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Torture and Torment – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, September 2, 2013

Dear David,

Dirty, noisy helicopters can fly as many passengers as they have capacity, flying to and from the Hamptons without disrupting, torturing, and tormenting residential property owners. In fact, they don’t have to fly over one residential property. This is very important, so let me state this again. Helicopters can fly to and from the Hamptons without flying over a single residential property. This is an excellent solution for the number one problem we face in East Hampton and the entire Peconic region.

Dirty, noisy helicopters don’t need to fly into East Hampton Airport to fly into the Hamptons. There are two reasonable alternatives:

The first is Montauk Airport. The northern route follows the northern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. The northern helicopter route can simply be extended past Plum Island with a transition south into Montauk Airport. Montauk Airport is situated directly on Block Island Sound, thereby eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.

The second alternative is Southampton Heliport at the end of Meadow Lane. The southern helicopter route follows the southern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. Helicopters need only to simply turn north into the Southampton Heliport, which is situated directly on the ocean, again eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.

It’s so silly that dirty, noisy helicopters are permitted to fly into East Hampton Airport, because it’s surrounded by thousands of residential properties. When dirty, noisy helicopters fly into East Hampton Airport thousands of residential property owners are rudely disrupted, tortured, and tormented, only to have one or two passengers disembark from the helicopter. It is not silly anymore. It really is crazy. It is also crazy that our elected town officials have allowed this torturous activity to continue for as long as they have.

All good solutions require compromise. It will take a little bit longer for the owners and passengers of dirty, noisy helicopters to arrive at their homes. That small imposition surely pales to the tremendous relief given to thousands of folks on the ground who simply wish to have their right for peaceful enjoyment of their properties, guaranteed to them by local municipalities through their zoning laws, returned to them.

Also consider the hundreds of local jobs that may be created by this solution as taxi and limousine drivers pick up the passengers. Possibly a shuttle service can be considered. What is interesting to note, the time of day passengers of these helicopters that arrive and leave the Hamptons is always opposite the traffic flow of vehicular traffic from Montauk. This is why this solution is such a small imposition.

It is easy for East Hampton Town Board members to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the dirty, noisy helicopters. Or as Councilman Dominick Stanzione advocates, to “spread the pain,” so everyone suffers the disruption, torture, and torment of dirty, noisy helicopters. It is hard work to find a solution and then implement it. We desperately need hard-working town board members with backbone to stand up to the helicopter interests who can finally end this nightmare. This year we have the opportunity to vote out those who have no interest in solving this massive problem.

It’s not silly anymore. It is literally crazy to make so many people suffer.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Letter to All Elected Officials – September 2, 2013

Folks:

Please find below the link to a recent article about the genuine dangers of excessive and unnecessary noise.

Just one more reason to do what needs to be done–give us our summers again!

Why do out-of-town commercial aircraft operators have more rights than local residents? They don’t–unless we (government officials, concerned citizens, and civic and environmental leaders) cede them rights they cannot possibly attain to otherwise. Shut it up or shut it down.

P.S. As I am sure you are aware that 1) man-made carbon emissions are a huge contributor to damaging climate change, 2) global warming is undisputed by every reputable national and international  scientific body on the planet (see NY Times 8/20/13 front page article), and 3) aircraft use by individuals is by far the worst single person pollution device out there, why is this alarming information not applied locally in the form of serious airport restrictions up to the point of closure? Why is the East End so far behind on this one? Why are a handful of irresponsible individuals allowed to destroy the quality of life and air and property values of thousands of innocent people–all of whom were here first? These are logical questions that require an intelligent response.

From The New York Times:

OPINION: I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.

Noise is the supreme archenemy of all serious thinkers.

http://nyti.ms/13MyPxC

Faceless and Careless – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, September 2, 2013

Dear David,

In an e-mail sent out by the East Hampton Business Alliance detailing a recent East Hampton Town Board meeting regarding town-owned property at the airport, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley is reported to have stated that rent at East Hampton Studios was raised from $2,000 to $50,000 because of Federal Aviation Administration rulings that require airport land to be rented at fair market value. Needless to say, that kind of increase will put the tenant out of business. It was also mentioned that as other leases come due all airport land tenants will be charged market-value rents.

Would that include ARF? Would that include successful, locally owned and run businesses like a day care facility and a garden business? Would the F.A.A. care? Do our local leaders?

Who might be able to afford such steep rents? Certainly not a local home service business with two or three trucks and a dozen local employees. More likely it would be a helicopter or seaplane commuter outfit from elsewhere looking to set up shop here. After all, it is the F.A.A.’s job to promote air traffic, not local business.

What we have developing here is a repeat of what’s happened on Main Street! Astronomical rents price out the little local folk and we end up with tenants, shops, and businesses with little if any value to the local community.

The alternative is far more beneficial to all the people of East Hampton.

Consider the former Shaw Aero property, which has been replaced by a viable and vibrant service commercial business center. A public-private venture, it houses dozens of small local concerns. With proper political will this model could be repeated 10 times over until every service truck in Springs has a proper and affordable home.

The F.A.A. is no friend of local small business. In fact, unless our local government representatives take strong and reasoned action regarding nonrenewal of all F.A.A. grant assurances, from today through 2021, many local businesses will be denied an opportunity to flourish in coming years. They will have been sold out by our own elected officials.

Let’s review: We have unbearable noise, pollution, a decline in property values, skies out of control, and the lack and loss of affordable workspace, which will result in even more service vehicles parked on our residential streets in years to come. The reason: We remain beholden to the F.A.A.

It makes no sense that a faceless and careless federal bureaucracy should dictate the future of the Town of East Hampton. Ask the local candidates now: Are you going to do right by East Hampton going forward or are you just going to roll over and play dead because it’s easier?

Best,

TOM MacNIVEN

It Is a Nightmare – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, August 12, 2013

Dear David:

By 9:12 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, we had already had 35 aircraft fly directly over our home, beginning by waking us up at 6:15 a.m. and continuing wave after wave, every three to five minutes, aurally akin to the Luftwaffe over Poland in 1939.

I am not making this up. It is a nightmare, not a dream.

This spring the airport manager, Mr. Brundige, and his henchman, Dom Abstainzione, actually asked East End residents to “share the pain” of helicopter routes. The thousands of us experiencing the pain of helicopters, seaplanes, and big jets would rather eliminate it.

BARRY RAEBECK

Firsthand Knowledge – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 15, 2013

Dear David,

In last week’s East Hampton Star, Joanne Pilgrim wrote an informative article on the East Hampton Airport manager, Mr. Jim Brundige’s, report to the East Hampton Town Board this past Tuesday, July 9. In that report he stated only one aircraft operation was reported early Monday morning before 7 a.m. on July 8.

Coincidentally I wrote a letter to the editor published in the same issue of The Star citing data from a log I kept on aircraft operations that very same Monday morning on July 8. I reported 10 aircraft operations before 7 a.m. In fact, when you read my letter you will get a completely different picture of the oppression brought upon residents of East Hampton and Southampton by dirty, noisy helicopters and other aircraft operations at the airport than what was reported by Mr. Brundige.

Did Mr. Brundige lie to the town board? I don’t think he is lying. I believe he simply wasn’t present at East Hampton Airport and he has no firsthand knowledge of what was going on. I am sure he was just reciting data received by the machines, systems installed at East Hampton Airport to track aircraft operations. I am sure it is safe to say no employee of the town was present before 7 a.m. I assure you I was present in my home, and each aircraft operation I logged is a real event.

Last week on July 12 I wrote a letter to the East Hampton Town Board giving notice to this anomaly. Since I received no response to the letter, I am assuming it is true that the machines utterly failed. If it is true, then the data collection system tracking operations at the airport, that town taxpayers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to install, is grossly flawed. Then no data originating from the airport can be trusted or used in any manner whatsoever. Then all installed systems at the airport are a total waste of money and someone needs to be held accountable. Then the town is missing massive amounts of income relying on this data for landing fees. As a businessman, knowing this, I would immediately throw out all systems, demand my money back, and install a responsible person to collect data during airport operating hours, which seems to be 24/7 as reported by Mr. Brundige.

Since Mr. Brundige cited statistics in his report to the town board it would be silly not to conclude this letter with statistics based purely on logic: Since the error of machine-collected data at the airport versus actual human data collection is 10 times what Mr. Brundige reported for a specific period of time, then the town board must correct all data in Mr. Brundige’s report by multiplying the figures by 10. All findings and conclusions should be revised accordingly.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881); Mark Twain (1906).

If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Torture and Torment – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 8, 2013

Dear David,

East Hampton Airport has expanded its use to that of a large metropolitan airport. It is out of control. This is unacceptable and must change immediately.

Early Monday morning, July 8, the peaceful still morning air was rudely and abruptly shattered at 4:38 a.m. by a continuous barrage of noisy, dirty helicopters ferrying inconsiderate, selfish people from East Hampton. Mixed in with noisy, dirty helicopters were a few inconsiderate, selfish airplane and jet owners. The data for the operations are as follows:

4:38 a.m., helicopter; 5:41 a.m., helicopter; 6:11 a.m., helicopter; 6:18 a.m., helicopter; 6:27 a.m., helicopter; 6:32 a.m., helicopter; 6:38 a.m., helicopter; 6:43 a.m., airplane; 6:49 a.m., helicopter; 6:59 a.m., helicopter; 7:05 a.m., airplane; 7:11 a.m., helicopter; 7:18 a.m., helicopter; 7:20 a.m., helicopter; 7:26 a.m., airplane; 7:27 a.m., helicopter; 7:28 a.m., helicopter; 7:29 a.m., airplane; 7:30 a.m., helicopter; 7:32 a.m., jet; 7:33 a.m., jet; 7:35 a.m., airplane; 7:40 a.m., helicopter; 8:45 a.m., helicopter; 8:48 a.m., helicopter; 8:54 a.m., helicopter; 8:56 a.m., airplane; 8:58 a.m., airplane; 9 a.m., helicopter; 9:02 a.m., airplane; 9:03 a.m., airplane; 9:05 a.m., airplane; the barrage continued.

This flight schedule is greater than a large metropolitan airport hub! At large airports, Federal Aviation Administration regulations impose a two-minute separation between aircraft. It obviously does not exist at East Hampton.

