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FAA Cool On More Helicopter Regs In L.A.

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The FAA says cooperation, not regulation, is the answer to quelling complaints about helicopter operations throughout the Los Angeles basin. The agency released a report that rejected proposals to channel helicopter traffic into defined routes to address noise and the perception of dangerous operations. There are dozens of helicopter tour operators and news outlets whose aircraft have been the object of complaints for decades but the FAA report says trying to regulate those activities beyond what the FARs already dictate would be next to impossible given the huge numbers of aircraft operations in general in the region. It says, instead, that helicopter operators should adopt voluntary good neighbor policies, something politicians who've been fighting for increased regulation dismiss.

"Voluntary measures in the past have provided little relief for residents, and I am skeptical that without a determined effort to oversee them by the FAA that they will do so now," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who has led the call for regulation, told the L.A. Times . The report says voluntary measures targeting notorious trouble spots, including attractions like the Hollywood sign and Hollywood bowl, should be considered and local helicopter operators say they're not opposed to looking at that. "No one in the helicopter community has said there's no noise problem," Larry Welk, president of the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, told the Times. "Contrary to the public's perception, we are not a bunch of cowboys with utter disregard for those on the ground." The report also recommends setting up a streamlined system to handle citizen complaints and ensure they are heard by the parties involved, a move supported by various neighborhood associations who have been calling for action on the issue. "We have complex airspace and no one know this better than the FAA," Bob Anderson, chairman of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, told the Times. "There's definitely someplace for voluntary measures, but I also think there is a need for FAA regulation."

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