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Helicopter Noise A Growing Problem For N. Va. Homeowners

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By David Schultz

Military helicopters are a common sight in the D.C. area. But some local homeowners say helicopters and the ear-splitting noise they make are becoming far too common.

Joe Ruth has grown accustomed to the sound of a helicopter a few hundred feet overhead. "That powerful woompf woompf woompf," he says. "You can almost feel the air pressure.

Ruth lives in north Arlington, about equidistant from CIA headquarters in Langley and the Pentagon. He says, sometimes, the helicopters shake his house.

"Oh yeah, you can feel the vibrations. If you're in the path of a helicopter you can really feel them coming," Ruth says.

Some other Northern Virginia homeowners like Ruth are growing frustrated. Several dozen attended a meeting in Arlington Wednesday with representatives from the military and the Federal Aviation Administration to talk about potential solutions.

FAA manager Bob Laser says there really aren't any. He can't even provide them with a warning about upcoming flights.

"The military operations that are being conducted in this area are not joyrides," Laser says. "They are bona fide missions, a lot of them that can't be spoken about.

Laser says helicopters crossing the Potomac River have to fly low to avoid airplanes landing at Reagan National. And with the airport getting busier and busier, homeowners should expect more noise.

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