Thousands of folks living in residential neighborhoods were tortured and tormented from 4:38 a.m. and throughout this entire morning with no relief. The Maidstone Gun Club has a mandated curfew imposed by the town, operations begin at 9 a.m. How can the town discriminately operate a facility on the property adjacent to the gun club at all hours with no restriction?

The town is presently considering its noise ordinance. Really? Before the town considers imposing restrictions on others, shouldn’t it impose restrictions on itself? When will the town board understand noise abatement is a failed policy? It is about restricting use. How silly is this?

Sunday is no longer a day of rest in the Hamptons. It is entirely a lost cause. The barrage of dirty, noisy helicopters is relentless. The East Hampton Town Board liaison to the airport, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, is hoping to get re-elected this November. How is that possible if the voters continue to be tortured and tormented as we see here? Won’t the voters hold him accountable? How can any candidate hope to be elected unless their campaign rebukes the current status of the airport and they commit to make changes for the good of the people?

To Gene Oshrin and all the other good folks at East Hampton Airport Pilots Association: You must realize from the above, the helicopters are ruining the airport for you. If implementing restrictions at an airport operating under F.A.A. grant assurances is so easy as you say, then why haven’t you done so already? You have been given much too much time. It is silly if you are doing nothing to restrict helicopter operations. It is silly to believe this torture and torment can continue without severe consequences. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Share Then Pain? – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, June 9, 2013

Dear David:

The recent statement by East Hampton officials that changing the helicopter routes is a way to “share the pain” is absurd. Who wants to share pain? Why do we have to share the pain?

When virtually everyone on Long Island either doesn’t use helicopters or hates them, why have none of our elected officials done anything to halt their rampant destruction of our once-rural environment?

BARRY RAEBECK

The Torture – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, June 3, 2013

Dear David,

NOMBYs (Not Over My Back Yard) have been working overtime attempting to influence routes dirty, noisy helicopters use to transition from the northern route of Long Island into East Hampton Airport. NOMBYs are wasting time and energy instead of working on the obvious solution to eliminate helicopters. They selfishly push the torturous, life-altering, hellish barrage of noise to their neighbors. Quiet Skies Coalition applauded these antics in their newsletter — ooops, so much for their members and supporters in Wainscott and Sag Harbor.

It appears the clandestine secret meetings by Southampton Town, East Hampton Town officials, special-interest groups, and people that are specifically approved to participate in these meetings have had an impact. The noise pattern has changed. The important question is, who is making these decisions and approving these changes? Conversations on two separate occasions with town board members have had fingers pointed in opposite directions, shoulders shrugged, as they denied the town board approved any routes. So, who is making the decisions?

Fingers then point to the airport manager, Jim Brundige. Really, an employee of the town is making decisions on who will live in hell this summer? The next question was, what about the people? Any private business in East Hampton having as astronomical expansion of use as the airport would be subject to public review. This has not happened with the airport, yet the public continues to have its lives turned upside down.

Come this November the people will again have their say; it is an election year. The airport is a political problem, and there is a political solution. I’m afraid Councilman Dominick Stan­zione’s political career is over, done. So much of the airport is stuck on him, he won’t be able to come clean by November. As the airport liaison, he is attempting to wash his hands, yet he is the instigator of the clandestine secret meetings that encouraged the Noyac NOMBY group to shove the torture back to the Sag Harbor folks. He personally controlled who could attend and participate in these secret meetings. It’s not so secret any more, is it? This is exactly why noise abatement is a failed policy. It is a waste of energy on counterproductive temporary fixes meant only to infuriate a new group of people. It is unfortunate, since the councilman is a good man who will give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.

For new candidates vying for a position of supervisor or town board, it will be silly not to clearly and passionately express viable solutions for the airport problems. It will be silly to take a position of more of the same, failed noise abatement as a solution. It will be silly to be silent on the issue, since it is now the number one problem facing this town and many other neighboring towns. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Pilots’ Worst Fears – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 28, 2013

Dear David:

Your lead editorial of May 23 concerning East Hampton Airport was right on the money.

Unfortunately it seems as if airport manager Brundige and Councilman Stanzione are using a dartboard and a direct line to something called the Eastern Regional Helicopter Association to determine whose summers are ruined below. Why aren’t they listening to taxpayers?

Meanwhile, small pilots’ worst fears are being realized. People, taxpayers,  and voters really are talking about closing the airport.

Back when the East Hampton Aviation Association originally decided to cast their lot with noisy helicopter and airborne commuter interests instead of their neighbors, their battle cry was, David Gruber wants to close the airport!

Well, Mr. Gruber is nowhere to be found. But he has been replaced by angry people from all of the Hamptons, the North Fork, and even Riverhead, who attend East Hampton Town Board meetings to complain about the increasing assault on the quiet enjoyment of their homes. I guess the “if you don’t like noise you shouldn’t have bought near the airport” argument has flown west and away.

The year-over-year increase in noisy commuter helicopter, jet, seaplane, and hobbyist use is way past acceptable to a huge segment of the East End.

East Hampton Airport: It’s time to shut it up or shut it down.

TOM MacNIVEN

One Viable Solution – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 27, 2013

Dear David,

Thank you for your eloquent editorial and Joanne Pilgrim’s comprehensive report, “Mad as Hell and Not Taking Any More,” in last week’s East Hampton Star. “Network” is a great movie. I can relate.

Most folks forget I am a pilot. East Hampton Airport was home to my Piper Warrior for 10 years. It’s interesting to note that almost all airport proponents writing letters to you are local pilots, including me. The public should note this bias, even mine. When fellow pilots minimize the magnitude of environmental, quality-of-life problems caused by the sharp increase in noisy, dirty, helicopter and seaplane traffic ferrying selfish, inconsiderate passengers to and from East Hampton Airport, they are simply blowing smoke. They are in denial. They can’t imagine waking up one morning finding the airport closed for good. Regardless of the agreements in place, it only takes determined political will to close the airport. A simple majority vote by the East Hampton Town Board. Perhaps one day local pilots will wake up to a closed airport. Here are the real facts local pilots requested for my assertions:

Pilots at Merrill C. Meigs Field Airport in Chicago were also in denial and couldn’t imagine a famous airport like Meigs Field could close, leaving their planes stranded on the tarmac. On March 30, 2003, Mayor Richard M. Daley ordered city crews to bulldoze the runways in the middle of the night. The following morning in a news conference Mayor Daley explained, “To do this any other way would have been needlessly contentious.” A column in The Chicago Tribune said this about Daley, “He ruined Meigs because he wanted to, because he could.”

Interestingly, the city paid back the grants. The Federal Aviation Association only fined Chicago $33,000 for closing an airport with a charted instrument approach without the required 30-day notice. (That’s a far cry from the $6.5 million the city of Naples, Fla., paid listening to Peter Kirsch, East Hampton’s aviation attorney, with no results.

Special-interest groups sued Chicago. The courts ruled the city was allowed to close the field. In this case, it was the act of one brazen man, perhaps crazy man. It was said the midnight bulldozing of Meigs Field was Mayor Daley’s signature act after 22 years in office.

The F.A.A. disregarded its obligations in agreements with 149 regional airports. Why should East Hampton Airport uphold its obligations with the F.A.A.? On March 22, 2013, the F.A.A. informed 149 regional airports it will begin closing contracted air traffic control towers. The transportation secretary called it “difficult choices that we have to make” in total disregard of its obligations in 149 agreements with regional airports. A firestorm ensued, forcing the U.S. Transportation Department to keep the 149 towers open until Sept. 30, 2013. The decision has not been rescinded.

East Hampton’s local pilots should know there is a national crisis of airport closures for the same reasons residents in East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, and the North Fork are as mad as hell about East Hampton Airport. In fact, this crisis is top priority for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. So much of a priority that over 1,500 A.O.P.A. members are part of the A.O.P.A. Airport Support Network. The association director, Stacy Swigart, said, “These dedicated A.O.P.A. members serve as the association’s front-line defense against airport closure because they alert A.O.P.A. of any threats, gather local pilot support, and influence local government officials.”

The problem is, East Hampton local pilots don’t have a solution. If local pilots downloaded and read A.O.P.A.’s Guide for Airport Advocates, they would know East Hampton Airport is doomed for closure. Local pilots can only fabricate baseless propaganda. Noise abatement is a failed policy all over the country. According to the A.O.P.A., noise is one of the top three causes of airport closures nationally. Is it possible I am doing more to save the airport from closure than local pilots by advocating the elimination of the greatest offender of noise, helicopters? That is one viable solution local pilots refuse to consider.

It’s not silly anymore. It’s getting very crazy at East Hampton Town Board meetings. I give credit where credit is due. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson did a miraculous job solving the financial problems of the town. I give him props; however, it appears the financial problems are now dwarfed by the problems at the airport. I am afraid solving the financial problems are no longer his signature act. The supervisor promised after he solved the financial problems he would solve the number-two problem, the airport. I agreed with that approach but he has not engaged to solve the airport problems. Shouting back at the public only further antagonizes the public. This may be the real question: Is the supervisor only a one-trick pony?

It’s silly that local pilots support expanding operations of noisy, dirty aircraft ferrying selfish, inconsiderate people to and from East Hampton Airport. It’s not sustainable. It’s silly that local pilots believe the airport can’t be shut down. It happened in Chicago and all over the country. It’s silly that local pilots believe East Hampton Airport can’t close due to town obligations in F.A.A. agreements. Both F.A.A. and municipalities around the country break their agreements with each other with no apparent repercussions. It’s silly that local pilots believe noise abatement will solve the problem. Noise abatement is a failed policy at East Hampton Airport, Naples Airport, Santa Monica Airport, and hundreds of airports around the country.

It’s so silly that local pilots offer no solution to East Hampton Airport problems. More of the same will surely cause the airport to close. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,
FRANK DALENE

 

Why Is It Allowed? – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 20, 2013

Dear David:

Here is a question for the East End: If there was no such thing as East Hampton Airport, and a corporation came forward with a proposal to create East Hampton Airport as it is presently constituted — 24-hour flights, minimal landing fees, huge jets swooping in and out over East Hampton Village and Georgica Pond and our beaches, and a year-round helicopter assault with as many as 80 flights per day on summer weekends — would it be embraced as a welcome addition to our once-rural resort community? Duh. . . .

