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Los Angeles Sure Does Have a Lot of Helicopters In Its Skies

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The New York Times loves their stories about how silly and sunny LA is--the latest piece is about all the whirly-birds flying over our sprawly skies. There may be more helicopters up there now than ever--from paparazzi to tourist tours to the mayor flying over Carmageddon. The people who live in the most helicopter-heavy neighborhoods are of course pissed because of the noise and lights, and the choppers even angered the Philharmonic's Gustavo Dudamel last week when they whirred over his adagio at the Hollywood Bowl. The Times also says that the homemade "Tourists Go Away" message below the Hollywood Sign was directed at helicopter-riding tourists. They talk to George Abrahams, director of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association (one of the many group embroiled in the Hollywood Sign Viewing Spot Wars over where to direct tourists in Hollywoodland)--he tracks the helicopters that fly over the canyon with high-powered binoculars.

But tracking and other efforts don't do a lot of good when "for all intents and purposes, [helicopters are] an unregulated industry." Helicopters can fly as low as they please as long as they don't crash, while the FAA doesn't monitor or regulate noise complaints. The Times also mentions the parking lot in the sky--the helicopter landing pads that top most LA skyscrapers (although commercial helicopters can only land on some of the pads). What's not mentioned is that the LAFD requires helipads on all towers 75 feet and taller and this is the only major American city with such a requirement.
· Helicopters Jam the Skies Above Los Angeles [NY Times]
· You've Got Stub, LA: Should City Change Its Skyline? [Curbed LA]