LA City Council Endorses Helicopter Regulation Bill

The bill would set minimum flight altitude regulations on helicopters.

Northeast Los Angeles residents are no strangers to the sounds of Helicopters hovering low overhead. 

Whether it Police helicopters pursuing a suspect, or news crews angling for an aerial view of a developing story--Angelenos are well acquainted with the sounds of the "chopper." 

However, On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of legislation proposed by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) that would provide some relief from the sound of buffeting blades.

From the LA Times:

The council voted to endorse a bill by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village), who held a public hearing last week in Sherman Oaks to hear from residents whose neighborhoods are affected by noisy, low-flying helicopters.

If passed, the measure would direct the FAA to establish flight paths for helicopters and set minimum altitudes at which they can operate over certain areas of the county.

Support for the bill was non unanimous. Councilmember Richard Alarcon dissented, according to the times, citing concerns that it would prevent law enforcement officials from effectively doing their jobs.

LAPD Northeast Detective Richard Ortiz did not comment directly about the bill, but said that helicopters played a critical role in crime enforcement.

"I think they are very important, they are the first ones on the scene," he said. "If there's an incident, and we know it's involving a red car, the guys in the helicopters are going to be the first ones to get there and get the location of the red car. That kind of thing leads to arrests on a daily basis."



frank van neutra lautner August 15, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Hear, hear!! I'm sure the choppers are a very useful tool for LAPD to more effectively do their job and as a substitute for more officers on the street but from what I've witnessed for years it seems to me that it's quite likely that they could be far more judicious about how they are utilized. They do sometimes fly extremely close to homes and the sensations they create can be extremely disruptive and even terrifying to those who deserve better. (One wonders how long until one malfunctions and crashes into a home.) There are also many time when they hover and circle around for very long durations of time and I wonder if they're hanging around longer than they really need to.
Michael Hampson August 15, 2012 at 09:47 PM
For everyone who hates helicopter noise, would you please now carry a printed card in your wallet which says you will refuse emergency helicopter transport to a hospital because helicopters are too noisy. Also, on this card, be sure to note that if you needed rescued due to a natural disaster or you are stranded somewhere, you will refuse to be rescued by a helicopter because they are too noisy. Oh, you won't do that? I see, that is, if you are offered a ride on a helicopter, it makes it okay, the noise does not matter. But if someone else is riding in a helicopter (and you are not), then it's not okay. Gotcha.
ezio giraldo August 15, 2012 at 10:14 PM
dont confuse. the ghetto bird with a medi.evac. dont worry about helicopters. theres probly a drone flying over highland park
frank van neutra lautner August 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Your rant is silly.
Frank Mackey August 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Oh it has happened- http://articles.latimes.com/1991-06-28/local/me-1347_1_helicopter-crash But I wouldn't deprive them of the best tool they have vs the alternative of having to sweep the area on foot. And the noise... honestly I couldn't live without the noise of the neighborhood... helicopter and all.
Michael Hampson August 16, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Noise in the city? No way! Ban or limit helicopters? Yes? Then let's do it, only if, we ban or limit all the other noise in the city. Construction projects, sirens, dogs barking, loud music, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, jets, cars and etc.
frank van neutra lautner August 16, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Michael, I've lived in large urban neighborhoods (LA and Chicago) for 25 years. I'm quite familiar with what ALL of what comes with the territory. One should reasonably expect a certain amount of noise; however, that does not justify excessive noise pollution. BTW, we have laws in Los Angeles that already ban or limit excessive noise on the ground at all hours. Feel free to research the ordinances yourself if you're so inclined.
Lastradioman August 16, 2012 at 09:05 PM
More whiney politicians imposing their idea of what is best for all of us - reminds me of the (impossible to enforce) LA ban on gas engine leaf blowers. Some Hollywood has-been was annoyed by the blowers and called on his LA Council friends. Assuming noise is the issue, let's start with the noise on the ground and enforcing existing laws - loud outdoor parties with bass-amplified music, street racing and barking dogs. Let medivac, fire and law helicopter pilots do their jobs. New media helicopters are noisier. Restrict those to 15,000 feet.
nonoise August 16, 2012 at 09:34 PM
We need our noise laws enforced!! http://www.lapdonline.org/special_operations_support_division/content_basic_view/1031
Michael Hampson August 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Of course, no one is willing to respond to my comment where I ask the "helicopter haters" to carry printed cards in your wallet (or should it be tattooed?) which state you refuse any helicopter rescue because helicopters make too much noise.
nonoise August 17, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The problem is not with helicoper rescues. It is mosly with the news media helicopters.
