The Federal Aviation Administration is taking a cautious approach to regulating helicopter flights in the Los Angeles area, a San Fernando Valley lawmaker said Thursday, following a meeting on the issue in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Howard Berman, the FAA, and representatives from the Helicopter Association International appeared before the Aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to address safety and noise concerns created by low-flying helicopters in certain sections of Los Angeles.
In a conference call with reporters, Berman said he came away from the meeting with the opinion the FAA was cautious about imposing regulation on helicopters because it would be a lengthy process to do so.
“I would not say at this point they are prepared to take up the authority they have to do this,” Berman said. “My goal is to get rid of that reluctance.”
Attempts to reach a representative of the FAA were not successful.
Berman is sponsor of the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Relief Act that would require the FAA to come up with flight path and minimum altitude regulations for helicopter operations in Los Angeles County. The bill exempts law enforcement, emergency responders, and the U.S. military.
Helicopter noise has become a hot button issue in the Valley and other parts of Los Angeles that attract the low-flying aircraft, such as the Beachwood Canyon area in the Hollywood Hills near the Hollywood sign.
After the meeting ended, Berman said he spoke with Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, and invited Zuccaro out to Los Angeles for further discussion on the issue.
“He actually seemed quite open to work with us to create a system of some enforceable limitation on these operations,” Berman said.
The next step with the pending helicopter noise bill is to decide whether to make it stand alone legislation or to incorporate it into the FAA reauthorization bill now working its way through Congress, Berman said.