Berkeley Appeals to TV Stations to Reduce "News" Helicopter Noise

DECEMBER 8, 2011

At its meeting Dec. 6 the Berkeley City Council voted to send a letter to local TV stations requesting greater consideration of the noise impacts of helicopters on residents. The letter was addressed to KTVU 2, KTSF 26, CBS 5/KPIX, KRON 4, ABC 7, and NBC Bay Area.

The Federal Aviation Administration has set minimum altitudes for flight of fixed-wing aircraft over urban and residential areas but no such minimum for helicopters, despite heated calls across the country for better regulation of helicopter flight.

The city council's letter acknowledged that TV stations have an important role in gathering news, but states that the TV stations' aerial reporters should respect the quality of life of residents below. The council specifically requested that helicopters not fly below 1,000 feet above ground and that the duration of hovering in one spot should be limited.

The council applauded KTVU for measures the station has taken voluntarily to mitigate noise impacts.

Many of the offending helicopters operate from the Hayward Airport.

Copies of the council's letter were sent to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Oakland Airport Noise Forum (the Hayward Airport has no similar public forum).