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.
“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.”