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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LAPD's Chopper Force Moving to Van Nuys Airport

Flight operations of the Piper Tech Hooper Heliport, LAPD's base of air operations, will temporarily relocate from its sprawling rooftop pads downtown to Van Nuys Airport. The move is part of construction happening at the downtown site.

Residents living in nearby Lake Balboa, Van Nuys, Encino, Northridge and Sherman Oaks neighborhoods have long battled against helicopter traffic originating from Van Nuys Airport (VNY); it will be interesting to see how they respond to the two- to three-month relocation of all LAPD operations to their backyard skies.

While LAPD is often said to have the largest non-military "air force" in the nation (and there is little reason to doubt it), I was surprised to learn, when I wrote a piece about cops' claim that they needed an air unit dedicated to supporting Valley-based operations, there is never more than one LAPD chopper patrolling the city from the air at any given time. That claim, of course, does not include emergency, or crime-scene situations, just general patrols.

Republic Of L.A. is waiting to hear back from the National Helicopter Noise Coalition, based in Encino, as well as Los Angeles World Airports, which runs VNY.

For its part the airport is offering this number for concerns from residents: 818-909-3529, as well as an 800 number for noise-specific complaints: 800-560-0010

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