Happy New Year to one and all:
We as helicopter pilots – be it private, commercial and or public services helicopter pilots and members of the Professional Helicopter Pilot Association or not – are facing an ever increasing challenge from homeowners complaints and resultant threats from politicians of greater regulation due to helicopter noise in the Los Angeles area. We have met this challenge head on with a united effort and an increased awareness of the need to fly higher and avoid noise sensitive areas whenever possible.
We, and PHPA as an organization, have stepped forward to meet these challenges through numerous meetings with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Los Angeles Area Helicopter Noise Coalition representatives and work with the Helicopter Association International. Progress is being made every day. But the challenge is ongoing to find solutions that allow homeowners relief and at the same time allow us to do our jobs.
We have filed a Part 13 Request (above) for Informal Investigation with Federal Aviation Administration concerning the closure of the LAX Heliport by Los Angeles World Airports (“LAWA”) as we feel that the proper procedures were not followed nor were proper notices given to warn of this closure and that the closure itself is unwarranted and unwise. More to follow as our complaint works its way through legal procedures as the FAA investigates this matter. This is vital heliport that has been available for public use since prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Please see the P.S. below and the attached Part 13 Request for Informal Investigation.
A new challenge has reared its ugly head – remote controlled or autonomous flying machines known generically as UAS (unmanned aerial systems) or singularly as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or popularly as drones. The UAS are often platforms for a camera. Close encounters with these UAS are on the raise daily. The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to address the ever growing problem of how to control, let alone regulate, these UAV’s and their operators.
Be aware and be alert – “see and be seen” – its back to basics until the technology and regulation allows us to catch up with this new hazard. Be it with self-generated safety shields for “sense and avoid”, TCAS-like systems or an encoded chip that limit the flight envelope of these new aerial vehicles, solutions must be found to protect us and the airspace in which we fly. For birds, balloons, kites and now for UAS, we as helicopter pilots must constantly increase our situational awareness and scan the skies on each and every flight on which we lift off.
Beware – be safe – be alert. Always.
P.S. Further information regarding LAX Heliport.
The LAX Heliport effort has been going on for well over four years now, and particularly in the last year and a half. Our objective is to get the beautiful and convenient LAX Heliport re-opened. It was closed, announced to be only for one year, in 2010 for construction in the vicinity; that construction was not finished until late 2012 but it was not reopened. Rather LAWA attempted to de-certify it in early 2013. We have not succeeded – yet – in getting it re-opened despite numerous appearances of operators and of public service and public safety representatives before the Villaraigosa Board of Airport Commissioners and now the Garcetti Board of Airport Commissioners.
Out of frustration and substantial concern for the potential loss of this marvelous and critical asset at LAX for arrival and departure of local, national and international passengers using helicopter services throughout greater Los Angeles, we have submitted to the FAA the attached Part 13 Request for Informal Investigation of LAWA’s actions and for a review of Federal funding provided to LAWA in the hopes of resolving this matter. There is no good reason why the NOTAM closing the LAX Heliport fully four years ago, requested by LAWA, cannot be lifted and this marvelous heliport returned to active service for all of us and for our clients. It takes only a decision by LAWA. No more.
Please review the attached Part 13 Request for Informal Investigation attached, if you would. We need additional individuals to work on this project; if you are interested in this matter, or if you have access to the Mayor Garcetti’s office or to the Los Angeles City Council, please do not hesitate to call Edward Story, 310-318-2100 or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.