Congress OKs Measure to Cut Helicopter Noise in L.A. County

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For years, residents across Los Angeles County have complained about noise from low-flying helicopters, some of them carrying sightseers, paparazzi and even real estate agents. But new legislation, tucked into the massive federal spending bill approved by Congress last week, could offer relief.

latimes helicopter photo
A helicopter flies over the Robinson Helicopter Co.’s headquarters in Torrance. Community groups have been trying to work with the firm to reduce noise around its plant. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times / July 9, 2013)

The legislation requires the Federal Aviation Administration, within a year, to begin writing flight regulations to reduce the noise unless it can show that voluntary efforts are working.

The anti-noise measure, which applies only to the Los Angeles area, was included in a $1-trillion bill that funds federal agencies and programs through Sept. 30 and is designed to prevent another government shutdown. President Obama signed it into law Friday.

The FAA already has been working with neighborhood groups, anti-noise coalitions and helicopter pilots to come up with voluntary measures to reduce the number of annoying flights. A status report on the effort is due out soon.

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