So, of course, it would not be allowed. Then why is it allowed now? Ask your elected officials what in hell they are doing to protect what is best in our community: natural life, peacefulness, aesthetic sensibility, pristine environment, preservation of what remains of this magnificent place.

East Hampton Airport is an environmental disaster. It is by far the single most negative factor in the degradation of the regional environment: outrageous pollution in the form of noise, air, scenic vistas, overall quality of life, and decrease of property values and tax base in a time of fiscal need.

When just in the past week the U.S. Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in Hawaii is noting the largest carbon dioxide accumulations in history, and The New York Times’s front page states how insurance companies are now planning for huge annual environmental disasters as a result of global warming — this past year being the worst on record — why does East Hampton Town allow people to travel to cocktail parties by helicopter and jet airplane? That is as environmentally degrading as anything imaginable. What pathetic irresponsibility.

Forget the horrific noise for a moment, if you can (a hell-copter is a military metaphor for fear and violence). We need to ban the hell-copters and jets for the sake of our planet. Those who deny global warming, and man’s responsibility for it, are the same ones who believe that their personal interests and greed make their infantile whims superior to our collective future. They are ignorant, they are selfish, and history will prove that they are wrong. What is best for them is not best for the habitat of the East End and the vast majority of its inhabitants, nor is it at all good for the planet beyond us. Why do deer and wild turkeys on the East End have more rights than people?

So, as for the airport, control it or steamroll it.

Sincerely,
BARRY RAEBECK

Helicopter Routes – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 12, 2013

Dear David,

NOMBY (Not Over My Back Yard) is the divisive tactic used by helicopter proponents and certain members of the East Hampton Town Board to change helicopter routes, intended to divide and conquer helicopter opponents by instigating disputes between various community groups. The leadership of these community groups has fallen into the trap of deception, wasting precious energy and political capital to relocate helicopter routes over their neighboring communities. Clandestine secret meetings and closed meetings held by invitation only to members who toe the line of helicopter proponents’ propaganda are used to create an appearance of cooperation and consensus, when in fact it is a deception created by elected officials to force disruptive helicopter operations down the throats of the residential community at large.

The belief that transparent, open government exists, allowing for full participation and debate by all citizens affected by helicopter noise abuse, is a fantasy. The belief that local elected officials have an obligation to serve the people, a duty to keep people safe and protect people from harm, is a fantasy. Noisy, dirty helicopters flying dangerously and recklessly low over residential neighborhoods are permitted to land at a town-owned facility. That facility is in the care and control of the East Hampton Town Board, no one else. The town board ignores the problem. It fails to act, based on the insane reasoning that the use of the facility by a few trumps the thousands tormented by noisy, dirty, and unsafe helicopter operations.

This town-owned facility can be shut down any time, solely by an act of the town board. These operations appear to exist due to the dereliction of duty and nonfeasance of certain elected officials. This is an outrage. People should rise up to demand change and exercise their rights on Election Day. This should serve as admonition to all candidates seeking elected office. The slogan for concerned candidates or parties could be “Government For the Many, Not the Few.”

NOMBYs are silly to believe changing routes will solve the problem. The NOMBYs under the Jessup’s Neck route saw helicopter traffic relief for a couple of years, then it returned with a vengeance last year. It is silly for these NOMBYs to waste precious resources by changing the route over Sag Harbor and Northwest communities, believing it will not return again some time in the future.

Quiet Skies Coalition wisely withdrew from the secret negotiations, because it understood it was silly to help some members while at the same time causing torment to others, thereby dividing the group. All NOMBYs unite! This is an election year and an excellent opportunity to make meaningful and transformational change. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,
FRANK DALENE

Barry’s Statement at FAA Hearing at East Hampton Airport May 1, 2013

Hello, my name is Barry Raebeck and I am a year round resident of East Hampton and have been since 1957.

Based on my experience with East Hampton Airport, under the aegis of the FAA, it is hard to believe that it actually IS a federal agency, which I sustain through my taxes. As far as I can tell, the FAA is a lobbying group for aircraft operators–especially commercial ones. There is no indication that the FAA gives a damn for the millions of American citizens adversely affected by aircraft operations.

On the East End of Long Island, a tiny fraction of people recklessly using the airport for their own selfish ends, many of these few not even residents, have been permitted to destroy the bucolic living experience of the great majority.

When we bought our home in Wainscott 18 years ago there was virtually no helicopter or sea plane traffic, and far less jet aircraft noise, as well. Now hundreds and thousands of families all over Long Island are besieged by horrific aircraft noise day and night, much of the year–building to an unbearable crescendo on summer weekends. Most of this is the result of completely unnecessary helicopter traffic–a taxi service for a handful of rich and callous individuals, and an environmental nightmare for everyone else.

Does my response sound irrational? Hardly. What is irrational, and terribly unjust, is that anyone would actually be permitted to fly directly over SOMEONE ELSE’S secluded  rural home at earsplitting decibel levels–at any time of the day or night.

Finally, let me say that when we started Quiet Skies Coalition with a host of like-minded local residents two years ago it was NOT to fiddle with helicopter flight paths it was to eliminate them once and for all, and it was NOT to close the airport to local recreational pilots (many of whom are our friends and neighbors).

Our goal then, as now, remains rational regulation of a facility–one that WE OWN–that is screaming out for just that. If the FAA cannot rationally regulate a small local airport in your purview, and do so in a manner that serves the best interests of the community in which it is located, then what exactly is the FAA for? And what exactly is it that you do? And whom precisely do you serve?

Frank’s Statement at FAA Hearing at East Hampton Airport May 1, 2013

This statement is prepared by Frank Dalene, Co-Founder of Quiet Skies Coalition and Founder of EHHelicopterNoise.com

I apologize for not being able to attend this meeting tonight. I appreciate Barry Raebeck reading my statement into the record.

I became an activist for reducing and even eliminating commercial operations of helicopters and seaplanes due to safety concerns I personally witnessed around East Hampton Airport. These commercial operations are a recent expansion of use. Not one resident of East Hampton or the surrounding Peconic Region bought into unsafe operations of aircraft nor the intolerable noise associated with this use when they purchased their properties. It is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it.

As a pilot I am in favor of a permanent control tower’s ability to provide order in departing and arriving aircraft to provide safety in our community. I also understand that when a control tower provides order it also improves efficiencies thereby allowing for further expansion of use.

I also know a control tower can mitigate noise impact on the residential communities. Altitude is the residential community’s friend. The controller has the ability to regulate altitude of aircraft in Class D airspace. Maintaining the highest altitude possible should be the controller’s second priority next to safety.

The only effective and proven way to mitigate the noise impact of commercial operations of helicopters on the residential community is to restrict its use by implementing curfews, days of operations and limiting the number of operations. The only way to eliminate the noise impact of helicopters is to eliminate their use. Every other noise abatement policy in this nation is an utter failure. Any other noise abatement policy will not be tolerated and will lead to the political solution of shutting this airport down. Many municipal airports across this country have been closed for this very reason and it is time the FAA gets smart and begins to address the real problem of airport closures; the unacceptable and intolerable assault on the peaceful enjoyment of residential property owners, who are the voters.

I will accept and support the installation of a permanent control tower only if effective and proven noise mitigation efforts as defined above are implemented simultaneously on the commercial operation of seaplanes and helicopters. I promise to work tirelessly to eliminate helicopter use at this airport in its entirety regardless of what new route is conceived or whose otherwise peaceful lives are suddenly and rudely disrupted.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

Respectfully,

Frank Dalene

Going Round and Round – Letter to East Hampton Town Board, April 7, 2013

Dear Government Officials:

You have been going round and round for many years regarding helicopter routes to and from EHA. When will you publicly demand the obvious–that helicopter negatives  of awful noise, pollution, safety hazards, class warfare, fear, anxiety, decreasing property values, and damaging  our quality of life, to name several, outweigh the only positive, which is ease of travel for a minimal number of rich and selfish people. Other “false positives”, such as benefit to the local economy from these people arriving (as if they or comparable people wouldn’t come otherwise) and the nebulous “jobs” claim, which is actually about a handful of part-time jobs for non-residents, are simply too minor to have any merit. Why does the selfish and aggressive behavior of a few take precedence over the clear needs of the many? This is both irrational and unjust.

That being said (for the thousandth time by one more perfectly reasonable resident), stop this nonsensical pushing helicopter routes around–and get rid of the monstrosities as soon as possible. In the meantime, do everything to vilify and shame the operators and their clients who ignore local concerns regarding flying heights and curfews. And get a new airport manager who recognizes the severity of the problem and actually cares about the great majority of us who pay his or her salary.

And while you are at it, stop talking of “historic routes”,  because the “historic” route for helicopters was the power lines. The huge increase of helicopter traffic in the past decade led to that route foolishly being shifted and shifted and shifted again. At some point someone in a position of responsibility ought to deal with the obvious cause rather than keep NOT dealing with the intolerable symptoms.

Sincerely,

Barry Raebeck, Ph.D.

Wainscott

Get The Facts Right – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, February 14, 2013

Dear David,

Again, thank you Joanne Pilgrim, for another excellent report in last week’s East Hampton Star of the ongoing saga of discussions about East Hampton Airport at the town board meetings. It seems like silly season continues at the East Hampton Town Board.

The airport manager, Mr. Brundige, will say anything. He will lie to the public to protect the airport. On two occasions I reported this to the town board. As the supervisor so eloquently stated, “Jim, it’s admirable of you to fall on your sword.” The problem at the airport is not helicopters. It is NOISE! Intolerable noise resulting from operations at the airport negatively impacting residential property owners in East Hampton, Southampton, the North Fork, and thousands of folks on Long Island.

This is not unique to East Hampton or Long Island. This problem exists at hundreds if not thousands of airports around the world. Councilwoman Theresa Quigley should never assume anything. We all know the acronym of “assume.” It is the duty and responsibility of the entire town board to get the facts right. Study the same problem at other airports in this country. I gave two excellent examples in my letter published in this newspaper May 24, 2012. All my letters, solutions, and data are recorded at ehhelicopternoise. com.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is asking the wrong questions. The supervisor lives in Montauk; I am sure he goes fishing. The $500,000 is the teaser bait, the $2 million is the big hunk of meat on the large hook. Once East Hampton takes the bait, Mr. Kirsch will set the hook, and there is no turning back. Mr. Kirsch represents Naples Airport. They spent over $6.6 million and there is still no end in sight to noise abatement. Noise abatement is a failed policy all over the world.
East Hampton will never be able to satisfy the F.A.A. Like Naples, East Hampton will find itself defending against a lawsuit filed by the F.A.A., no matter how carefully it proceeds. Mr. Kirsch will be praised again by his law firm as the number-one rainmaker. The first rule of critical thinking, examine the bias. The second, follow the money.

