More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

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Update by edhat staff

Edhat readers have been reporting helicopters flying low over neighborhoods from Carpinteria to Goleta this week.

The majority of the reports state this company is contracted by Southern California Edison to survey the area.

Share your info in the comment section.


Reported by edhat reader

  • Helicopter circling between Mission Rose Garden, along APS and back again. Been about 10 minutes, 2 passes a minute or so.

  • Several low flying helicopters over foothill and riviera. They don’t seem to be surveying, rather looking for someone. 

  • Helos going hunting! Search patterns happening over the backcountry in White Rock area by helicopter.

  • A helicopter is slowly circling over Summerland. Maybe searching fir someone or something?

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28 Comments

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taz Jul 16, 2020 10:59 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

I was administrator at a Goleta business whose windows shook when 2 helicopters flew by frequently in the afternoons. Knowing about the 1000 ft above people & buildings rule, I called Air Traffic Control to see if these helos were out of compliance. I was told that helicopters had no restrictions. So we just got used to those gentle rumblings from that point forward!

MoonWillow Jul 16, 2020 08:52 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

I actually had a phone message from PG&E a week or two ago about them doing helicopter surveys in my area soon. I’m in Santa Maria and it hasn’t happened yet.

SDP Jul 16, 2020 08:45 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Why do they need to survey with helicopters in urban areas? That doesn’t sound right. Why not use drones instead of helicopters?

tagdes Jul 16, 2020 11:16 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

SDP Problem with fixed wing drones is all due to FAA regs. BVLOS, beyond visual line of sight requires operator control for the entire flight. This doesn't work well along the foothills and local topo.

a-1594913292 Jul 16, 2020 08:28 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Better safe than sorry, come fire/sparking season. I'm glad to see the vigilance, and love love love watching the 'copters.

MountainMan4865 Jul 15, 2020 06:57 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Curiously - N350SC - which was over Painted Cave and Paradise Rd (among other places) on Tuesday - it's documented flight path shows it no where near either of those two areas yesterday.....

gilrun1 Jul 15, 2020 06:42 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

I finally was able to find out it was indeed So. Calif. Edison, even though when I called them yesterday, the response was "we dont have any helos in your area." Today, I spoke to a supervisor, and asked that he please tell the helicop company they are not to fly so low over our homes (I thought they were going to join me in my home office!), and all I got from him was "well - you want to be safe" and he was anytthing but friendly or helpful!!!! Wow!

MountainMan4865 Jul 15, 2020 06:07 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

After some brief research.... here's what I found, according to the FAA guidelines - (b) Over congested areas – Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open-air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft. (c) Over other than congested areas – An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
The helicopters operating in the past few days over Painted Cave have been operating between 200-300' above homes up here. They doing sharp loops, and there is no visible cameras attached to the aircraft.
The office for our area to file a complaint about low flying aircraft is in Van Nuys. Phone: (818) 267-3300.

mrpinto Jul 16, 2020 10:06 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Mountainman, you might want to check out (d) instead of just stopping at (b):

A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.

See: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.119

John Wiley Jul 15, 2020 05:03 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

I got sharp pix of one flying nearly overhead, and just now sent some to Ed. It was quite low, yet not nearly loud as most helicopters. Not having a tail rotor helps with noise, and lacking those lethal whirling blades adds safety. The pilot did some quite sharp banked turns, begging the question of whether that's fun for people hanging out the door.

MountainMan4865 Jul 15, 2020 03:50 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Sooo.... daily inspections? We just had another round of circling over the tree tops in Painted Cave. They don't seem to be following anything, just sharp turns and circles and a lot of time over areas where no lines are.

Snorky Jul 15, 2020 04:26 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

I will assume by "plane/helicopter" perhaps you mean a V-22 Osprey? They come to SBA plenty, surprised this is first time mentioned. Any military plane will be louder to civilian counterpart (if there is one). If it was not a "hybrid" then please specify if it was a plane...or helicopter. Jet? Propeller? However, you also state "massive" so it might be a C-17. They have landed some times, usually to load up from DRI across from SBA for emergency supplies.

Minibeast Jul 15, 2020 02:24 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

"Powerline Survey" is what our present helicopter circling and circling Lower Riviera is sporting. My dog and I had fun getting a good look. Amazing how low they are flying. Two men + pilot. One guy standing outside the helo, the other seated inside, facing out the open side. Can't really see pilot, even with binoculars. How many circuits does it take? We've heard/seen about 15 round and rounds so far. At one point we could feel our surroundings giving a bit of a shake.

Luvaduck Jul 15, 2020 08:05 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Circled in the area btw Patterson and Fairview around Cathedral Oaks for about 45 minutes, too. I thought they were looking for a suspect for something or someone who escaped custody.

a-1594823490 Jul 15, 2020 07:31 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Complaint numbers? Better overinspection than to miss something, re: fire season, no? Being at home and having the time to know/read all the inner workings of several companies right now (we're trying to arrange for solar panels, for example - what a mess at their office level!), we've discovered that efficiency of communications, in a company, is a high bar right now given substitute workers, people out for illness, people put into unfamiliar roles, people Zooming when they never have before, etc. Give duplicate [helicopter] work a break right now! And better hope we just have enough firefighters to go around if the crunch comes.

MountainMan4865 Jul 14, 2020 08:44 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

They were just over the tree tops for 15-20 minutes in Painted Cave... guy in an orange jump suit sitting, with legs dangling in the side door (I speculated that was so they could find him in the brush in case he fell out). Neighbor pointed out that since Edison has been given carte blanche to turn our power on and off at will, they can probably ignore any FAA rules as well. Seems odd since last month, Osmose Utility has been inspecting all our poles, and lines with on the ground people and drones for 2 weeks. One neighbor approached an inspector and said, "You know you're the third person to come look at this pole in two weeks?" The response - "Well, I wish someone would have told me!" On the ground, drones, and helicopters? Seems a bit of overkill. By the way, the complaint number to the airport is 967-1900. You don't get to talk to a real live person anymore, but can leave a message documenting the issue.

porkrind Jul 15, 2020 11:08 AM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Nothing those guys were doing required any special relaxation of FAA regs. Helicopters have a large allowance for how they operate, and the low altitude restrictions that fixed wing aircraft are subject to do not apply.

freshpavement1 Jul 14, 2020 04:28 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

That thing costs thousands per hour for just fuel. Maintenance & crew costs add a lot more, every hour. I assume they’re not using drones (far quieter, less polluting and WAY less expensive) because we’re ultimately paying for this.

uptown Jul 14, 2020 02:26 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

N520NY, which was just flying over Mission Canyon, has a pod on the bottom that reads "POWERLINE SURVEY." Looked like the pilot was having a good time and giving us all an air show.

mtndriver Jul 14, 2020 01:51 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

Yeah, back side of the Riviera, Mission Ridge, Mountain Drive, been about a half hour, round and round, back and forth. Loud! Power line surveys?

porkrind Jul 14, 2020 12:43 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

N350SC is doing patterns over Paradise Road and the adjoining side streets for almost certainly the same reason.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N350SC

porkrind Jul 14, 2020 12:41 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

N520NY is doing powerline surveys over San Roque and the Riviera (so far) today.
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N520NY

N902GG is doing the same over Montecito.
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N902GG

porkrind Jul 14, 2020 01:14 PM
More Helicopters Over Santa Barbara/Goleta

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https://tar1090.adsbexchange.com

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