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Hollywood Bowl Hopes Federal Law Will Shush the Hum of Helicopters on Concert Nights

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Poster from LA Phil
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Conductors and performers curse the skies, glower and sometimes even halt the performance when helicopters pass over the Hollywood Bowl. Now they're throwing their support behind a federal bill that would restrict low-flying helicopters."It's always been a problem, but now it's every concert. Not almost every concert, but every concert, multiple times. And it didn't use to be," Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic's president and chief executive, told the Los Angeles Times.

The audience hates it, she says: "On so many nights, you see people looking up and cursing under their breath, and there's sort of a group groan. On a good night, you can get a collective groan of 18,000 people."

The LA Phil has tried to play nice with helicopter pilots. It invites them to a concert and then has a helicopter interrupt the performance so that they'll understand how the noise ruins the concert. It puts out a strobe of light to let pilots know which nights a concert is going on. But to no avail — it's actually gotten worse Borda says.

The helicopter pilots' association responded by saying that a bill to restrict airspace where they can fly could "substantially decrease safety when many different aircraft types, which travel at different speeds, are no longer separated but are pushed closer together in the airspace."