The supervisor had two consultants present at the meeting to whom he is paying good taxpayer money to study the noise problem. The supervisor should ask both consultants to provide a spreadsheet with two main columns, “Under Grant Assurances” and “After Grant Assurances Expire in 2014.” The consultants should answer these questions: What are the estimated costs to eliminate helicopters or Stage 2 aircraft? What are the estimated costs to put in place curfews from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., for example? What are the estimated costs to limit helicopters to only weekday, daytime operations? What are the costs to mandate helicopter altitude heights and routes around the airport? There are similar questions regarding jet planes, touch-and-gos, and a host of other noise complaints of airport operations already expressed by our community.

Mr. Jeff Smith needs to study the Aviation Act of 1956. Only navigable airspace is owned (controlled) by the F.A.A., airspace beginning at minimum altitude and above. Otherwise one wouldn’t be able to sell air rights in New York City.

Everything I will say about the height of navigable airspace is prefaced by “except what is necessary for takeoff and landing.” The floor of Class E airspace over the East End is 700 feet. Navigable airspace starting at 700 feet and above is controlled by the F.A.A. Seven hundred feet and below is controlled by the municipality below it. My residential property is defined by its metes and bounds horizontally, everything below it and everything above, up to minimum altitude, being 700 feet on the East End of Long Island. In the Town of East Hampton, the town and its police department has jurisdiction on the ground, below the ground, and from the ground up to 700 feet.

Residential property owners should place large No Trespassing signs on their roofs, video document helicopters flying lower than 700 feet, and report trespassers to their local police department. Trespassing occurs in three dimensions. Helicopters are designed to fly straight up and straight down. It is never necessary for a helicopter to fly less than 700 feet above any residential home around East Hampton Airport.

It is so silly we have to waste everyone’s time, taxpayer money, and never get a straight answer. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Aerial Assault – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, February 11, 2013

Dear Editor:

Regarding the continuing saga of East Hampton Airport: How many times will this town board allow the foxes back into the hen house before they realize our chickens are being stolen?

How much taxpayer money will they spend to help create a major luxury commuter jet and heliport to replace what once was a pleasant and admired rural airfield?

Is the town board really going to continue to pay absurd dollars to “aviation experts” who admit they can’t guarantee taxpayers and noise-abused homeowners any reasonable degree of success in limiting an already obnoxious and ever-increasing assault on the quiet enjoyment of East End homes?

Has any other municipality actually benefited at all from the course of action proposed by these highly paid “aviation experts”?

Did one of these carpetbaggers actually refer to East Hampton as “the poster child for airport noise?”

Has the town board considered what this unregulated and continually increasing aerial assault will do to property values and our tax base 10 years from now?

Have they visited the Federal Aviation Administration’s Web site and reviewed Item F-163, which outlines the F.A.A. specifications for wildlife deterrent fencing?

Would the town board approve of the airport, one of our most scenic vistas, being wrapped in barbed wire and chain link fencing? Do you think constituents would?

Does the board realize that allowing certain F.A.A. grant assurances to expire will actually give East Hampton an advantage in dealing with out-of-town, for-profit polluters who couldn’t care less about the residents just a few hundred feet below?

Why are they not considering the solutions to this noise assault suggested by the Quiet Skies Coalition, local people and taxpayers, instead of continuing to take advice from paid beneficiaries of increasing air traffic who don’t live or pay taxes here?

These questions deserve answers from our elected officials before another dime is spent on aviation advice.

Sincerely,

TOM MacNIVEN

Obvious Solutions – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, February 6, 2013

To the Editor,

Dear East Hampton Town Board members:

Please note that what (Peter) Kirsch is proposing will not alleviate what we citizens of East Hampton and the East End know to be the primary two problems at East Hampton Airport. These remain

1. the intolerable noise generated by helicopters at any time, and

2. the intolerable noise generated by all aircraft during inappropriate hours of operation.

Mr. Kirsch is not offering anything of real value, because he ignores the obvious solutions to these two enduring and escalating problems.

The obvious solutions:

1. ban helicopters from East Hampton Airport, and

2. impose an actual curfew of 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Nowhere else in this town is random and extreme noise permitted at midnight, or 5 a.m., or whenever some inconsiderate operator decides he wants to generate ridiculous amounts of noise when flying over thousands of innocent citizens simply trying to sleep in what used to be our quiet homes.

Forget Mr. Kirsch. Return the airport to its original purpose — or close it, and save the money and the bother.

Best wishes,

BARRY RAEBECK

Failed Policy – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, September 17, 2012

Dear David,

There is a reason why Peter Kirsch is considered the rainmaker at his firm, Kaplan, Kirsch, Rockwell. Peter Kirsch is also the attorney at Naples Airport where noise-abatement policies under grant assurances have set back that municipality more than $6.6 million. After spending all that money, there are still no solutions, no end in sight for the noise.

Noise abatement is a failed policy all around this country. East Hampton Airport is not unique. Santa Monica Airport is the poster child for failed noise-abatement policies. With the strictest noise-abatement regulations and highest fines in the country, that city is considering closing the airport in 2015.

It is silly for the Town of East Hampton to spend millions of dollars to come to the same conclusion several years from now. The legal bill of $135,000, which caught the town board by surprise, will seem like a drop in the bucket if they don’t wake up. Especially if they take Federal Aviation Administration money.

Thank you for the continuous coverage on the torturous noise problems at the airport. Joanne Pilgrim is doing a fantastic job reporting on the town board proceedings.

It’s like silly season at Town Hall. It appears like an act from “The Three Stooges,” or rather, the monkeys: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Do No Evil. Sure, it is illegal for one board member to change helicopter routes. This is a town-wide problem that affects many of its citizens. It is a decision that requires public review. The airport manager, who designed the three helicopter routes, also had no authority to set them in place.

When I questioned Councilman Dominick Stanzione about the authority of the airport manager, he stated, “Of course he doesn’t have the authority, but he did it anyway.” Then he laughed at me.

This is no laughing matter when our right for peaceful enjoyment of our property is usurped.

If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Airport Meeting Sept 10th

August 31, 2012

Dear Local and Regional Officials:

Thursday night (8/30/12) at 11:04 and 11:29 PM, and the next “morning” at 5:03 and 5:17 AM our sleep was broken by EHA aircraft noise. For thousands of East End residents, most summer days begin and end with invasive aircraft noise.

Beginning in the last century there has been an organized attempt by members of our community to ameliorate unwelcome aircraft noise and pollution. It has only gotten much louder, more noxious, and more widespread. Last year at the December meeting in East Hampton, the town, the pilots, and airport officials swore that things would improve this summer, merely by bringing in a “control tower.” We said, “We doubt it. It is more likely to get worse.” We were right. And they said, “Oh, YOU just want to close the airport,” as if that were some inconceivably wicked scheme. We said, “No, we want to fix it, not nix it.” We were wrong. We should have said, “Yes, of course we would love to see it closed. We hate it. It doesn’t do us any good at all. Why wouldn’t we want to close it?” Local pilots should be aligning with us, not against us.

The problem is not flight pathsThe problem is aircraft–and the absolute disregard for this community that many aircraft operators and officials demonstrate. (See editorial in EH Star 8/30/12.) So long as discussions revolve around “flight paths” the central issue is ignored–just as hell-copter operators and jet owners and sea plane passengers wish it to be. The EHA manager Mr. Brundige is a shill for commercial  operators, a former hell-copter pilot himself, who has shown disregard for many of those who pay his salary. He is a large part of the problem. Putting him on a solution “committee” is akin to asking the fox how best to protect the hens.

At our rally on 8/31/12 several things were noted: 1) the people passing by in their vehicles who indicated any response were in favor of what we were doing by 4:1, 2) the aircraft idling on the tarmac produced fumes blown at us by the prevailing winds, fumes that were so toxic we could smell them on Daniel’s Hole Road, I began to feel sick, and my throat started to hurt, and 3) one of the airport users asked a citizen, “What is your problem?” The citizen replied, “We are trying to protect our community.” The user spewed, “I don’t give a f__k about your community.”

The solution is simple: either a) insist that all airport users abide by civil curfews commensurate with the normal working day (9 AM to 5 PM), insist that all operators maintain maximum altitudes when over residential areas, as on Martha’s Vineyard for example–including hell-copters spiraling WAY up and down, as they are designed to do, rather than glide path approaches, monitor the toxic impact of emissions, and maintain 24 hour management presence to enforce this, or b) close the airport once and for all. Moving the flight paths has already been done multiple times, and accomplished nothing. The problem is not flight pathsThe problem is the way EHA is presently being used by people who refuse to recognize that much of the rest of the community despises their loud, wasteful, dangerous, noxious, and obnoxious behavior. If EHA were closed tomorrow, life for most of us would improve dramatically.

Barry Raebeck, Ph.D.  Wainscott NY

May Be Some Hope – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, August 6, 2012

Dear David,

Several months ago I promised Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, as a result of his efforts at East Hampton Airport, if there is a reduction of helicopters flying directly over my house, I will write a letter thanking him. This is that letter. Thank you, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, for substantially reducing the number of helicopters flying directly over my house and giving us some relief to the constant torture and torment we experienced relentlessly since 2008. I am hoping this change is not temporary. I am hoping this will continue and the torture and torment stops completely.

In a conversation with the councilman this week, he stated a decision was made with the controllers at the newly installed seasonal control tower to change the arrival and departure routes of helicopters along the power lines to Jessup’s Neck. He stated the decision was based on increasing safety on the ground around the airport and choosing a route that provided the greatest safety by overflying the least number of homes. He further stated the helicopter pilots are being required to fly at 2,500 feet and then circle down within the airport property in an organized pattern. This is very good news since these steps are helpful in restoring order and safety at the airport. As a pilot, this was my number-one concern and what prompted me to become active in opposition to helicopter traffic in the first place.

