Sunday, March 07, 2010

helicopters flying overhead in the nighttime

See the text of an Email from a resident of Flagler Place NW from early Sunday morning at 12:29 AM.

i'm following up on our conversation last week about the helicopters flying overhead in the middle of the night every night for well over a month.

i'd like to know if other neighbors have complained and/or uncovered any additional information about why this is occurring and when it may stop.

as i mentioned, the noise wakes me up each night for the 1-2 hours that they fly back and forth overhead. i am seriously sleep deprived at this point. i borrowed my neighbors fan this week to help drown out the noise. otherwise, i would have had to sleep elsewhere.

it's now 12:30am and the helicopters have already started flying overhead.

what can we do about this?!

Moderator note: This neighbor has already contacted her ANC commissioner John Salatti.


DC Belle on Wheels said...

I'm pretty certain that the helicopters are trying to root out any drug or gang related activity that may be going on.

Anonymous said...

There are the police helicopters. The US military helicopters. And the medevac choppers flying into CNMC and WHC hospitals.

Anonymous said...

For those of you that didn't know, we live down the street from Washington Hospital Center. Those helicopters are Med Star, which take critical patients to the hospital. Not sure contacting the ANC is gonna change anything. And as a DC police officer I would hope that no one would complain about the helicopter taking me, or anyone else, to the hospital being too loud. Our police helicopter does also frequent the neighborhood but only when called by officers on the street needing assistance locating a suspect.

Officer N. Nikitakis
Metropolitan Police Department
Homeland Security Bureau
Intelligence Fusion Division

Anonymous said...

Don't be too quick or cavalier to dismiss this complaint about helicopters. They've been flying overhead in the Chevy Chase DC neighborhood for months now disturbing residents at all hours. Attempts to learn why this is happening have not resulted in any information. We need a city-wide investigation on why so many are flying and why they're so LOW over our homes.

Max said...

Officer Nikitakis beat me to it.

Medstar choppers, recognizable by their yellow and blue paint scheme, are frequently transporting patients to Washington Hospital Center at North Capitol and Irving St. This is both for regional major trauma (WHC is a level 1 trauma center) and for critical cardiac patients (e.g. active heart attack) who may show up at other Medstar hospitals such as Georgetown but need specialized, time-sensitive treatments only available at WHC like the cardiac catheterization laboratory or 24/7 cardiothoracic surgery. Stroke patients are also transported this way for similar interventions. There are two adjacent helipads next to the WHC ER for this purpose, as well as the occasional transport to Children's National Medical Center next door.

I have occasionally seen police or perhaps federal choppers going by, but easily >80% of the traffic I can identify is Medstar. There are, I believe, transmission towers west of WHC and to the north the hill on which Soldier's Home stands, making the relatively unobstructed neighborhood of Bloomingdale/Truxton circle a relatively unobstructed approach route.

It is loud, but there is no alternative for patient transport when every minute counts. They can and do use regular ambulances for less critical transports, although you can also hear ambulances getting a move on with sirens pretty frequently. These are usually calls that originated on the ground, not critical transports which would use the helicopters. As we say, "Time lost is brain lost!"

Max Freed
Georgetown University Schooo of Medicine, Class of 2010
Unit block of Bates St NW

Anonymous said...

This is the person who originally posted the comment about the helicopters.

DC police have confirmed that these are military helicopters. They say that they have no more information to provide.

So the question is, what can we do about this constant disruption?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I suggest that you get a doctor to prescribe some Lunesta or Ambien. That should help with the sleep deprivation.

Anonymous said...

I suspect it is because of the McMillan Water Treatment Plant, which is run by the Army Corp of Engineers.

Anonymous said...

If a helicoper is waking you up out of a sound sleep, it's not so sound or so deep. If the ear plugs don't work, you may want to try a sleep test before the drugs. The helicopters waking you up may be the symptom of an underlying sleep-related problem.

Anonymous said...

"So the question is, what can we do about this constant disruption?"

We live in the Capital of the United States. There is a huge military precense in and around the city. The militay does not keep banker's hours. Did you not know that?

Malcolm K. said...

I live right on Florida Avenue, where ambulances and police cars with sirens blaring go by at all hours. I have found that a white noise-making device helps me sleep. Once I'm asleep, I don't notice sirens, motors or any other noise.

I support reasonable measures to abate noise pollution (including procuring a cleaner, quieter fleet for Metrobus, police, fire and ambulances), but dealing with noise is part of the price you pay for the convenience and lower rent of living on a main thoroughfare.