Citizens Organizing Over Helicopter Noise In Tarrant County

Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

TARRANT COUNTY (CBS11) – Yard signs have started popping up in front of homes in Keller, telling Bell Helicopter to “Stop the Noise.”

Facebook groups are adding members, posting videos of helicopter passes and screen grabs from radar tracking apps.

And people in northern Tarrant County who have complained more than a year about noise from helicopters, are starting to get organized in an effort to speed up a permanent solution to the problem.

“It almost brings me to tears sometimes because of the aggravation, the noise,” said Nancy Lehr, part of a group of residents who met outside Keller’s city hall Wednesday.

Many of those involved are retired, work from home or are home with their kids. They agreed they likely make up the majority of the 2,429 complaints Keller said Bell had logged through February.

But the repetitive flights have become more than a nuisance, they said.

“Day in and day out, I was so frustrated, I didn’t know what to do,” said Cyndi McLaughlin. “I actually wanted to move.”

The noise started in 2015 when Bell consolidated training operations to its headquarters in Fort Worth.

Pilots then had to fly to training air space north of the Texas Motor Speedway. When the flight path along Hwy 377 took helicopters over too many homes, Bell split the traffic, with northbound flights following Rufe Snow Drive. It cut the noise for some, and introduced it to others, like McLaughlin.

“I had no concern because I had no idea,” she said of the initial flights. “Nobody explained what was really happening. It was just a bunch of people who were complaining about air traffic.”

That changed as days and months wore on.

In 2016, CBS11 reported Bell was working with the FAA to fly at higher altitude, something the company later decided was too complex. Suggestions to fly along I-35 were met with a letter from the FAA that it would put helicopters too close to high performance air traffic flying into Alliance airport.

Bell started rerouting louder helicopters to Arlington and Fort Worth Meacham airports when air traffic is lighter, and is sending night flights over I-35 when there is approval from the Alliance Tower.

In an emailed statement Wednesday, Bell said, “We are sensitive to the noise impact of our flight training operations and have tried to balance this concern while maintaining safe operations to and from our north training field.”

The company also repeated that it continues to work toward a permanent solution. A request to the Zoning Commission in Fort Worth Wednesday, may give some insight to that plan.

The request from consulting company Kimley Horn and Associates, asks to rezone about 140 acres of flood plain south of Bell’s headquarters, into a Planned Development. That development would include a “helicopter flight training facility.”

The Fort Worth City Council is scheduled to hear the request May 16.

More from Jason Allen

One Comment

  1. Zane Adams says:

    I am continually amazed by the NIMBY’s in our modern world.
    These people live in one of the most active aviation communities in the country. Thousands of jobs are here because of aviation. The 10th busiest airport in the WORLD is within 10 miles of these people. One of the top helicopter companies in the world is in Tarrant County.
    80% of the complaints probably come from 2 or 3 people. And to top it off, these people want that company to stop flying over “their” houses and fly over someone else’s house.

    They think it’s loud there? they should live in Arlington where the airliners, medical helicopters, Airbus Helicopter AND Bell fly over.

    They live in a BIG city… First World Problem’s indeed.

  2. I live in the same area as the complaints and the people making the complaints are ridiculous. You have Meacham, Alliance, and NASJRB all within flying range and all they can complain about is Bell( I got news for you other brands of Helicopters fly the same route, careflight?). I hear the helicopters too, but it’s no where near as bad as they are making it out to be. You live in a city, not the middle of green acres. It’s absolutely ridiculous to complain like they are, they make it sound like Bell is intentionally hovering over their houses in the middle of the night. Get over it, your next door neighbor’s teen with the loud car stereo is worse than the helicopter that you hear for 15 seconds. Next they will complain that ambulances responding to medical emergencies need to turn off their sirens and slow down, because they are retired and want quiet all day.
    In other news, Old Man yells at cloud…

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App
Drip Pan: Restaurant Week 365

Watch & Listen LIVE