I have often complained about the lack of enforcement of federal aviation regulations at and around the airport. In a conversation with a pilot friend this week, he saw an airplane land on Runway 4-22 without permission from the controllers. The controller yanked the pilot’s license. This is also very good news since there were questions about the controllers’ authority and their ability to enforce Federal Aviation Administration regulations. For many years some pilots ran roughshod over airport management and had no respect for folks on the ground.

Restoring respect from pilots and establishing law and order is a great achievement accomplished by installing the control tower. My hope is the town will recognize the wisdom of having the control tower remain operational at least from Friday to Monday in the off-season.

Credit needs to be given where credit is due, but not so fast, the noise problem is far from being addressed. This past Saturday I reported to the Wainscott citizens advisory committee meeting that I finally received relief from helicopters flying directly over my house. Three members of the committee stated they were pleased that I received relief, however the noise at their homes increased substantially in the past few weeks. There is the rub and the reason noise abatement is a failed policy.

There may be some hope in the future. This week the town board adopted a resolution titled, “Intent to Pursue Use Restrictions at East Hampton Airport.” The resolution directs consultants and airport management to analyze data they are collecting and prepare a report on “whether the data can justify a restriction on operations by helicopters at the Airport.”

The resolution indicates the town board is willing to consider adopting restrictions on helicopters and other stage-2 aircraft. Thousands of folks on the East End will support such restrictions if they are implemented. So far this looks promising. Is it possible an opponent like me can turn into a proponent? Possibly, wonders never cease. Keep up the good work.

FRANK DALENE

A New Approach – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 23, 2012

Dear David:

This past Saturday morning a jet aircraft flew over my home at 5:20 a.m. That same night I heard four loud aircraft operations between 11:35 and 11:55 p.m. Of course, every Friday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon and evening remain especially horrific, with constant, intrusive operations.
The use of East Hampton Airport, as presently constituted, is both a right and a privilege. Rights and privileges entail responsibilities. Although our airport is used by a tiny minority of people in this community, it negatively impacts thousands who gain nothing whatsoever from its existence. Unfortunately, some of those who use our airport see it as a private club, rather than as the very public entity it is. They enjoy the privilege, and claim it as their right, but abdicate the responsibility inherent in such.

With this in mind, I am suggesting a new approach, one based on civility and community, rather than on wrangling over federal aviation law. I suggest that Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, as the preeminent town official, draw up a document and present it to all airport users on a monthly basis. This document would remind airport users of the responsibilities that accompany use rights and privileges.

These responsibilities would note that aircraft noise and pollution related to East Hampton Airport is a serious problem in East Hampton, Southampton, and well beyond. It would insist on cruising altitudes of at least 1,500 feet over residential areas (even near the airport). It would delineate appropriate daily, not nightly, times for flight, say 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. because our breakfasts and cocktail hours should be pleasant. It would insist that hell-icopters [sic] approach and depart at altitudes of at least 2,500 feet, and spiral down over East Hampton Airport, rather than use long and loud glide paths. It would expect that all aircraft would adhere to appropriate flight patterns. It would remind users that unnecessary and wasteful trips for them and their entourages are unnecessary and wasteful.

Obviously the approaches taken heretofore have not worked to any great degree, and East Hampton Airport remains an ongoing aggravation for far more people than it serves. Let’s put the onus of responsibility where it belongs, while reminding our aviation friends that use of the airport is not a god-given right, nor a privilege that cannot be revoked.

Sincerely,

BARRY RAEBECK

Failed Miserably – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 23, 2012

Dear David,

Again, I am shocked and appalled at another Peter Wadsworth letter. Last week, he shamelessly continued to personally attack leaders of the Quiet Skies Coalition. The letter was patronizing and dripping with sarcasm.

Mr. Wadsworth has his facts wrong again. He hurls baseless accusations against the only organization addressing noise at the airport that has accomplished significant results in less than one year of existence. Mr. Wadsworth wasted many years of his time at the East Hampton Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee that failed miserably, just as noise abatement, as a strategy, failed miserably at airports all over this country. Perhaps it’s just sour grapes.

Please allow me to try this again by addressing Mr. Wadsworth personally. He doesn’t seem to get it. Helicopter noise is “torture and torment” for the folks on the ground. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop coined this term. Mr. Wadsworth, if you were beating me with a baseball bat and you reduced the number of hits 50 percent, am I supposed to be happy with those results? Or, will I be happy when you stop beating me altogether?

Please allow me to approach this from his noise-abatement perspective, which is similar to Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s “share the pain” strategy. Mr. Wadsworth, instead of just beating me on the head, suppose you wish to spread the pain around by hitting me on my back, hitting me on my stomach, hitting me on my knees, then hitting me on my feet. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Or, will I be happy when you stop hitting me altogether? Don’t you see how silly the “share the pain” strategy is? Don’t you understand why the advisory committee failed miserably? Don’t you understand why noise abatement failed miserably at airports all over this country? If it weren’t so silly, it would be crazy.

I, not all Q.S.C. members, wish to eliminate helicopters from landing at East Hampton Airport. I also wish to see stage-2 aircraft, which includes the noisiest aircraft and helicopters, excluded from the airport. I offered a solution to the East Hampton Town supervisor and members of the town board that solves the problem so simply and completely it’s mind-boggling it hasn’t been implemented yet:

All helicopters must take the northern route, offshore along the North Shore of Long Island, until a waypoint between Plum Island and Gull Island, then turn south and head directly into Montauk Airport. Montauk Airport is situated on Block Island Sound. That route doesn’t cause helicopters to fly over any residential properties on Long Island or on the East End, thereby eliminating the problem and solving the noise issue completely, forever. Montauk has an expanding and thriving business community with awesome restaurants, shops, stores, and even a new brewery. Why wouldn’t the Montauk business community love to have the wealthiest people in the world, who fly helicopters, drive by their fish markets, restaurants, shops, and businesses on their way home? If the 20-minute drive is too long for some helicopter passengers, perhaps they would relocate their summer home to Montauk, thus driving real estate prices through the roof. Perhaps a Montauk estate section will develop.

Perhaps the supervisor and the two town board members just aren’t smart enough. Perhaps they would rather play the silly games of failed noise abatement, as Mr. Wadsworth is suggesting. If it weren’t so silly, it would be crazy.

FRANK DALENE

No Improvement – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 19, 2012

Dear David,

The propaganda that Jim Brundige, the East Hampton Airport manager, put out this week in the form of a press release was so silly, it was childish. If the reason the town spent over $200,000 on new equipment and over $600,000 on a control tower, so Mr. Brundige can misuse and manipulate statistics, then it was a waste of money because we all see through the smoke. The emperor has no clothes. If this wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Helicopter noise, “tortures and torments”  folks on the ground. Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop coined that term. If Mr. Brundige was beating me with a baseball bat and he reduced the number of hits by 34 percent, am I supposed to appreciate him for reducing the hits? Or, will I appreciate it when he stops?

Statistical analysis has no bearing on the actual impact of those on the ground affected by noise. I can report to you after almost $1 million has been spent; there is no improvement in noise or safety at my house. I see it as a waste of money.

Yesterday a seaplane came scooting in under the clouds at treetop level. There is a minimum altitude for fixed-wing of 1,000 feet. Were the controllers sleeping? Helicopters are still flying at treetop level. That is not safe. Aircraft are still operating at all hours of the night. The constant barrage of noise and attacks on the peaceful enjoyment of our property still exists.

T.J. Matthews, the self-proclaimed environmentalist convinced Mr. Brun­dige to move the northern route west of Barcelona Neck because he wanted to get helicopters away from his house, not piping plovers, as he claimed. As a result, the helicopter noise has increased at my house, also for folks in Sag Harbor and Wainscott since 2010. That is the fact Mr. Brundige refuses to acknowledge. The fact that one individual influenced the airport manager to move a helicopter route based on a perceived environmental threat calls for an environmental impact study and full state environmental quality review. Mr. Brundige is not an environmentalist. He is not qualified to make such decisions. We now know the definition of an environmentalist is someone who already has a house on North West Creek.

Mr. Brundige states the controllers are “working hard to mitigate noise in neighboring communities.” What about our own community? We are the voters!

As long as we have an airport manager that believes helicopters must land on a glide slope, as fixed-wing aircraft do, we will not see noise reduction in our community. Helicopters are designed to fly straight up and straight down. Helicopters should maintain a 3,000-foot altitude over the residential neighborhoods and then circle down within airport property boundaries. That will not stop the torture, because I still get 75-decibel noise with helicopters at 3,000 feet, but it will be mitigation in our own community.

In the last paragraph of Mr. Brundige’s propaganda release he uses statistics to marginalize the folks who call in to­ PlaneNoise, the noise hotline. When he says 5 households file half of the complaints and 20 households file 80 percent of the complaints he is insinuating that they are just crazy, continuous complainers. They also know your name, address, and phone number. The 20 households have been identified by them and labeled as crazy lunatics who consistently complain — nothing else. So if you want to have a reputation in this community as a lunatic, chronic complainer, simply continue to make calls to the noise hotline. Maybe a psychiatrist will show up at your doorstep one day.

If this wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy. Mr. Brundige and this current administration are not very smart, sorry.

FRANK DALENE

Abatement Has Failed – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 21, 2012

Dear David,

In airports around the country noise abatement has failed. Airports that have spent millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and after over four decades of noise abatement strategies are reporting noise problems worse than ever with the only relief in sight being for residents and municipal leaders to call for airport closure.

Public-use airports, heliports, and seaplane bases totaled 7,192 in 1969. In 2007 that number was reduced to 5,221. In 38 years, 1,971 airports, heliports, and seaplane bases were closed. The main reason cited was zoning and land-use issues. One such issue is airports located in residential neighborhoods, such as East Hampton Airport. This should make crystal clear that operation of public-use airports is a political issue. The people will continue to “throw the bums out” until the airport is closed or until a political leader takes action like Mayor Richard M. Daley, who unilaterally ordered the midnight bulldozing of the runways on Meig’s Field. He was quoted, “To do this any other way would have been needlessly contentious.”

Contrary to false statements about my intentions regarding East Hampton Airport, I don’t want to see the airport closed. I am a pilot and am considering flying again someday. I believe decisive action needs to be taken now to reduce activities at the airport so it is not eventually closed. Now is the time to save East Hampton Airport. Noise abatement is not the answer.

