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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 16, 2014 | By Dan Weikel and Richard Simon
After an earlier effort by local lawmakers failed to fly, legislation designed to reduce helicopter noise and improve safety in the skies above Los Angeles County was finally approved by Congress on Thursday. A day after the House of Representatives passed the measure, the Senate voted in favor of the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act, sending the bill to the president's desk for his signature. The measure was tacked on to the omnibus budget bill, which also was approved and included $65 million each for the subway extension to Los Angeles' Westside and construction of a regional connector for all the county's light-rail lines.
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NATIONAL
December 20, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- With the proposed Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act unable to get off the ground in Congress, a group of lawmakers is turning to Plan B to try to nudge the Federal Aviation Administration to act more aggressively to reduce helicopter noise. Five Los Angeles-area lawmakers are seeking to attach language to a spending bill that would direct the FAA, within a year after the measure's passage, to begin writing rules to reduce helicopter noise unless it can show that voluntary noise-reduction efforts are working.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $325,000 fine against Southwest Airlines, claiming it improperly modified equipment on a small jet that has since flown more than 1,000 flights. The fine involved an anti-icing warning system on the windshield of a AirTran Airways Boeing 717 that was allegedly modified incorrectly in August 2011, according to the FAA. Southwest Airlines purchased AirTran Airways in 2012 and is in the process of merging the two carriers. Since then, the 717 plane has flown 1,140 flights, according with the FAA. The Boeing 717 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner with up to 138 seats, depending on the configuration.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue a warning to airlines flying certain Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 jumbo jets, advising that they avoid high-altitude thunderstorms after instances of icing. The anticipated move comes after Boeing notified airlines last week that the planes, outfitted with the GEnx engine made by General Electric Co., could have icing problems if they flew close to the storms. The warning is an “interim action to make sure pilots avoid icing conditions that could affect engine power and possibly damage the engine,” the FAA said.
NATIONAL
November 14, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate what passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight this week described as a scary dive before the flight leveled off and made a normal landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina. Flight 3426 was coming from Tampa, Fla., late Tuesday when passenger Shelley Wills said the public address system came on and the pilot said, “'We're going down.' And everyone is looking around like, 'Is this a joke? Is he serious?' And then you felt the nosedive,” Wills told WTVD-TV in Raleigh.
BUSINESS
November 6, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
United Airlines on Wednesday joined three other major carriers in lifting the restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during takeoffs and landings. Passengers on mainline United flights can now keep their electronic gadgets turned on throughout the flight as long as they are switched to "airplane mode" and are not emitting a signal. Cellphone calls are still prohibited on commercial planes in the U.S. The Federal Aviation Administration announced a new policy on portable electronic devices on Friday, and already JetBlue Airways and Delta and American airlines have received approval from the FAA to lift the restrictions.
BUSINESS
November 4, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Online behemoth Amazon.com launched a one-day sale Monday on Kindle readers, taking advantage of new federal rules easing restrictions on using portable electronic devices on planes. The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that passengers can use such devices even when the plane is below 10,000 feet as long as they are switched to "airplane mode. " In the past, all electronic devices had to be shut down and stowed until planes were cruising at above 10,000 feet.
BUSINESS
November 4, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
American Airlines became the latest carrier to get federal clearance to lift restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during takeoffs and landings. The Forth Worth-based airline will begin Monday afternoon to allow passengers to use electronic readers, tablets, music players and other portable gadgets while their planes are below 10,000 feet, as long as they are switched to "airplane mode. " The change comes only a few days after the Federal Aviation Administration announced plans to lift the restrictions as long as airlines  can prove it will cause no ill effect on their navigation and communications systems.
BUSINESS
November 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Let's admit it: Almost no one listens to the safety instructions that flight attendants give at the start of each flight. Even the airlines know it. That is why so many have tried to enliven their safety messages. Over the last week, Virgin America and Delta Airlines have unveiled new safety videos that are shown to passengers to get the message across in an attention-grabbing way. Delta's new video has a holiday spin, featuring Christmas elves, Santa Claus, snowmen, and Alex Trebek from the television game show "Jeopardy.
BUSINESS
November 1, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
It didn't take long for airlines to adopt the new policy that lets passengers use portable electronic devices during takeoffs and landings. A day after the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would lift the restrictions, Delta Airlines and JetBlue Airways each said passengers on their planes could take advantage of the new rules starting Friday. Under the new rules, passengers can use music players, electronic tablets, e-readers, smartphones and other devices throughout a flight as long as they are switched to "airplane mode" and are not emitting a signal.
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