L.A. City Council backs legislation to regulate helicopters
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday backed legislation that would allow the Federal Aviation Administration to increase the regulation of helicopter flights across the county.
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.
Councilman Richard Alarcon voted against endorsing the bill, saying he was concerned about the potential effect on public safety and emergency-related flights.
"I have been fighting helicopter noise for years," Alarcon said. "But I want to make sure that police and fire are exempt. I wouldn't want to have a pilot worry about if they are flying in accordance with the FAA if a life is at stake."
Berman's bill states that the FAA may exempt certain emergency, law enforcement and military helicopter operations from the regulations it develops for civilian aircraft.
-- Dan Weikel