Our current administration, (and Peter Wadsworth), need to study history, so history does not repeat itself in East Hampton. Human nature will excuse history by stating that things are different in East Hampton. This is not the case. The truth is, continuous expansion of use as we have seen in the past 5 to 10 years is not sustainable and threatens the very existence of the airport.

One needs to study Naples Municipal Airport. Under grant assurances Naples spent 3.4 million taxpayer dollars to exclude Stage 1 and Stage 2 jets under 7,500 pounds. Naples spent $3.2 million to lengthen the runway as a noise-abatement strategy. The airport still has voluntary curfews and noise abatement procedures; however, it is reported that the noise problem is worse than ever. In fact the Federal Aviation Administration still fails to enforce noise mitigation procedures. With $6.6 million spent on only two initiatives with no relief in sight, it is a wasteful use of taxpayer money. In East Hampton we are willing to take a few hundred thousand dollars from the F.A.A. so we can spend $3.4 million later to exclude Stage 1 and Stage 2 aircraft under grant assurances. This is foolishness.

One needs to study Santa Monica Airport. After decades of complaints from residents surrounding the airport it has one of the most stringent noise ordinances in the nation. Two anti-noise organizations recently formed a coalition. Even after enforcement with strict fines attached, noise abatement ordinances such as maximum noise level, night-departure curfew, and operational limitations on touch-and-go and low approach on weekends, holidays, and within certain hours during the week, the problem is worse now than ever before. It has been reported that after the airport grant assurances expire and all leases expire in 2015, the city will close the airport. The city is now entertaining a competition for future use of the airport property. Even though the F.A.A. and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have weighed in to oppose the closure, the proponents of the airport still believe the city will close the airport after 2015.

Will the same hold true for the future of East Hampton Airport? Noise abatement has clearly failed in other municipal airports. Only the reduction of activities at East Hampton Airport will save it from the same outcome we see at Naples and Santa Monica. Reduction of activities rolled back to 10 years ago is the answer. It also makes the money being spent by this current administration unnecessary.

FRANK DALENE

Angrily Attacks – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, May 7, 2012

Dear David,

I am shocked and appalled at Peter Wadsworth’s vicious attacks on Quiet Skies Coalition and the two ladies on its executive board in his letter last week to the editor of the East Hampton Press. He condescendingly accuses the coalition of not educating one of the ladies, implying she is not capable of acquiring information on her own. Then he angrily attacks the former chairwoman of the Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee, not disclosing that he also served on the committee and actually wrote a report on behalf of the committee. There appears to be deep-rooted anger. I don’t know nor do I care where the anger comes from; however, I know the two ladies don’t deserve such a tirade, and an apology is in order.

I get totally confused reading Mr. Wadsworth’s other letter the same week to the editor of The East Hampton Star as he bloviates, lauding the accomplishments of ANAAC, appointing himself as the person that can simplify the issues. The two letters in juxtaposition appear to indicate two different personalities. In the letter to The Star, Mr. Wadsworth fancies himself an aviation expert, F.A.A. legal expert, and airport operations expert; he is not an expert in any of these areas. He states in his own biography he specialized in health care finance, which has no relevance to the subject matters addressed.

More disturbingly, Mr. Wadsworth was informed that the data he received from the town, used in his report for A.N.A.A.C., is flawed, thereby rendering his findings and conclusions false. In fact an F.A.A. investigator informed me the system used by the town to produce this data is not F.A.A. approved and they have no use for the data in enforcement proceedings. If the data cannot be accepted legally then how can it be used scientifically or analytically to produce reliable findings and conclusions? Mr. Wadsworth generously quotes these false conclusions and findings throughout his letters, thus being the originator of false and conflicting information.

Mr. Wadsworth used to live off the departure end of runway 28. He took the position to support grant assurances expiring in 2014. Now that he moved away from the airport to the Sammy’s Beach area, he takes a position to support East Hampton Town to take more money from the F.A.A. and lock into another 20 years under an F.A.A. agreement. The coalition believes no taxpayer, whether federal or local, should pay anything at East Hampton Airport. Let the people who use the airport pay for the airport. In the Hamptons, why should that be difficult to do?

Mr. Wadsworth accusingly questions what the former chairwoman of A.N.A.A.C. knew and when. Mr. Wadsworth knows full well that A.N.A.A.C. failed to acquire the 2008 Kirsch memorandum from the prior administration and the current administration while the coalition had it all along. The coalition was able to acquire the document that A.N.A.A.C. could not.

When Mr. Wadsworth finally found that document on the coalition Web site he should have read the paragraph that begins on the bottom of page 20 and ends on page 21. Here Mr. Kirsch advises the prior administration to deceive the public regarding its strategy at the airport. What kind of attorney advises a town board to deceive the public? Is it possible that an attorney that advises deception is capable of deceiving the current town board himself? Is it possible that Mr. Wadsworth is part of a deception strategy?

Mr. Wadsworth should consider that the next time he wishes to take on the coalition. For those who seek accurate and reliable information can see the coalition’s responses directly from the F.A.A. with the assistance of Representative Tim Bishop and a legal memo directly from Sheila Jones, an aviation expert, on quietskiescoalition.org. (Press the button on top, “Issues/Learn.”)

Here is Ms. Jones’s bottom line:

“1) There is a material difference between a situation where the airport proprietor is “grant obligated” and a situation where the airport proprietor is not.

2) A grant obligated airport proprietor has to comply with Part 161. Part 161 imposes procedural and substantive requirements on the airport proprietor that are not otherwise applicable to a local government evaluating and selecting measures to control or reduce noise impacts from airport operations.

3) There also is a material difference if a legal action is commenced in federal court concerning the proposed restriction. Who has the burden of proof? And what is the issue to be decided by the court? The answer depends on whether the FAA initiated the litigation by commencing an administrative enforcement action based on an alleged violation of the grant agreement. If it did and all other things are equal, the airport proprietor/grant recipient’s litigation risk in federal court is higher than it would be if the FAA foregoes the administrative enforcement action and sues the airport proprietor in federal court.”

This is simple enough even for me to understand.

FRANK DALENE

Helicopter as a Weapon, Aug. 24, 2011


Three emails were sent to East Hampton Town Board:

Email #1: This morning I have been directly attacked, assaulted and harassed by Ira Rennert’s helicopter. He used his helicopter to scare, intimidate and potentially harm me and my family. He used his helicopter to recklessly endanger me and my family. I hereby demand the Town of East Hampton to take immediate action to protect me and my family. This is your sworn duty. Close this airport immediately until you have a solution to this madness. This is extremely serious. This is no longer fun and games.

Attached is a video I took at 7:27AM this morning. This helicopter flew lower than was ever recorded and he flew directly over my position on my balcony. This was unquestionably deliberate and willful.  There is no clouds in the sky and there is an unlimited ceiling.

Please get back to me immediately with your plan of action.

Email #2: The sound of this helicopter as it went over my house was unimaginable. It cannot be duplicated and there is no experience you have for you to be able to relate to it. I can tell you this, my house shook more violently than yesterday’s earthquake. If you understand the fear that was caused by yesterday’s earthquake you can understand what Ira Rennert is attempting to do to me and my family. End this now!

Email #3: Attached are video freeze frames. These are not manipulated in any way, straight off the video. Look at my website and you will not find a closer shot or a shot that fills the frame as attached. If you doubt me I will give you my camcorder. The video is still in the camera. You can see how this helicopter turns toward where I am standing when he clears the trees.

There is no doubt whatsoever that this was willful and deliberate. A helicopter is a deadly weapon. The sound produced from this helicopter is a force. This pilot used the force from his helicopter to threaten me and my family.

Look at the video again. You will notice the helicopter shaking as it passes overhead. It is my body that is shaking because my house was shaking under my feet. Nobody, no resident in East Hampton should be treated this way, not ever. No property in East Hampton should be abused this way.

No action from this Town Board will be considered extremely irresponsible. Are you that irresponsible? I need to know immediately.

Letter to Editor – East Hampton Press, Aug. 18, 2011

The Editor,

If one resides under an air route over the South or North Fork, summer can be unpleasant. Peace is shattered day and night by jets, sea planes, helicopters and small planes. The noise is not caused by the few local aviation aficionados, but by commercial operators ferrying folk to and from New York and by a few wealthy individuals who choose not to travel by rail or road and, ironically, spread pollution over the very areas they visit to enjoy its beauty! They leave large carbon footprints all over the East End.

Imagine sitting on your deck, wiping grimy black residue from aircraft fuel exhaust from garden furniture and worrying how much has fallen on your vegetable garden or into the pool where the kids are gulping water as they splash and dive. Unregulated low flying helicopters providing guided tours over your beach, garden or home; it’s not a prediction, families are dealing with this now.

Check the terrifying images on www.ehhelicopternoise.com and see what you could in future experience over your home anywhere on the North or South Fork.

In February 2011, the FAA predicted air travel will more than double by 2031; with limited air routes to the Hamptons, East Hampton Airport will share the burden, so you too can expect to experience aircraft noise throughout the “season”. And if the unsympathetic East Hampton Town Board votes as intended, and accepts even one dollar of FAA money when the current agreement expires in December 2014, there will be little you will be able to do for 20 years to prevent air noise and fuel pollution over your neighborhood. For 20 years, East Hampton Airport will have FAA money and free reign to receive and dispatch at whim over North and South Forks possibly double the numbers of aircraft they accept today.

I sat recently on the deck of a home in East Hampton. In two hours 18 planes, 5 jets and 3 helicopters flew overhead or close enough to impede conversation. East Hampton Town has the power to exclude aircraft from the airport yet Town Board members have refused to act to alleviate traffic over homes. These are not homes of the ultra rich; they are homes of thousands of hardworking families on both Forks who would like to enjoy summer outdoors and cannot. Whether you’re on North or South Fork, make Town Board elections a priority; insure candidates state their position on aircraft noise, then vote accordingly and hold them accountable. In East Hampton if the Board votes to accept FAA finance it will be 20 years before you’ll again have an opportunity to bring about peaceful skies.

P. Currie

Noyac

Published The SH Press, 18 August 2011

David Gruber’s LTE, EH Star, Aug. 18, 2011

August 15, 2011

The East Hampton Star

Dear David:

It is lovely that, faced with an election and an increasingly irate population, the majority Republican members of the Town Board are suddenly expressing the desire to “do something” about airport noise.  Wouldn’t it be even lovelier if they took the time to educate themselves to the fact that they do have the power to solve this problem if only they have the will to do so?

