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Sherman Oaks News

FAA Gets An Earful
Posted by Charlie Golestani on Aug 7, 2012 - 3:03:59 PM

SHERMAN OAKSAn outpouring of public displeasure was heard at Monday’s open forum at Millikan Middle School. The messages were directed at FAA officials as citizens gathered from across Los Angeles.

The FAA hearing before Bill Withycombe, a regional administrator for the FAA, and Elizabeth Ray, vice president for mission support services in Washington D.C., pertained to helicopter flight patterns over residential neighborhoods, where residents have tired of the noise from low flying birds, either on tourist flights or from media outlets hoping to cover some breaking news story from above.

U.S. Congressman Howard Berman, photographed for the U.S. Congress' website
Though the majority of the crowd was made up of annoyed homeowners, a few pilots in the crowd spoke to the issue.

Chuck Street, pilot/reporter for KTLA and KIIS-FM, said he saw a lot of familiar flyers in the audience, pilots who took the concerns of residents very seriously and wished to work with them.  Street stated that when a noise complaint was relayed by the LAPD to the aircraft, the pilot would fly higher to comply.

“In my 35 years of flying I’ve never heard one media pilot refuse to do that, ever,” Street said.

However, citizens decried the necessity for such a call and also noted that measures taken by pilots to voluntarily maintain a height that was mutually beneficial for them and homeowners had not worked previously.

“We need enforceable, legal restrictions right now,” said Bob Anderson, a board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

The board suggested a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet, a bar from evening flight hours and hovering be kept to a one minute span in one area.

But Arnold Kleiner, president and general manager of Glendale’s KABC noted that his station’s helicopter already remained above police helicopters when covering a story, and thanks to technological advances in image capturing, could cover news farther off from other choppers and neighborhoods.

U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, whose district has notably complained of helicopter noise, requested the hearing.


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