Notice wanted for helicopters

Concerns over noise have officials seeking agreements with operators.

May 07, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

Responding to noise concerns across the San Fernando Valley, leaders at Bob Hope Airport directed officials to seek agreements with helicopter operators that call for advance notice of training operations.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday approved an operating agreement with Van Nuys-based Briles Wing and Helicopter Inc. to conduct operations at Bob Hope Airport.

Helicopter training operations differ from those of fixed-wing aircraft because they take place quickly, resulting in repeated flights at short intervals and at low altitude over the same nearby houses, airport officials said.


“If we can get better advance notice, it will be helpful in our efforts to communicate with the neighbors who live nearby,” said Dan Feger, executive director of the airport authority. “These operators have already demonstrated their willingness to observe our safety requirements by avoiding arrivals and departures on taxiways, and we hope they will be receptive to letting us know as a matter of course when they wish to come to the airport for pilot training.”

Briles became the third Van Nuys-based helicopter operator since 2005 to execute a Burbank operating agreement, which restricts helicopter pilots from operating within 200 feet of light aircraft.

The pilots must also make their approach to, and/or land on, a runway rather than a taxiway.

Van Nuys-based Helicopter operators have come to Bob Hope Airport in recent years to conduct “touch-and-go” flight training, a maneuver prohibited in Van Nuys.

Commissioners at the meeting Monday expressed concerns over noise associated with the helicopter training flights, but officials advised them that federal requirements mandated the authority to grant access to the airport.

Van Nuys Airport officials approved the limits before a federal law in 1990 prevented new airport restrictions on aircraft operations.

As an alternative, commissioners directed officials to seek agreements that notify the airport when helicopter operators intend to bring pilots to conduct “repetitive ‘touch and go’ training operations.”

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