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Sun, Mar 27, 2022

NIMBY Congresswoman Proposing Max-Altitude Helo Flight Requirement

Upcoming Bill Would Require D.C. Area Helicopter Traffic to Fly Higher Above the City for Noise Reduction

Aero-Ignorant Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (Democrat from the District of Columbia), has announced her impending introduction of a bill that would require helicopters in DC-area airspace to fly at the maximum altitude permitted by the FAA. 

Norton is the co-chair of the simplistically-minded Quiet Skies Caucus as well as a member on the Subcommittee on Aviation. She has made a name for herself as a long time complainant over the amount of helicopter noise experienced by the average Washington DC citizen on a daily basis. Her office has not released much detail on the bill, other than the altitude requirement and a small range of exceptions to the rule that would include flights for active law enforcement investigations, presidential and transportation, and safety. 

The effort follows a few attempts on her part to end what she thinks is a scourge on the audiological cityscape of the bustling governmental center. In 2019, she led a group of members from the National Capital Region to request that the Government Accountability Office study helicopter noise in the area, which was released in 2021. That revealed that the 30-mile radius of Reagan National Airport saw 88,000 rotary aircraft flights over a 2-year span. The bulk of flights came from the military, at almost 40%, with air medical at 21%, general non-government and news at roughly 21%, and the remainder a mix of federal and state gov operations.

“I hear from D.C. residents almost daily about helicopter noise,” Norton said in tandem with the news. “Helicopters can harm health, quality of life and structural integrity of homes. I am pursuing a multipronged approach to combat helicopter noise in DC, from working with federal agencies that fly helicopters in DC airspace to pursuing legislation.”



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