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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Fire Crew Training Draws Noise Complaints

PUBLIC SERVICE/FIRE

Helicopter activity has picked up over the city of Corvallis, Ore. and at its municipal airport in recent weeks, and that has drawn questions and some complaints from residents, the news service Salem-News.com reports.

Fourteen helicopters flocked to the airport, where Helicopter Transport Services, Inc. conducts spring training and certification for aerial firefighting crews. The training is to prep crews to operate with the Erickson S-64E Helicopter Transports sends on fires. But it is conducted not in that beast, but a Bell 214. Its Huey-like "wop wop wop" signature drew the attention of residents, the news service reports, some of whom questioned why the aircraft must fly straight over the city at a low altitude.

The training includes checking out crews to fly ILS glide slope approaches to Corvallis Municipal’s runway, since honed skills at flying on instruments are handy when you’re operating in and around smoke and foul weather. But the glide slope draws a bead right over the city and its Reser Stadium, "the official site" of Oregon State University athletics.

In an attempt to "fly neighborly," Helicopter Transport took the training flights to other towns’ airports.

The spring training is almost done. The FAA was conducting check rides for the crews in mid-April.

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