Press Releases

Capital Region Delegation Continues to Press for Quiet Skies

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Washington, June 9, 2016 | comments

June 9, 2016 (Washington, DC) – Members of the National Capital Region House delegation today wrote Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta expressing concern over the din from military helicopters in their communities.

The group offered their assistance in helping Department of Defense (DOD) and FAA complete a report mandated by Rep. Beyer’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to study changes to the region’s helicopter flight routes, operating procedures, and even the types of helicopters flown in the national capital airspace to mitigate the effect of noise on the region’s neighborhoods:

“Our constituents are realistic about the noise helicopters generate and are sensitive to the operational needs of our military.  But they are correct in asking if alternatives to low altitude flyovers exist to mitigate the noise and vibrations from military helicopters, especially with the addition of large combat helicopters to the skies over Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland.  We are ready and able to assist Secretary Carter and the FAA in delivering a timely report by facilitating their outreach to our communities most impacted by these low altitude flyovers.”

At an Arlington community meeting last year with the FAA and every service branch, FAA reported that 144 helicopter operations take place each day in Northern Virginia alone; they estimate 75% of those are DOD missions. 

 

Read the full text below:

June 9, 2016
Ash Carter
Secretary
Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

 

Dear Secretary Carter:

We write concerning the increasing volume and frequency of military helicopter operations in the National Capital Region, which negatively affect our constituents.

This disturbance to residential areas is a constant source of concern and complaint from many constituents, even when the helicopters adhere to flight procedures and routes.  The noise and vibrations created by these trips can be alarming, especially when passing so close to residential areas at the low altitude dictated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

According to the FAA, at least 144 helicopter operations take place each day in the National Capital Region, of which 75 percent are Department of Defense (DOD) helicopters.  Especially concerning is the addition of the V-22 Osprey to the local residential airspace.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA) recently passed the United States House of Representatives.  As you may know, the NDAA included language directing the DOD, working with the FAA, to reevaluate air traffic control, air space design, airspace management, and the types of aircraft in operation, to address helicopter noise problems. 

The bill directs the Department and the FAA to develop recommendations for the reduction of military helicopter noise, taking into account the operational needs of the military while offering residents a much-needed reprieve from ubiquitous helicopter noise. In this endeavor, our offices are willing to support your outreach to communities to ensure the DOD and the FAA receive the most comprehensive information regarding the effects of military helicopter noise.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.  We, and our constituents, look forward to receiving your report as soon as possible.

Please contact Thomas Scanlon (thomas.scanlon@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Don Beyer’s office with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

                         Donald S. Beyer Jr.                                                                     Eleanor Holmes Norton

                         8th District, Virginia                                                                            Washington, D.C.

                            Chris Van Hollen                                                                                Gerry Connolly

                       8th District, Maryland                                                                       11th District, Virginia

Barbara Comstock

10th District, Virginia

Cc: Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Peter Huerta

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