While being touted for safety, Edison contracted helicopters have been flying at dangerously low altitudes over our community. Yesterday's (Tuesday) helicopter N350SC, it's flight pattern does not reflect its time in our tree tops or over Paradise Rd. Today's helicopter, N520NY, was a little better regarding height restrictions, but not by much. Both aircraft were operating around 150 - 400' and that's not okay.
After some brief research.... here's what I found, according to the FAA guidelines - (b) Over congested areas – Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open-air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft. (c) Over other than congested areas – An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
The helicopters operating in the past few days over Painted Cave have been doing sharp loops, and there is no visible cameras attached to the aircraft.
The office for our area to file a complaint about low flying aircraft is in Van Nuys. Phone: (818) 267-3300.
Well... nuts. Farther down it states - "(d) Helicopters – Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.
Helicopter operations may be conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft. The reason: they have unique operating characteristics, the most important of which is their ability to execute pinpoint emergency landings during power-out emergencies. Furthermore, the helicopter's increased use by law enforcement and emergency medical service agencies requires added flexibility."
Perhaps it's time for the FAA to update its regulations, as this is neither for law enforcement or emergency medical services.