Omnibus Spending Bill Contains Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Language

Would Require The FAA To Reduce Noise From The Aircraft In The LA Area Beginning A Year After Passage – Buried in the 1,582 pages of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by congress is a provision that would require the FAA to reduce helicopter noise in the Los Angeles (CA) area unless it can show “voluntary” efforts are effective in achieving that goal.

The bill says that, within a year of its passage, the FAA must begin writing such regulations unless the voluntary efforts are successful, according to a report posted by the Helicopter Association International (HAI). The language is the result of political pressure from southern California lawmakers forcing the FAA to circumvent the regulatory process, the association said.

The Secretary of Transportation is currently required to study and adjust helicopter routes over LA neighborhoods if such adjustments would reduce noise. He is also required to promote “best practices” for hovering aircraft and electronic news gathering helos, and conduct outreach to pilots to inform them of the voluntary policies. Military and emergency flights would not be restricted.

In the end, the omnibus spending bill has started a one-year clock on the FAA, according to HAI, and if DOT cannot quantify that the voluntary measures have been effective, the FAA will have to get to work further restricting airspace to reduce the noise.