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Bill Introduced to Regulate Helicopter Flight Paths, Altitudes

Legislation would address noise, dangers posed by low-flying helicopters.

Legislation was introduced Monday to address Los Angeles County residents' noise complaints and safety concerns concerning low-flying helicopters above residential neighborhoods, the authors announced.

The Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act would require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish regulations on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operations in the county, according to Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, and Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.   

"I hear complaints about helicopter noise from every part of the 33rd District—from Malibu to Brentwood to Benedict Canyon,” said Congressman Waxman. "FAA regulation of the thunderous helicopter traffic over L.A. is long overdue. And if the FAA won’t act, Congress must."

The bill is designed to reduce noise, increase safety and minimize commercial aircraft delays, according to the lawmakers, who said"first- responders" and military aircraft would be exempt from its limitations.

Under the legislation, the FAA would be required to exercise its legal authority to set guidelines on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operators in residential areas in Los Angeles County within 12 months of the bill being signed into law.

"Los Angeles area residents living in Glendale, Pasadena, the Valley, the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood and other areas are especially affected by intrusive, disruptive and often non-emergency related helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods," Schiff said.

"The terrain of canyons around the Rose Bowl concentrates low-flying helicopter noise to high levels, and Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood residents frequently suffer from noise generated by celebrity news media that follow stars to the beach, the grocery store, or for court appearances," Schiff said.

"The residents in these areas deserve peace and quiet, and if the FAA won't act, Congress must pass this legislation to give residents the relief they need."

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