Fort Worth

Tarrant County Neighbors Frustrated Over Helicopter Noise

People living in north Tarrant county are frustrated and angry.

The problem: They say their neighbors over at Bell Helicopter are making too much noise.

The complaints started back in May 2016. Bell Helicopter said they would fix the problem, but people say nothing has been done.

Keller, North Richland Hills, and Watauga residents who say they’re affected by helicopter noise feel their complaints are being left unheard. They want the helicopters to either fly higher, or change their route.

The original flight path took both northbound and southbound helicopters alongside the 277 corridor, but after a number of noise concerns, the company shifted northbound air traffic along Rufe Snow Drive.

That change introduced noise to another group of residents.

Now, people who live in Keller are voicing concerns over the new northbound route that goes up Rufe Snow, and then directly over their homes. They claim Bell helicopter is not doing what they said they would and the noise is unacceptable.

“We’ve left messages on their 1-800 number, we get to go to a voicemail and leave a complaint, and we get to complain on line, and no one ever responds to us,” said Cyndi McLaughlin, a Keller resident.

“I want to walk outside my house and not hear a helicopter. I want to walk outside my house and hear the birds, I want to hear the geese, I want to hear my children playing and I don’t want to hear any more helicopters. I’m extremely upset about it, because I can’t do anything about it. My hands are completely tied. My only choice is to sell my home to some unsuspecting buyer and pass the problem to them.”

“Five times in Bell’s own documentation, flying over noise sensitive areas, they suggest flying a minimum of 2,000 feet above the ground, and yet they are flying at only 1,000 feet above the ground,” said Eric Schmidt, Keller city councilmember.

“The vibration coming through, the sound of the windows, the noise coming over the house. It is an entire nuisance,” said Keller resident Brian Campbell.

We reached out to Bell Helicopter. A spokesperson tells NBC 5:

“We are actively working on solutions to minimize the noise impact to our neighbors. We have rerouted a portion of our flights to Arlington, Fort Worth/Meacham and Alliance airports including some of the larger twin engine aircraft, late-evening flights and flights on days with cloud cover, which forces the aircraft to fly at lower altitudes.

When diverting flights into airport airspace, each operation requires a case-by-case approval from air traffic control and is not always possible.

We are also evaluating a longer-term solution that would divert even more of the flights. We don’t have an immediate solution, but our senior leadership team has made it a priority to evaluate all other flight options.”

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