A resolution urging President Obama and Congress to approve pending legislation to reduce helicopter noise in Los Angeles County was introduced in Sacramento by State Senator Ted Lieu on Friday.
Backed by numerous local governments – including the cities of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates – the bill argues that local residents "suffer intrusive and disruptive low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods." The bill places much of the blame on media helicopters covering news events, tourism helicopters and helicopter flight testing in Torrance.
"Los Angeles County residents who have endured the cacophony of seemingly endless helicopter flights over their homes need relief,” Lieu said in a release. “When one can’t sleep or talk because of helicopter noise, it hurts the quality of life.”
Among other things, the pending legislation in Congress would ask the Federal Aviation Administration to evaluate helicopter routes, altitudes and hovering practices before reporting back to Congress about possible solutions to noise complaints. Unlike fixed wing aircraft traffic, the FAA does not currently regulate helicopter traffic in Los Angeles.
While the bill has the backing of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer as well as U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff, Janice Hahn, Brad Sherman and Henry Waxman, it has met resistance from the helicopter industry.
According to Lieu, the FAA is "very much aware of the Los Angeles community's concerns with helicopter noise" and has appeared receptive to helicopter noise studies in the area.
South Bay residents have also complained of helicopter noise arising from operations and flight testing at Torrance Airport, home to helicopter manufacturer Robinson Helicopter. Many of those residents testified to the helicopter noise at a hearing in June 2012.
If introduced, the bill, known as Senate Joint Resolution 7, would exempt emergency service and military helicopters from any restrictions.
The bill is sponsored by Citizens for Quiet Helicopters.