Michael Hampson August 17, 2012 at 09:24 PM
No, the problem is people are jealous that some people are flying in helicopters but they don't have the same privilege. The same argument can easily be made to limit cars on the road. I like to ride bicycles and I don't like cars. And I can prove my point. In the United States alone, last year, 40,000 people died in car crashes, an equivalent of a plane load or more of people die on the road each day. About 109 people per day. Based on this alone, we need to greatly limit cars driving on the road. Cars pollute. Cars are ruining the air I breath. We need to stop all personally owned cars. Let's let ambulances, police cars and fire trucks drive around but not cars for individual people. Come on, I am talking about air quality. The air that you and I breath, every minute of every day. Cars make noise. I can't stand the nonstop noise of cars on the freeway. And I can't stand to walk to the store and be bothered by the noise of local traffic. Cars take up valuable resources, it's a waste. The roads would be safer for bicycles if there were less cars. So, is noise really the issue? No. Jealousy is the issue. People don't want to be honest and straight forward here. Helicopter haters want to hide their true feelings about being jealous of helicopters. They hide their own personal jealousy problem and claim in public that they don't like helicopter noise. People who can't afford helicopters want to stop others from buying or flying them.
Amber August 18, 2012 at 09:06 AM
LAPD'S Air Support is an amazing tool for crime suppression. Criminals would be thrilled to see them restricted or removed from service. That would give criminals far more freedom to do what they do best...keep us all hostage and render us helpless. I guarantee you that the "bad guys" favor air restrictions of all kinds for helicopters...and pray for their elimination...they don't want to get caught. Air Support is in the air approximately 24 hours a day...watching...and they often see a crime before it is reported. Look to the sky....
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 02:18 PM
It looks like someone is a student of the Teapublican school of nonsensical and fact challenged argument. Your specious argument is in essence the same as saying people in a community who complain about a nearby petrochemical plant such as an oil refinery that pollutes the air and water (the commons) are jealous because they don't own an oil refinery. You argument is the same as saying people in a community that complain about container, tanker and cruise ships at the port that pollute everyone's air and water are jealous that they don't own their own cruise ship. It's like much like saying neighbors who complain about rodent infestation due to a restaurant down the street where the owner figured out that it's cheap to push the compostable waste into the middle of the street are jealous because they don't themselves own a restaurant. It's like saying the community is jealous of Philip Anschutz and stadium owners because he used his influence to push through a plan to build an NFL stadium and outdoor concert venue in the middle of Highland Park thus causing complete traffic gridlock and noise that spills out and keep the neighborhood awake at night. Furthermore, your argument is seriously flawed because the db measure of noise output from cars on a freeway (where in many cases sound barriers have been constructed) isn't the same as the amount of noise caused by a helicopter flying/hovering at less than 1,000' over a community.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
To Frank: Wrong. 1) Your analogies are flawed. Helicopters are a current technology of the aviation community. Helicopters are extremely expensive and people are jealous. 2) You refuse to tell us if you will be the first card carrying member of the "Helicopter Haters Club" where you will deny any rescue, for any reason, by any helicopter (public or private) because helicopters make too much noise. 3) You claim your main argument is you don't like helicopter noise. Really? I like the sound of helicopters, I think there should be more flying around. Just because you don't like helicopter noise doesn't make your argument valid.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
To Frank: Your analogies are flawed because we *ARE* talking about helicopters and not about oil refineries, rats or stadiums.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
To Frank: And yes, if someone hates cruise ships, it's probably because they can't afford to go on a cruise (or they have motion sickness).
nonoise August 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Northeast does not have a real problem with helicopter noise. Some areas have sever problems. Noise needs to be addressed no matter who the offender. http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blog-i-am-a-noise-victim Michael, cars make noise but that is why there are sound walls along most freeways. And, people can not always live next to their work. And, when you have odd hours you can not carpool. And, you can drive in 45 minutes or take a bus and/or train that will take 2 1/2 hours one way. It is an almost impossible commute for a lot of people to take a bus and/or train to work. Most people would rather do that if they had a choice. But a 45 minute commute to a 2 1/2 hour commute, there is only one choice and that is to drive. And, there are no carpools that go the same direction at the same time you leave/arrive from work. And, then you say you worry about air quality? I guess your too young to remember the 1970's when there were stage 4 smog alerts everyday and the sky was brown, really, it was brown. We have the cleanest air today ever. And, no one is jealous about someone having an airplane, helicopter, or anything else. Maybe those on bicycles are jealous of those in cars? I don't know. But those on bicycles need to understand why people in cars have to drive them and there is no alternitive.
