HOW THE FAA MAKES DECISIONS
On July 16, 2013, Steven M. Taber of the "Aviation and Airport Development News"
reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the Federal Aviation Administration could require that
helicopters use a route one mile off the north shore of Long Island for the purpose of noise abatement in residential areas. Prior
to this decision, use of the route had been voluntary.
This decision has applicability to the helicopter issues at Torrance Airport:
- Few comments were received by the FAA opposed to the change. If you are concerned with the changes contemplated or made at
Torrance Airport, it is important to tell the FAA.
- Residents' complaints overrode safety considerations. Only 10 individuals made over 85% of the complaints to the regional
monitoring facility! At Torrance, a 16-month study revealed that only 12 individuals (not all Torrance residents) made over 50% of the
airport complaints. Overall, less than 0.3% of Torrance residents complained about the airport.
- The "voluntary" procedure was made mandatory. The implementation of "voluntary" procedures is no guarantee that they will not
be made mandatory!
- The measured sound levels were below minimums that FAA uses to define a noise problem. From 2010 through 2013,
less than 8 helicopters per year (average) violated the strict Torrance noise standards. Total violations were 227 per year (average).
- The Court concluded that the Congress gives “broad authorization to the FAA over the flight of aircraft to protect individuals and
property” and gives it the authority to promulgate protection from aircraft noise. It is interesting that no mention of flight safety