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L.A. residents turn out to complain about helicopter noise

Los Angeles residents, concerned about the noise from media and sightseeing helicopters flying low over their neighborhoods, turned out to complain to the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday night at a public hearing in Sherman Oaks.

The FAA sought testimony from residents, community groups and helicopter pilots about the extent of the problem, where the noise is the loudest, which operators are the worst offenders and how the noise can be reduced.

"The helicopter flights are like having a group of bikers living next to you," said Jack Wilson of Studio City. "It's not law-enforcement flights. Most of it is being done by people trying to make a buck."

Federal regulators hope the discussion will contribute to a report they are preparing about the issue. The study is expected to be finished within a year and could form the basis for possible regulatory or legislative action.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Los Angeles) requested the hearing after his office received an extraordinary number of noise complaints during so-called Carmageddon -- the weekend closure of the San Diego Freeway last July to tear down a section of the Mulholland Bridge. During the work, helicopters carrying media, tourists and other curiosity seekers hovered for hours over and near the site.

Bob Anderson, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., which represents 2,300 property owners, called the issue "a citywide problem. These helicopters hover and circle for long periods of time.... We need enforceable, legal restrictions."

Anderson and others called for creating a minimal altitude of 2,000 feet for helicopter operations over neighborhoods, limiting hovering to one minute, establishing curfews for tourist flights and developing stringent flight limitations during the evening.

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-- Dan Weikel in Sherman Oaks

 
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