“Norton Introduces (another) Bill to Combat Helicopter Noise in D.C.”

Photo by Eric P.

From the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus and a member of the Subcommittee on Aviation, introduced a bill last Thursday that would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to submit a report and recommendations to Congress on how to reduce helicopter noise in the District of Columbia.

“I hear from D.C. residents almost daily about the negative impact of helicopter noise on their lives, despite the airspace restrictions related to being the nation’s capital,” Norton said. “The noise can be damaging to health and quality of life, and helicopters can even harm the structural integrity of homes. While I recognize the need for helicopters in D.C., the FAA and Congress must do more to mitigate the harm to D.C. residents. I will continue to work with federal agencies that fly helicopters in D.C. and on legislation to reduce helicopter noise for D.C. residents.”

In making its recommendations, the bill would require the FAA to consider altitude, frequency of flights, flight paths, flight timing, types of helicopters, operating procedures, and pilot training, among other factors. The bill would require the FAA to submit its recommendations to Congress not later than 180 days after enactment.

Norton has taken several steps to combat helicopter noise in D.C., including:

Last year, she introduced a bill that would require helicopters in D.C. to fly at the maximum altitude permitted by the FAA in D.C., with limited exceptions.
In 2021, she sent separate letters to the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Park Service asking them to fly their helicopters in D.C. at higher altitudes, limit nighttime flights and flights over residential areas, and provide advance notice to residents of prolonged training missions in particular areas.
In 2019, Norton led National Capital Region (NCR) members in requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study helicopter noise in the NCR. GAO released its report in January 2021. In March 2021, she introduced a bill that would require the FAA to implement GAO’s recommendation that the FAA establish a mechanism to exchange helicopter noise information with helicopter operators in the NCR.”

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