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Carmageddon II: TV stations to pool helicopter coverage

September 26, 2012 |  5:35 pm

Los Angeles television stations have formed a pool plan for the upcoming Carmageddon weekend that officials with the local Radio and Television News Assn. call “unprecedented” and say will drastically cut down on the number of helicopters flying over Westside homes.

Complaints about helicopter noise reached a fever pitch after the first closure of the 405 Freeway in July 2011, when residents complained that media and touring helicopters hovered low over their homes to get good shots of the empty highway.

With a second 10-mile closure between the 10 and 101 Freeways on tap for this weekend, Rick Terrell, Executive Director of the RTNA of Southern California, said at least a half-dozen news organizations worked together to compromise.

“We’re trying to keep it as quiet as we can, and still report the news,” Terrell said. ”These are our viewers. This is very important to them, and I think that made this cooperative effort easier than I expected. We’re all pulling in the same direction.”

Rather than sending up a helicopter from each station for each news broadcast, Terrell said, pilots will fly in shifts. Only one helicopter from member stations -- including KABC, KCBS/KCAL, KMEX, KNBC/KVEA, KTLA and KTTV –- will go up at a time. He said the pool plan calls for three flights per night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings prior to each major newscast at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. respectively. He said one helicopter will also be sent out about 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Each helicopter will remain in the air about 15 minutes at most, Terrell said.

The announcement comes days after Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) and Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Sherman Oaks resident Bob Anderson held a press conference asking that helicopter operators flying above the closure to be mindful of residents and their sleep.


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-- Matt Stevens

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