New Law Seeks to Regulate Helicopter Noise

The legislation gives the FAA one year to determine if voluntary measures are working to abate helicopter noise.

A helicopter manufactured by Robinson Helicopter flies over Dockweiler Beach. Photo credit InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic-ShareAlike license.
A helicopter manufactured by Robinson Helicopter flies over Dockweiler Beach. Photo credit InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic-ShareAlike license.

The skies above the South Bay and the rest of Los Angeles may be a little quieter in the future, as Congress approved legislation aimed to reduce helicopter noise Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law Friday.

The Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, which was included with the omnibus budget bill, was approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives and Thursday by the Senate.

Under the legislation, the Federal Aviation Administration must evaluate—and possibly revise—existing helicopter routes so as to reduce the noise impact on communities, such as the South Bay. Additionally, the FAA must develop a complaint system, inform pilots about voluntary guidelines, and determine whether helicopters can fly safely at higher altitudes.

The law exempts police and paramedic helicopters.

If the voluntary measures don't work, the FAA is required to develop regulations.

Residents of Torrance and the Hollywood Riviera, Palos Verdes and Redondo Beach have complained about flights along the beach and the cliffs of the Peninsula. Many of the flights originate at Torrance Airport, where helicopter manufacturer Robinson Helicopter is based.

John Bailey, a resident of Torrance, told the Los Angeles Daily News that the new legislation is "no relief for us." He believes the legislation didn't go far enough.

“We would have liked to have seen the FAA walk the walk and talk the talk,” Bailey told the newspaper. Instead of waiting a year for the FAA to determine whether voluntary guidelines are enough to solve the problem, he wanted laws passed immediately regulating how low helicopters could fly, among others.

According to AIN Online, the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association has blasted the legislation as “mistimed, misplaced, misworded and an egregious example of congressional trickery gone awry.”
robin January 21, 2014 at 11:48 PM
Helicopters are not a problem. How about banning leaf blowers.. those things make a tremendous amount of noise and pollute the air. I don't understand how helicopters are an issue. The South bay buzzes 24/7 with traffic, again- lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trash trucks, loud music, screaming kids, and just over crowding buzz that is heard. Oh, motorcycles - they're reved up LOUD.... There are dire things happening and folks are upset about helicopters..... get a life.
Kristie Bjorklund January 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Just Tim January 22, 2014 at 02:42 PM
More jobs loss from the party of (in)Tolerance. The bill was sponsored by Democrats in the house and senate according to another piece written here on the patch by the local editor. Say good bye to good paying manufacturing jobs at Robinson Helicopter. Robinson employees say good bye to your good jobs and then say hello to McDonalds minimum wage.
Ivan Levy January 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM
I see that deep thinking Tim Sole has crawled out from his rock.
Just Tim January 23, 2014 at 01:32 PM
Ivan, why is everyone so afraid of that guy. I don't know him, but you are the second person to ask the question. Maybe I should change my name to "Not Tim Sole".
Castillo Jorge February 20, 2014 at 08:20 AM
absolutely untolarable Im going 2 my congress man 2marrow 3 hrs of peace an quiet sine 8 am yesterday I hear 3 headed toward me rite now im sik of dis shit this isn't Compton wtfh????


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