According to your front-page article last week, Supervisor Wilkinson asks why we cannot shut the airport from 11 pm to 7 pm.  Would he do so if he could?  Councilwoman Quigley suggests charging prohibitive fees that would have that effect.  Councilman Stanzione says, not so fast, we have limited authority over a general aviation airport.  Confusion reigns.

If the Town Board wants to know the root of the problem, it need look no further than the mirror.  The Town Board’s own decisions are the only obstacle to controlling airport noise, shutting it at night if we choose to do so, even prohibiting helicopters completely.  As the immortal Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and they are us.”  But, before I explain in detail, let me outline briefly the magnitude of the problem.

In the course of the preparation of the environmental impact statement for the Airport Master Plan update, the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion hired its own aviation noise expert.  Using the same computer noise modeling software used by the FAA and by the author of the Town’s EIS and analyzing the Town’s own data on expected airport usage, including aircraft types, flight tracks, altitudes, and frequency of use, the expert asked and answered this question:  How many times do aircraft using East Hampton Airport create what would be a violation of East Hampton’s own noise ordinance if aircraft were not specifically exempted?

The noise ordinance makes it a violation, subject to fine and, in the case of repeated violation, criminal prosecution, to project noise across a residential property line that exceeds 65 decibels from 7 am to 7 pm and 50 decibels from 7 pm to 7 am.  The answer?  9.8 million times per year!  Airport noise adversely impacts 114 square miles and a resident population of 39,000 (including residents of Southampton). That is the burden of noise imposed on this community by the out of control East Hampton Airport.

But the study went further and actually counted the number of such incidents house by house.  The areas most heavily impacted, with more than 1,000 noise events per year per household, include an area of 31 square miles with a population of more than 6,000.  Households impacted between 6,000 and 25,000 times per year cover an area of 18 square miles with a population of more than 3,000.  Contrary to what airport users claim, the problem of noise is not at all limited to “people who bought a house near the airport.”

When Councilman Stanzione says we have limited authority over a general aviation airport that is true only if the airport were independently owned, such as the Montauk Airport.  But the Town of East Hampton is the owner of the East Hampton Airport.  As proprietor, it has the ability to control hours of use, the numbers of aircraft that can use the airport, and the aircraft types that can use the airport with the specific purpose of protecting the community from noise.  We know this definitively because the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, sitting in New York City, has said so in the 1998 case of National Helicopter v. The City of New York.

The City of New York is the municipal owner of a heliport.  It sought to impose a curfew on use, close its heliport on weekends, and limit the aircraft types using its heliport with the goal of cutting noise in half.  The Second Circuit said that it could do all these things as long as it treated aircraft with a similar noise impact in the same manner.   East Hampton is within the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit.  There is no State or local government or agency and no Federal agency, including the FAA, with the power to contradict the Second Circuit within this jurisdiction.  Only two bodies have the power to do so, the Congress of the United States and the United States Supreme Court.  Unless and until one of them should do so, the word of the Second Circuit is not merely an opinion in East Hampton, it is the law.  The law might be different in San Francisco or Miami, but in East Hampton, the Second Circuit is the authority.

Applying the opinion of the Second Circuit here, the Town of East Hampton, as airport proprietor, could even prohibit helicopters altogether so long as it treats any similarly noisy aircraft (of which there are a few but not many) in the same manner.

There is one important hitch, however.  Because it has accepted construction subsidies from the FAA in the past, East Hampton Airport is subject to contractual covenants with the FAA known as “grant assurances.”  Under the grant assurances as interpreted by the FAA, the recipient of a grant must, subject only to weather or emergency, keep the airport open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to any aircraft that choose, in the sole discretion of the pilot, to use the field.  In short, we cannot have local control of the airport and take FAA money too.  It is one or the other.

The grant assurances apply for 20 years from the date of the grant, even if the grant is as little as a dollar.  There does not exist in Federal law any mechanism for terminating a grant agreement early, even if the money were repaid.  Thus, every time the Town accepts an FAA grant, it alienates for a period of 20 years its power to control airport access.  In effect, taking a grant means adopting the FAA’s policy of completely unrestricted access.

Due to past misconduct of the Town of East Hampton, in which it twice took grant money illegally, the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion negotiated a judicially approved and binding reduction in the term of the grant assurances in East Hampton.  If the Town does not take any more grant money from the FAA, the relevant assurances will expire on December 31, 2014, years before they otherwise would.  On that date, the Town of East Hampton can recover full control over access to its own airport and can use that power to minimize airport noise, provided only that it treats comparably noisy aircraft in a like manner.

Airport users claim that, if the Town does not take FAA subsidies for capital projects, it will cost the taxpayers money.  This is complete nonsense.  The benefit of the FAA subsidies does not flow to the taxpayers, it flows to the airport users who would otherwise have to pay the full costs of the airport to keep it open and operating

The airport provides no service that is essential to the well-being of East Hampton.  It is not necessary for emergency medical evacuation.  It serves a small group of hobby pilots, about 50 of whom actually live in East Hampton, and wealthy second homeowners who want to spare themselves an extra hour or so to get here.  That is it.  It is absolutely trivial in its contribution to transportation.  At most, it takes about 25 cars per day off of the Long Island Expressway.  That is statistically insignificant when we have thousands arriving here.  It doesn’t even take cars off of our local roads because, once people arrive at the airport, they don’t walk home.  They get in cars.

Naturally, the airport users want the airport to be as cheap for them as possible.  Who doesn’t want the things they use to be cheap or free?  Indeed, at present, aircraft based at East Hampton pay nothing, zero, to land at East Hampton.  But in truth the airport is not free, not to us, because the community pays for FAA subsidies with the loss of peace and the quite enjoyment of our homes.  Their cheap airport comes at our expense.

The question the community needs to answer is this:  If airport users do not feel it is worth it to them to pay the cost of their airport use, why should the community subsidize them either with taxes or by suffering from excessive noise?  I cannot imagine any reason for thousands to suffer the loss of the enjoyment of their homes so that hobby pilots and those who ride in private jets and helicopters can save money.  Can anyone?

It is an election year indeed.  If you are burdened by helicopter noise, by airport noise, ask the candidates, all of them, including Supervisor Wilkinson, and the members of the Board who won’t be running again for two years, Mr. Stanzione and Ms. Quigley, this simple question:

Will you pledge to stop taking FAA money so that East Hampton can recover local control of its own airport and solve this problem once and for all, or will you take another poisoned FAA dollar and subject all of us, irrevocably, to this growing burden for another 20 years?  If you care about the answer, make that your reason to vote.

Sincerely,

David Gruber

Letter From Barry 8/6/11

Dear Town Board;

Frank is a zealot, not a crank. He is leading the charge–but be assured that it is only going to increase. The airport is not a “jewel,” though perhaps once it was a low impact resource for local recreational pilots. Now it is a major metro air and heliport–and that is despite long term protestations of year-round residents, as well as Env Impact Statements and Town Plans. It does not serve the vast majority of  East Enders in any way. Yet the noise (and even fear engendered by low flyovers) is become an outrageous assault on what we once had; a peaceful, relatively quiet  outdoors lifestyle in summer and on warmer weekends throughout the year.

This will be a campaign issue. Committees, platitudes and pontification do not suffice. There were 52 loud, low-range flyovers of our home yesterday within a three hour period–as many in five minutes (8) as used to occur in an entire weekend.

What you gain in fees you will lose in lowered assessments. As more people use this option it could prove calamitous to town finances–in a time of fiscal difficulty. The heliport is a loser. We will stop it if you will not–though we would love more direct assistance..

This town is my life-long home. In a single day I  have been annoyed by helicopters at South Fork golf club in Amagansett, Georgica Beach in East Hampton, and my home in Wainscott. They disrupt golfers at The Bridge in BH, people on town beaches, in the woods–all the places we go for tranquility to avoid noise and mechanical intrusion. Now these hideous military monstrosities are seemingly everywhere, and I am in touch with folks in Southold, Wading River, and Port Jeff who hate EH helicopters too. We are starting a civic group, Citizens Alliance To Cancel Helicopters (CATCH).

It is a huge and growing issue–one that you could champion for the preponderance of the people you serve, who care passionately about our natural environment and once-serene quality of life.

Respectfully,

Barry R.

Letter from Bob 8/6/11

In my humble opinion, you as a Board are as ineffective in dealing with the airport problem as the U.S Congress was at dealing with the national debt issue.

Sooner or later, someone will dig deep enough and learn your unspoken agenda to protect the wealthy using the airport at the expense of the much larger public good.  I truly hope that expose happens soon.  Your condoning the noise problem generated solely from KHTO will hopefully blow up in your faces.

I can’t enjoy my beautiful back yard much any more; the ear shattering noise of helicopters and jets pound my space day after day,  happening at all hours of the day and night. Midnight, 4AM, noon – it makes no difference.

Truly, you are all responsible for this. You have the ability, the legal duty, to control your airport, yet it gets worse every year. Your reports that things are better is a lie. It’s much worse each year, the volume of traffic increases, and the noise and height “restrictions” are totally ignored by the airport manager and yourself.

I used to wish for the time when the airport catered to only small planes; now I wish to see it totally closed because of your choice to damn the public.  I am not a “not in my back yard” complainer; I am a 30 year long Sag Harbor resident who’s home has lost value and who’s tranquil yard now sounds like the TV set from MASH.

Yes, I blame all of you for this.

Please, do something immediately.

Sincerely,

Robert P. W.

Sag Harbor

Letter From Patricia 8/6/11

I have tried, for YEARS, calling in complaints on aircraft noise to EHA Complaints line, to no avail. Each year aircraft noise worsens exponentially.  According to the FAA, air traffic will grow, not decrease–so what are you folks going to do?  Do you have a plan, if yes, what is it?  If the past is any indication, EH Town reaction will be no action, the legacy of successive East Hampton Town politicians.

I hold the Town Supervisor and other members of the Town of East Hampton administration completely responsible for this noise, for the loss of the peaceful use of my property and for the loss in value of my property.  I hold you responsible for stressful days and sleepless nights of my family members due to incessant aircraft noise and I am beginning to believe you are largely responsible for the increasing number of stress related health issues affecting my family.  Studies on the noise /health issue have concluded that aircraft noise negatively impacts health or are you not aware of the many studies on the issue? Is ignorance a defense?

