LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Responding to residents’ complaints about excessive helicopter noise during last year’s “Carmageddon” closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, local television news stations announced today they will take part in a pool system to reduce air traffic during this weekend’s repeat of the closure.
Coordinated by the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California, the pool will limit air traffic to a single helicopter that will fly over the closure area before the top of the hours when major newscasts are scheduled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings and Monday morning.
A single helicopter will make a “status-report” flight over the closure area on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but no other flights will take place unless an emergency occurs, according to the RTNA.
Rick Terrell of the RTNA said “air pools” are generally difficult to arrange “due to technical challenges and the natural competitive urges of TV news departments.”
“This time, however, local TV news directors have made an extraordinary commitment to cut down helicopter hovering and cooperate to get news pictures for their viewers,” Terrell said.
The stations that have joined the pool arrangement are ABC7, CBS2/KCAL9, KMEX, NBC4, KTLA and Fox11.
As part of the arrangement, airships from other stations will provide backup for the station providing the pool helicopter if breaking news occurs elsewhere in the city.
“We don’t control all helicopter activities to be sure, but ever since the first Carmageddon, credentialed broadcast-media choppers have gone far and wide — literally — to avoid excessive hovering at low altitudes and alleviate disturbance on the ground,” according to Jeff Baugh, a local helicopter reporter and head of RTNA’s airborne operations committee. “We hope it makes a big difference for the affected communities along the 405.”
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