Late this afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released their long-awaited report discussing the serious problem of helicopter noise across Los Angeles. Schiff and other elected officials will host a Congressional field hearing with representatives from the FAA, homeowners and helicopter pilots to discuss the FAA report on Monday, June 10. The FAA report was requested by Schiff and his colleagues to help develop solutions to the problem of excessive helicopter noise in residential areas.
Homeowners have long complained of the disruptions caused by all sorts of helicopter traffic -- from news choppers, paparazzi, tour operators and public safety agencies. The noise pollution emanating from these low-flying helicopters is concentrated to high decibel levels by the unique terrain of canyons and valleys in the County. The focused and concentrated noise drowns out normal conversations and can disturb sleep cycles. Schiff and his colleagues have introduced the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act (H.R. 456), which would require the FAA to set regulations relating to flight paths and altitudes for helicopter flights in Los Angeles County.
"The just released FAA report makes it clear that helicopter noise is a real and serious problem in Los Angeles County that must be addressed. The report recommends several steps to minimize helicopter noise, but not surprisingly, stops short of recommending regulatory action opposed by industry. Voluntary measures in the past have provided little relief for residents, and I am skeptical that without a determined effort to oversee them by the FAA that they will do so now. But I look forward to our field hearing with the FAA in June as an opportunity to flesh out the FAA's analysis and recommendations with all of the affected stakeholders. I will be particularly interested in whether the FAA will commit to undertaking regulatory action if the implementation of voluntary measures once again proves inadequate to the task of providing the noise relief residents have every right to expect and demand."
At the field hearing, representatives from the FAA will present their findings on helicopter noise issues in Los Angeles County. Then a panel of elected officials, including Rep. Schiff, Rep. Tony Cardenas and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslvasky will question the FAA about the report and the problem. Following that, separate panels of representatives from homeowners groups and representatives from the helicopter industry will have the opportunity to question the FAA and share their views on the issue.