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Loud Early Morning Helicopter
updated: Aug 17, 2014, 9:56 AM

By Edhat Subscribers

Several edhatters reported a loud helicopter flying low over neighborhoods early Sunday morning.

  • 5:20 am: Seriously, why is there a loud helicopter flying over Patterson from 4:30am through present (5:20am)?!?! I was wakened by this noise.

  • 6:15 am: What is that helicopter doing? It's so early!

  • 7:28 am: Last night there was a loud, low-flying helicopter at around 3:30 AM that flew right above my house near 154 and Foothill. It was so loud that it sounded like it was going to crash and woke me up. What could it be? Are helicopters allowed to fly that low over residential neighborhoods at night?

  • 6:30 pm: Helicopters over Foothill, Patterson, Mission Canyon were looking for suicidal motorcyclist. The motorcyclist may have died in a crash off of North San Marcos Road in the 2000 area. At about 11:15 two residents heard the whine of a full throttle road race bike and a crash. Nothing was found but in searching from a car with flashlights residents encountered sheriffs cruising looking for a bike. The residents informed them of hearing the crash. The search was narrowed. The residents continued searching and encountered another sheriff that informed them that a room mate of the motorcyclist sought had found a suicide note. At 3:00 AM a helicopter with search light combed the slopes below North San Marcos, perhaps after fire department personnel had located the rider. After the chopper located, it landed on a ridge SE of the crash site, lifted off after about 5-10 minutes, then lowered a man onto the slopes. The chopper returned to the landing site to the SE. After 15 minutes the chopper lifted off again and hovered for 4 minutes at a spot slightly upslope from dropping the personal off, presumably lifting the rider to the helicopter. The condition of the rider is not known. He traveled at an estimated 90 mph max, launched upwards off a roadside berm, perhaps 300 feet horizontal and up to 100 feet vertical to crash onto a slope. The motorcycle travelled further downwards.

    Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

     COMMENT 545350 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 10:05 AM

    Yes. Very loud at 3 something over Mission Canyon Heights. Another one around 4 also that went to Cottage Hospital and then it took off from Cottage around 5. So, woken up 3 times in 3 hours. Didn't really bother me though since someone was obviously having a more difficult night. Hope all is well.


     COMMENT 545357P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 10:18 AM

    I was woken up, on the Westside, at 5:30am by one flying over. Sounded low, too, but can't be sure as I didn't actually see it.


     COMMENT 545359 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 10:22 AM

    Rescue operation, traffic accident victim going to the hospital.


     COMMENT 545362P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 10:32 AM

    Noozhawk has the story

    We heard it in San Roque



     COMMENT 545371 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 10:44 AM

    Definitely loud, but I know the IDs of the local helicopters based on the sounds they emit- it was CalSTAR. -Turnpike/Hollister


     MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 12:38 PM

    Yes, very loud and low around 3:30AM on Mountain Drive.


     COMMENT 545445P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 01:54 PM

    About the same time out here in Summerland. Certainly doubt it has anything to do with a crash on 154.


     COMMENT 545466 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 02:55 PM

    Good thing 545371 knows the helicopters by sound... considering it was Ventura County... Not CalSTAR


     COMMENT 545473 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 03:09 PM

    445 - +1 Shook Summerland.


     COMMENT 545488 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 04:03 PM

    It was a Ventura County Sheriff airship sent to rescue the motorcycle rider off of North San Marcos road around 330, landed at cottage, went to the airport for fuel and then back to Ventura. I think it's funny that people gripe over life saving measures in the case of the motorcycle accident, but don't say anything when just an hour ago a SB County helicopter responded to a shoulder dislocation for a ground level fall at Santa Cruz Island. That is a injury that can wait for a boat ride, not a thousand dollar (fuel) helicopter ride.


     COMMENT 545493 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 04:19 PM

    We, in the Cottage Hospital neighborhood, are awakened ALL the TIME from VERY loud close and low helicopters coming and going. It's one thing to know that they are "there" to rescue us but why did SB allow them to expand the hospital in the middle of a residential neighborhood....all the retirement homes are disturbed and to be honest-it is like living in airport & parking lot!!!! Talk about constant stress...


     COMMENT 545504 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 05:15 PM

    @493, if I lived in the Cottage Hospital neighborhood, I'd be trying really hard to move. The medical-nonprofit-industrial complex that comprises the web of related and affiliated centers and clinics and more is only going to continue to grow at the expense of local residents. Rather than putting a new hospital at someplace like Earl Warren, the good of the community at large meant sacrificing the livability of your 'hood. With winners come losers. Get out while you can.


     FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 05:23 PM

    Put a hospital at Earl Warren? It's not in the middle of nowhere. The Samarkand neighborhood and housing along Via Real would have the problem of helicopters.


     COMMENT 545513 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 05:39 PM

    Frankly I'd rather have helicopter transports going over head than police choppers going around and around illuminating the neighborhood at all hours of the night chasing down bad guys. Glad I don't live in LA.

    And to be nowhere near a hospital and only have to tolerate the inconvenience a few times a year for a rescue emergency is really a small price to pay to have that service nearby.


     COMMENT 545520P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 05:58 PM

    Upper Hope here and the helicopters were buzzing thru here from around 3:30 to 5:45 a.m. So loud and close it shook the Windows several times. This is not in the path to or from Cottage. I figured that someone from Edhat would know.


     COMMENT 545523 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 06:10 PM

    @Flic, you can't have a hospital in the middle of nowhere. It has to be somewhere in the City. Earl Warren was a good compromise site, and flight paths could have avoided Sam. But it's too late now for the 'hood in question.


