Helicopter noise: It’s about give and take | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Helicopter noise: It’s about give and take

In politics, as in life, the process of give and take sometimes takes a back seat to specific goals of individuals or groups. In Lake Tahoe, we see this process time and time again in everything from development to the environment, to the schools our children attend.

Recent speculation about helicopter noise and some people’s grievances about it may be a poignant example of a time when give and take may be the best approach to resolving a problem that affects a few.

Although the bulk of helicopter noise in the Lake Tahoe basin comes from the CareFlight and CALSTAR air ambulance operations – and the occasional out-of-basin pilot flying too low per Federal Aviation Administration rules – some residents have been shaking their fist in the air at Claudio Bellotto’s tour operation. He flies sightseeing tours around landmarks like Emerald Bay and other areas of the basin for a profit, and occasionally the noise of his rotor grates the nerves of residents in search of silence.

Since his business launched last year, Bellotto said he has made a concerted effort to keep noise levels reasonable. He has one of the quietest choppers on the market, and he recently changed his minimum altitude in response to noise complaints. That’s give and take.

Relative to the sound of diesel trucks, Harley Davidsons and the stream of airplanes taking off and landing at the South Lake Tahoe airport, Bellotto’s air traffic decibels shouldn’t be such a source of frustration. And so far he has shown a flexibility in the way he does business. Until helicopters really do become a problem, maybe some of those complaining should show the same flexibility.

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