nonoise August 18, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Noise is noise. Noise matters. That is why there are thousands of noise laws on the books, Federal, State and local. California Penal Code 415, Los Angeles Municpal Code Chapter 11, Article 5, Section 111 & 112 a few others. There are noise laws on amplified sound systems, church and otherwise. Los Angeles Police Department has its own noise department, LAPD Noise Enforcement Team. Noise matters.
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 06:47 PM
No, we're talking about noise pollution from helicopters and your talking about "cars", "freeways" and some claptrap about "jealousy".
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Thanks for sharing your nonsensical rant.
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Who said anything about "hating" cruise ships?
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Michael Hampson's repeated irrelevant, specious and ad hominem arguments are all traits of an internet troll.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Just because Frank can type words together does not make his statements true. Time and time again, when you boil down all the arguments about helicopter noise, it comes to people being jealous they can't fly in them. Again, no one is commenting on the fact that if they owned a helicopter, were offered a ride in a helicopter or rescued in a helicopter, that they would *never* complain about helicopter noise.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Let's be honest. People are jealous when others can fly in helicopters and they can't. The best analogy would be trains. What type of pollution did trains make when they were first invented? Horrible smoke. Did they stop trains from running? No, but the technology changed. What about steel mills? Pittsburgh skies used to be filled with smoke. Did they shut down the plants? No, they changed the technology. What about helicopters? What is happening with helicopter technology? I'm sure no one has done any research in this department. In the United States, here are a few rotorcraft research facilities: Aeromechanics Flight Vehicle Research and Technology Division (NASA), Flight Vehicle Research and Technology Division (NASA), UC Santa Cruz NASA Ames Research Center, Georgia Tech Rotorcraft Center of Excellence, The Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, Rotorcraft Center, The FXB Center for Rotary and Fixed Wing Air Vehicle Design, University of Dayton Research Institute and the Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence. Canada has their National Research Council Canada. And here are a few in Europe: ONERA (French Aerospace Lab), DLR - (Germany's National Research Center for Aeronautics and space) and NLR in The Netherlands. What are the goals of these research facilities? Better materials, better rotorblades, higher fuel efficient engines, lower sound levels and a better passenger experience. Instead of hate, educate.
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Yep... you're definitely trolling.
Michael Hampson August 18, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Once again: 1) No one is commenting on the fact that if they owned a helicopter, were offered a ride in a helicopter or rescued in a helicopter, that they would not complain about helicopter noise. 2) Helicopter haters refuse to tell us if they will be the first card carrying member of the "Helicopter Haters Club." This is where you carry a printed card in your wallet which states, "I refuse to be rescued, for any reason, by any helicopter (public or private) because helicopters make too much noise."
frank van neutra lautner August 18, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Michael, your mother is calling you.
shuttup HAMson September 19, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Hi Hamson. looks like you're the VERY proud owner of a helicopter (and doesn't look like you even live in highland park: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-hampson/4b/106/558 How self-righteous you are being for the sake of your own vested interests. Here is my perspective, before about 2 years ago, I always felt like I got away from L.A. when I arrived to my home on Mt. Washington. Since then the helicopter traffic seems to have increased exponentially. I can't tell which they are, but I suspect it is mostly media. Even if it is police, it's really looking like they are hanging out up there 24/7 rather than responding to specific calls. I am writing this now as the third helicopter of the morning passes overhead, just shy of 11:00 am. I personally love the designs of helicopters. I find them to be the most graceful of all mankind's very noisy means of traveling. At the same time I feel we make waaay too much noise doing any of it, and create far too much pollution. I sense we can do better and don't for many reasons. I would love to fly in one and will always be thankful when they are used to save lives in emergencies, and this is not jealousy, just appreciation. Jealousy would require that I think your helicopter makes you a more complete human being than I am, and I don't. I will continue to impose checks on how we utilize versus abuse their benefits in the spaces I share with other human beings outside my little bubble. To answer you directly Hamson, I would not carry your card in my wallet, though I would have second thoughts about getting in your helicopter. Question for you: I wonder- how much time you've spent in Highland park (outside of your helicopter)?


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