Press Releases

Beyer Hails DOD Report On Reducing Helicopter Noise In National Capital Region, Urges Swift Implementation Of Recommendations

July 23, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer today released a new report from the Department of Defense (DOD), Review and Assessment of Mitigation of Military Helicopter Noise. The report, which was completed as a result of Beyer’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) FY 2021, included recommendations long sought by Beyer and other regional lawmakers to mitigate helicopter noise in the National Capital Region.

“The recommendations in this report reflect priorities my constituents have sought for years to reduce helicopter noise in Northern Virginia, and would make a real difference across the region,” said Beyer. “In particular, the commitment from DoD to study the possibility of increasing altitudes of helicopter routes would be a real game changer. The other action items would further help reduce noise and boost transparency and engagement with the community. I thank the Department of Defense for undertaking and releasing this report, and urge the rapid implementation of these recommendations.”

The report, recently delivered to Members of Congress, analyzes the causes and effects of helicopter noise and assesses their impacts in the National Capital Regions, and also contains the following recommendations:

1. DoD will engage in discussions with FAA on the possibility of increasing altitudes of helicopter routes within the confines of flight safety and practicable action. Safety of flight and de-confliction of commercial fixed-wing air traffic and helicopters will always take priority over noise issues. However, it may be possible to raise the altitude of helicopter routes or segments of routes in a way that will reduce community noise exposure and not interfere with fixed-wing air traffic. The importance of safety of flight is discussed in the ACRP study, which references the limits of such an approach in the equally congested Los Angeles airspace.

2. DoD will continue working with the MWAA and FAA on receiving, tracking, and analyzing helicopter noise complaints in the NCR to identify potential trends, problem areas, and, if necessary, determine what if any adjustments can be taken by the Army Aviation Brigade, 1st Helicopter Squadron, and Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron 1 (HMX-1) within the limits of mission and safety requirements.

3. DoD will work with FAA to obtain flight track data trends that will provide insight into overall compliance with local flight procedures and helicopter routes, and address any potential corrective actions, as needed, to be taken by Army Aviation Brigade, 1st Helicopter Squadron, and Marine Corps HMX-1 within the limits of mission and safety requirements.

4. DoD will work closely with Army Aviation Brigade, 1st Helicopter Squadron, and Marine Corps HMX-1 to ensure “fly neighborly” and “fly friendly” procedures are being reinforced. DoD will investigate the use of “fly neighborly” resources and training programs offered by FAA and HAI.

Beyer has been a longtime leader in seeking solutions to the problem of persistent aircraft noise, one of the top complaints from constituents in the National Capital Region.