     COMMENT 545530 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 06:36 PM

    545493 - Just wondering how long you have lived in the SBCH neighborhood. Less than 120 years? Because SBCH has been there since 1891. So, I'm pretty sure you were aware that you were moving into a neighborhood, next to a hospital, that might be a tad noisy with sirens and all. But maybe not. To be fair, you probably were there before the helipad was planned and operational and went to every public planning and neighborhood town-hall meeting. Ok, I'll give you that. But seriously. Good grief. These are critically ill patients. Let's pause there. Critically. Ill. Patients. And your constant stress? I'm just shocked an exhausted at the constant lamenting about the inconvenience of the noise. Not to mention, we seem to blame SBCH for every noisy aircraft in the county. Can we please let this go? I'm honestly not trying to be rude, but rather attempting to offer a little perspective here.


     COMMENT 545541 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 08:29 PM

    I think this is why I worry about society now. This helicopter saved someone's life this morning and you people are mad because it shook your windows? What if it was your life it was saving?


     YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-17 08:32 PM

    I'm in Cottage neighborhood, well before remodel/rebuild. I have no problem with medical helicopters, sleep through some. Am surrounded by ambulance sirens also. But yes, I choose to live here and am not going to leave because of the noise. about the search last night? Stuff happens.


     COMMENT 545569P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 07:48 AM

    513 You're so right. I used to live in LA and police helicopters - spotlights and all - often flew over,usually very late at night just as you were falling asleep; sometimes they'd circle for an hour.

    Heard that helicopter the OP posted about and figured there was a very good reason they were up there. Hope the guy will be okay. Was also good to hear that residents were out looking for the person; thanks to involved citizens!


     COMMENT 545572 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 08:04 AM

    504 and 530 I have lived in the Santa Barbara area for over 60 years. One of the first neighborhoods I lived in as a child was the Cottage Hospital neighborhood on Bath street. Oak park was like our own private playground to explore in those days and the neighborhood was always VERY quiet. Perhaps the height of irony, given these current comments, is that on my way to school at Garfield Elementary (now the adult education center) I would walk past (or ride my bike past) Cottage Hospital. There were white street signs posted around the area, with black lettering that said "Quiet, Hospital Zone". Now there are just signs prohibiting, or putting time limits on, vehicular parking on the surrounding streets.


     COMMENT 545598 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 08:52 AM

    I've lived near Cottage Hospital in the west downtown area long before the expansion. It is a rare day that I hear a helicopter, but I was awakened by several extremely loud low flying ones early Sunday morning from 4:20 on. I knew it was either a big rescue or an invasion. Thankfully it was the former.


     COMMENT 545642 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 10:44 AM

    From US Census bureau:
    SB County population in 1960: 168K
    SB County population in 2013: 435K
    The Cottage is a cottage in name only.


     COMMENT 545648 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 11:03 AM

    488 - At 3:30 in the morning and in neighborhoods far from Cottage Hospital there is never an idea that it is a rescue helicopter, especially since we have so many tourist helicopters in the Foothill/154 area. I hope the victim comes out of his injuries nicely.


     COMMENT 545679 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 01:15 PM

    Cottage Hospital may be 120 years old, but they've only been landing helicopters there for the last few years. People living in or around the neighborhood have every reason to complain. The helipad moved into their neighborhood, not the other way around, and it's a completely inappropriate neighborhood for this sort of activity. Cottage had a perfectly good helipad in Goleta that didn't disturb anyone and was much safer. But they chose to build their fancy trauma center in the middle of a neighborhood with poor freeway access, which also impacts ambulances.

    If Cottage and the air ambulance operators hadn't abused the privilege with excessive and unnecessary flight as soon as the helipad opened, maybe residents wouldn't be so quick to complain. Unfortunately, Cottage has proved to be a bad neighbor again and again, and hasn't earned the benefit of the doubt.


     COMMENT 545715 agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 03:25 PM

    thanks 530, 541


     COMMENT 545770P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 09:59 PM

    679, about what you label "poor freeway access" is incorrect. Freeway access to Cottage is easy and fast. From either direction, ambulances use their sirens through the underpass if they come from the southbound 101 or if they cross Mission from northbound 101 Mission off ramp directly onto Mission northbound on ramp, then go straight, which is the Pueblo off ramp and brings the ambulances directly to Junipero and then the ER. Please know of what you speak.

    Residents close to Junipero are so lucky that ambulances turn their sirens off when arrive on the northbound onramp.

    It's also the safest route for all of us to get to the hospital or wherever our final destination is; drivers should avoid trying to make a left from eastbound Mission onto Castillo, which leads to the hospital's main parking structure and main hospital entrance. Given the number of accidents at that intersection, it just isn't worth trying to make left turns there if it can be avoided.

    Trying to make a left turn at Mission & Castillo, with no left turn signal or lane, just isn't worth totaling your car, hurting yourself or someone else, or possibly dying or killing someone, which has not yet happened, as far as I know.

    Cottage should take some responsibility in easing this situation, as they changed their front entrance location. The City should also. I haven't contacted anyone official about this in about a year. It's on my list...


     COMMENT 545773P agree helpful negative off topic

    2014-08-18 10:19 PM

    Funny: when I was there for over a week in 1995 I could hear demo in my regular room after I got out of ICU. So much for quiet! I was so exhausted it didn't bother me. Hospital did a good job lessening the effects. Didn't hurt that I would've died if I wasn't there. (guess that was a small specific improvement; I realize how long ago it was.)
    Lived through tearing up several streets for sewer line and area Mission creek/flood control replacement and improvements too, including scheduled loss of water supply. And construction traffic/trucks. I think both these projects were good for the local community. I'll take the occasional helicopter any time. The hospital is still a better neighbor than those of that poor person who posted recently; better than someone with screaming kids, fighting couples, barking dogs, and parties and loud music.


    36% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.


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