Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and others chide FAA on helicopter noise

Are you a Los Angeles-area resident tired of having helicopters hovering over your home?

The good news is that members of the area’s Congressional delegation, who know how important this issue is to quality of life, are fighting on your behalf. The bad news? The Federal Aviation Administration is not moving as fast to curb this noise as the Congressman and Senators would like.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Reps. Henry Waxman, Alan Lowenthal, Karen Bass, Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff and Tony Cardenas, expressed their displeasure this week to FAA administrator Michael Huerta. You can find the 56-page helicopter noise report, which they cite in the letter, by clicking here. The production of that FAA noise report was supposed to be the first step is reducing helicopter noise around L.A.

FAA Helicopter Noise Letter

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FAA: Pilots cannot live Tweet your flight. Or use their phones for personal reasons.

FAA Final Rule

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said airline pilots may not use Personal Electronic Devices — iphones, iPads and the like — during all phases of operations. The rule takes effect in 60 days, according to the FAA.

“This rule will ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute to the challenge of task management on the flight deck and do not contribute to a loss of situational awareness due to attention to non-essential activities.”

The rules give examples of a couple of cases in which the use of personal devices caused problems in flight.

“In one instance, two pilots were using their personal laptop computers during cruise flight and lost situational awareness, leading to a 150 mile fly-by of their destination,” the rule states. “In another instance, a pilot sent a text message on her personal cell phone during the taxi phase of the flight after the aircraft pushed back from the gate and before the take-off sequence.”

In a post last week, I credited a few pilots who use their phones to give Twitter followers a glimpse at what happens in the flight deck. They include Brad Tate, a major airline first officer who takes some great shots, using, I think, his phone. This is one of them:

My guess is we’ll see a lot fewer pictures like that in future, though I suppose it could still be within the rules for a pilot to snap a few photos and upload them post flight. What’s certainly true is we won’t see any live tweeting from the flight deck.

Here’s the main point of the new rule, in FAA legal lingo:

During all flight time as defined in 14 CFR 1.1, no flight crewmember may use, nor may any pilot in command permit the use of, a personal wireless communications device (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 44732(d)) or laptop computer while at a flight crewmember duty station unless the purpose is directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications, in accordance with air carrier procedures approved by the Administrator.

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LAX: Four-hour FAA ground stop impacts flights Wednesday morning

Air traffic control slowed flights to Los Angeles International Airport for about four hours Wednesday morning due to fog. We’re not San Francisco, but because the airport is right on the Pacific Ocean, this happens with some regularity.

Before noon on Wednesday, among large carriers, Fedex diverted two flights while Aeromexico diverted one. Among smaller regional airlines, Skywest diverted five flights and Compass diverted one. Skywest flies under the United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection brands, while Compass flies as Delta Connection.

Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration based in Los Angeles, was kind enough to answer some simple questions for me about the ground stop via email.

How long was the ground stop? Looks like 5:55 to 9:20 a.m. (Update: Since Ian and I spoke, there was another ground stop between 10:25 and 11:30 a.m. For the latest information, try the FAA’s website.)

Were both arrivals and departures impacted? Some LAX arrivals were temporarily held at departure airports within approximately an hour’s flying time from LAX. A few airborne flights diverted to Ontario.

What changes during poor weather? Is there increased spacing? – Increased
spacing, some airlines have policies that don’t allow crews to land in the
worst fog conditions, some crews are not trained to land in the worst fog
conditions.

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Colby Fire in Angeles National Forest has limited impact on L.A. aviation

As local readers know, Los Angeles has a forest fire burning in the Angeles National Forest, about 30 miles northeast of downtown L.A. As of late Thursday morning, an FAA spokesman said, there have not been any delays at any of the region’s airports. There has been, however a Temporary Flight Restriction around the fire meant to protect air crews trying to put out the blaze. It’s in effect until Jan. 19.

I was at LAX this morning, and the scene was ominous.Keep reading to see a video of a landing of a Qantas A380. Can you believe how dark it is?

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