns. The Aviation Subcommittee's roundtable is scheduled for 10:00 am ET on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
"I have heard from many Valley residents about the nuisance caused by intrusive, low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods," said Congressman Howard Berman. "It's time my colleagues in Congress understand why it is necessary that the FAA bring order to the skies above Los Angeles and at long last hold helicopter operators accountable."
Congressman Berman will testify at the Aviation Subcommittee's roundtable meeting where he'll highlight the battle Los Angeles area residents face against intrusive and disruptive low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods. Earlier this year, Congressman Berman introduced H.R. 2677, the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act, to address the growing safety and noise concerns among Valley residents caused by low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods.
Congressman Berman's bill requires the FAA to exercise its explicit legal authority to regulate helicopter operations above Los Angeles within 12 months of being signed into law. Specifically, the bill calls for the Administrator of the FAA to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operators in residential areas of Los Angeles County. Exemptions would be allowed for law enforcement, emergency responders, and the US military.
In Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley residents suffer more than most from the foundation-rattling flyovers due to the heavy helicopter traffic in and out of the Van Nuys Airport. When residents have attempted to address this disturbance they've reached a dead end, unable to find a way to require helicopter operators to change their behavior due to the FAA's refusal to set helicopter flight regulations above Los Angeles.
Please see below for a copy of the letter Congressman Berman sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee requesting they convene a panel to examine helicopter flight operations in metropolitan areas.
September 23, 2011
The Honorable Tom Petri The Honorable Jerry Costello
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Aviation Subcommittee on Aviation
2165 Rayburn House Office Building 2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Petri and Ranking Member Costello,
I am writing to respectfully request that the Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee convene a panel to examine issues related to helicopter flight operations in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles County -- and in particular noise and safety concerns related to helicopter operations in such areas.
As the author of H.R. 2677, the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act, I strongly believe that Congress has the responsibility to ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to respond to helicopter noise and safety concerns in a manner consistent with its authority over fixed wing aircraft. The residents of Los Angeles County are unique in living in a metropolitan area with an extraordinarily high number of helicopter flights per day. As many of my constituents in the San Fernando Valley know all too well, current law lacks clarity as to the FAA's rulemaking authority in respect to setting flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter flight operations. This resultant regulatory lapse has allowed helicopters to operate with impunity over residential areas of Los Angeles, with no regard to their impact over my constituents' safety or quality of life.
As discussions continue on the passage of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, I believe the Subcommittee would benefit from hearing testimony on the unique nature of helicopter noise and safety concerns in Los Angeles County. I stand ready to assist you in any capacity necessary to ensure that the Members of the Subcommittee are given the opportunity to hear from those impacted by helicopter noise and discuss legislation to provide the FAA with much needed authority regarding this issue.
HOWARD L BERMAN
Member of Congress