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New Requirements Requested on Low-flying Helicopters That Buzz Griffith Park and LA Residential Areas

CATEGORY: In the News |
On Dec 27, 2014

Originally ran Fall 2013


At the June 10th Congressional Field Hearing held at the Autry National Center on the subject of reducing helicopter noise in our neighborhoods, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congressman Tony Cardenas, and LA Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky spoke out strongly, demanding that the FAA readjust their mandates to include the quality of life for citizens on the ground. The hearing attracted a large public attendance fed up with intrusive and disruptive noise coming from non-essential helicopters.

The hearing addressed the current Federal legislation in the House and Senate to reduce LA County helicopter noise. That legislation calls for the FAA to produce a formal report to Congress. In their presentation, the FAA panel members repeatedly explained just how complex the LA airspace is, and that they are reluctant to create any negative economic impacts on the helicopter industry or related commerce.

At the hearing a four-member stakeholder panel presented formal statements and asked the FAA questions about helicopter noise. Friends of Griffith Park’s president Gerry Hans was selected to sit on this panel and described the incessant stream of low-flying tour helicopters seeking close-up views of the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory, which has worsened in recent years. Not only are nearby residents affected, those who come to Griffith Park hoping for peace and quiet are also impacted. Noise can also have detrimental effects on wildlife.

To avoid Burbank Airport airspace and fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter pilots are sandwiched in a tight range, often 1600-1800 feet above sea level over parts of the park. Since the park’s highest peaks range from 1600 to 1820 feet above sea level, helicopters can produce a lot of noise and disruption on the ground. Griffith Park has a history of helicopter crashes. Already this year, there has been one emergency landing in a cloud of smoke and one crash which fortunately was non-fatal and did not start a brush fire.

This is an issue that, no doubt, is not going away overnight. Yet, solutions are possible. A county-wide coalition of citizens has been actively involved in solving the helicopter noise issue, Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition. Friends of Griffith Park is an active participant with this coalition. For more understanding about the problem, go to the coalition’s website,

UPDATED INFO 10.27.2015
Recently, petitions were filed by the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition with the FAA to implement new regulations on helicopter noise and safety in LA. KPCC’s Larry Mantle discussed this topic with Wayne Williams from Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition and Chuck Street with Los Angeles Area Helicopter Operators Association…

The entirety of this discussion can be heard here…




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