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Citing an ongoing enforcement investigation, the FAA declined The Burbank Beat’s request for information related to the September incident of a low flying helicopter over the City of Burbank.
On Sunday, Sept. 28 about 5:30 p.m., the Burbank Police Department received numerous complaints about a low flying helicopter. According to Division Chief Mike Dudlo, officers discovered the helicopter had been hired to record a wedding procession in the area.
(See: Low-Flying Helicopter Prompts Concern)
The Burbank Beat filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request last month with the FAA’s Great Lakes Region Office in Des Plaines, seeking information related to the incident.
Barry D. Cooper, Regional Administrator of the Great Lakes Region replied to the FOIA request by letter. Cooper wrote, “[The report] is part of an ongoing regulatory enforcement investigation. Release of these records could impede or compromise the ongoing investigation.”
Cooper continued, “The contents of the investigative file are protected from mandatory disclosure under exemption 7A of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552. Accordingly, your request for documents contained in the investigative file is denied.”
FOIA exemption 7A protects an active law enforcement investigation from interference through premature disclosure; so it can be reasonably presumed the FAA is considering, or proceeding with some type of administrative action against the pilot of the helicopter.
An FAA safety inspector, who wished to remain anonymous, at the DuPage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) originally contacted for comment about this incident would only say the office received several complaints and was in the early stages of an investigation.