Federal Aviation Administration officials said Wednesday that they will investigate complaints of noise from jetliners flying over Topanga Canyon.
Air traffic experts will meet with residents and take sound measurements in the 2,000-home community early next year, said Richard A. Cox, chief of the FAA's Terminal Radar Approach Control Division in Los Angeles.
If jet noise is shown to be a "significant problem" in the mountain community, officials may consider adjusting flight paths, Cox said.
Residents complained six weeks ago that jetliners flying from Los Angeles International Airport to Northern California create intolerable noise in the canyon as they pass about 10,000 feet overhead.
Homeowners threatened at the time to go to court if necessary to get the FAA's ear. But the FAA's pledge to listen to canyon complaints means a lawsuit will not be necessary, said Barry S. Glaser, a member of the board of the Topanga Canyon Town Council.
"The community is very pleased that a government agency is responding without the need for litigation," Glaser said.
Cox said an air-traffic controller at LAX, Fran Van Diver, has been assigned to study Topanga Canyon air traffic and residents' complaints.
Van Diver will also look into procedures used by air-traffic controllers who tell airliner pilots when to turn right--northward--after they take off over Santa Monica Bay on a departure flight path called "Gorman 5." About 70 commercial aircraft a day use the route.
Cox said he doubts that sound tests will show noise to be any worse in Topanga Canyon than in nearby Calabasas. Measurements taken at several Calabasas sites this year showed that noise is acceptable, he said.
But, he said, "We might get up in Topanga and find out something's happening we're not aware of."
He said other flight paths will have to be changed if the FAA decides to shift the "Gorman 5" departure route farther west over the Santa Monica Mountains.
"You would have to have a pretty significant noise problem to do that," Cox said. "It would have a major impact on other routes. . . . You would be moving the problem to someone else."