Why have you failed to act to protect the tax-paying residents who elected you?  Those of us who live under the paths of these noise emitting air polluting craft would like to know….who are your protecting if not the tax-paying year round residents?  Please, do let us know who is benefitting from your protection, might they be large donors to the political aspirations of a few?  It is difficult to argue against that wide-spread thought, since the proof appears to fly in the other direction…disproportionally over land in Southampton Town instead of over the sea route.

The noise goes on DAY and NIGHT. Yesterday, 5 July 2011, the noise was really bad.  It was a beautiful day and evening when we could have enjoyed our garden for the outdoor activities we once enjoyed throughout spring, summer and fall.  Not possible, we have to come inside and turn on the air conditioning to block the noise from all types of aircraft. And, as I am absolutely certain you are well aware, the altitude recommendations are a joke, they are too low to positively impact the noise and are largely ignored by pilots endangering innocents below.  When pilots take risks with the lives of their passengers and those on the ground below their irresponsibility borders on the criminal yet despite photographic evidence of the dangers to homes by low flying helicopters, EH Town officials choose to do nothing to discourage this reckless behavior. Is not your mandate to serve all residents of East Hampton?  And though you may choose to ignore it, you also have a moral responsibility to your neighbors in Southampton Town who suffer from this cacophony.

Two easy fixes are available to the Town of East Hampton and they have both been suggested many times:

(a) flights in and out of EHA use the sea route;

(b) close the airport to only small locally based planes (as it used to be) and emergency aircraft.

Select your favorite solution from those above or take the morally responsible route—resign.

Patricia C.

Noyac resident fed up with noise from East Hampton Town Airport

Letter From Barbara 8/6/11

It is my fondest wish to see the airport closed.  We no longer have use of our property thanks to the constant barrage of jets, airplanes and helicopters flying over our home.  The airport wanted to close a street in order to expand; how about closing the airport and moving IT  to where it will no longer be destroying people’s lives and lowering property values!!????

Letter from Steven 8/5/2011

Frank et al:

I appreciate being on this mailing list, but I have to say that I, and others who share my geographic location, are excluded from participation in fighting the existence of the airport, or at least, the unfettered, undisciplined and uncontrollable operations there.

I live in the Village of Sagaponack, the Town of Southampton. The airport is in East Hampton. The way the political divisions have been established effectively disenfranchise residents outside the Town of East Hampton. Ironically, the airport is located on the western edge of East Hampton, the prevailing winds from the west dictate maximum power at take off to the west, imposing the greatest noise impact outside of East Hampton. Thus, it could be argued that the non-East Hampton residents bear the heaviest environmental impact from the airport. And, we have absolutely no input.

I think broadening the base of objection would be useful. Helicopters might be your biggest complaint and I do not want to belittle your grievance. (I do hear the helicopters. I suspect that the take off routines were changed in the last two years or so. They seem to be more intrusive in this time frame.  Winged aircraft are my complaint, primarily.) I must say, though, that I have become discouraged. I have written many letters over the years to East Hampton and Southampton Town officials and you can see the consequences of my efforts. I am also party (in name only) to a lawsuit against East Hampton. I have no idea how that will sort out, but I have no great hope. The noise hot line is a joke – have given up on that. The noise committee was unceremoniously deactivated. I am not inclined to believe in political conspiracies, but this stance is becoming harder and harder to sustain.

The enemies are the system of political fund raising (The at-large system of councilmanic representation contributes to powerlessness by diluting any political impact that we could muster.) and the FAA rules. East Hampton is on the verge of accepting more FAA funding that will emasculate any local control for years to come.

Isn’t there something in common law that might expand the reach of all those adversely affected by the airport? For god’s sake, the Libyans can get a no fly zone, why not us?

I am writing this on Friday evening, having to endure the noise of arriving and departing aircraft.

Stephen L

Sagaponack, NY 11962

Letter from Jon 8/5/11

Hi Frank,

Nice to get your emails…

As you are aware I have been complaining to the town supervisor of Southold as he does attend some meetings on the helo noise issue for years now.

I live in Mattituck just east of the Mattituck Airbase.  The helo noise is as loud and more frequent than ever.  Although rare, this morning (8/5) at around 0030 a loud helo awoke me from a deep sleep.  It is not very common for helos to fly at late at night but it does happen occasionally.  (No is was not a SCPD Medivac chopper, a C-130 or rescue chopper out of Westhampton Beach they have a very different sound.)  On rare occasion after 2300 or before 0600 we hear/see helos flying to/from East Hampton.  I was awoken a couple years ago at 0430 by a helo but as I said that is rare.  With the helos making full speed beating feet east or westbound we hear them from horizon to horizon and it is very very annoying.

I am not normally home during the day on a weekday but today I took a vacation day… I was in the backyard around 1530 today (8/5) and I got the pleasure of hearing and seeing two helos a few minutes apart from one another.  The first westbound on was at about 1500 feet and the second about 600′ both flying pretty much directly overhead.   My wife and I were having a discussion that of course was interrupted until the passed this is very typical here in Mattituck.

I am willing to put up with EMS and ANG planes and helos as they are less frequent, and made a more tolerable sound, but we are with you the “commuter” traffic has to stop or be vectored away from people!  It is getting worse year by year.

The lame grandstanding “work” that Schumer and Bishop did is complete and pure “Poppy-Cock”!  They took the advice of the ERHC as the solution to the noise problem… all I can say is “they” must have greased those two very well to take the “advice” of the fox that guards the hen house.  As noted in the past 2500′ is not high enough nor do all even fly at 2500′ over my home most don’t.  I met the ERHC PR guy Bob Grotell once a couple years ago and that was pretty much a waste of time he felt the new routing would resolve the problem… it has not.

It would be nice to have one of these at my home dumped to a PC or website to report real altitudes etc. http://www.zaon.aero/content/view/2/41/ or http://www.zaon.aero/content/view/12/40/

Although the rest of the island has a slightly different problem than you do, the issues are directly connected.  The FAA has stood off taking serious aim at the problem (for obvious reasons) and it only can be solved by them.  Your plan to force the town to close the airport albeit drastic should get some ears to perk up.  At least you can enjoy some music from the concert on the 13th at the airport… maybe it will drown out the helo noise!

(You may use all or part of the e-mail how you see fit for our cause)

Jon A
Mattituck

Property Value In Helicopter Route Plummets 62%

I filed a grievance on the property taxes on property we own on 20 Ridge Road, Wainscott. It is immediately adjacent to the house we live in. The Assessed Value indicated on the Town of East Hampton Property Tax Bill is $10,050. The Full Value is $1,305,195.

In May 2010 I purchased the property for $500,000 in an arm’s length transaction. The purchase price in an arm’s length transaction is the true value of property by all legal definitions. The purchase price of $500,000 is a 62% decrease of the Full Value the Town of East Hampton claimed to be the Assessed Value on the December 1, 2010 – November 30, 2011 Tax Bill.

I appeared before the Town of East Hampton Board of Assessment Review with the closing statement, documents substantiating the purchase price and an appraisal determining the value of the property to be $500,000 . I received the results from the Board in the Year 2011- 2012 Notice of Determination Board of Assessment Review reducing the Assessed Value to $5,550 or Full Value of $720,780. If one is to believe the Board of Assessment, I do not, the Full Value plummeted 45%.

I believe the onslaught of recent helicopter traffic is a major contributor to plummeting property values.

The Determination of the Board of Assessment Review illustrates the art of property value assessment. The Board supposedly is made up of experts in their field. How can there be a $220,780 discrepancy from the legal definition of property value, defined by an arm’s length transaction? That equates to a 50% increase in assessed value to actual value. This is what feeds into folk’s distrust and anger towards government. If we take into consideration the torture and torment the citizens are forced to endure because helicopters are being allowed to operate on Town owned property, this is another painful result. How much pain must a citizen in East Hampton endure?

The Town Supervisor is a smart man in some ways. We give him and the current administration props for solving the financial crisis his administration inherited. Is the Town Supervisor and this administration really that smart if they did not do a cost – benefit analysis before continuing to allow helicopters to operate at East Hampton Airport? Do they have all the facts? Have they researched and considered alternative solutions?

Now we have presented factual evidence on plummeting real estate values. How will that factor into the Town’s tax base in the future? Essentially the property tax on this one property has been cut in half. Will the increase in revenues as a result of increase in landing fees cover the eventual decrease in tax base? When the public understands there is a significant decrease in property values, how many will file tax grievances next year? When the tax grievance services get wind of this factual data, what efforts will they make marketing grievance applications next year? Who is responsible for the plummeting property values? Who will compensate the property owners for plummeting property values? Will a class action lawsuit be necessary to recoup these costs? The Town is making revenues on the very activity that is causing plummeting property values, aren’t they? What will be the total cost to the Town and the property owners as a result of allowing helicopters to operate on Town owned land? The people need to have answers to these questions.

East Hampton Supervisor Wilkinson’s Response to Dr. Raebeck

On 7/20/2011 3:13 PM, William Wilkinson wrote:

Dr Raebeck

Please forgive the delay in response.  With multiple addressees, I had assumed that Mr. Stanzione, the airport liaison, would have addressed your inquiry. As a person who himself has a very large property tax bill, I too, expect solutions from our elected officials.

Mr. Stanzione has led a very active fight through our national, state and county officials to ensure that we appropriately address total helicopter activity; their flight paths and the need for greater noise abatement.  His multi-town helicopter noise abatement group singularly focuses on that mission.  Working with those electeds and members of the FAA, Mr. Stanzione is actively crusading for future flight paths and elevations that will be far less invasive and disturbing then status quo.  Although progress may appear slow, his efforts are having positive effects.

I have also addressed Mr. Brundige on the on-line availability of noise complaint forms.

Have a pleasant summer.

Bill Wilkinson

East Hampton Town Councilman Stanzione’s Response

July 19, 2011

Frank

Thanks for the note and the link.
The concerns you highlight are important and received attention.

Moreover, let me address the broader contentions in your note.

You surely know there’s been significant reduction in the number of helecopter operations using northern routes over the past 18 months. The number of flights using routes over the north have been reduced because use of southern routes have increased – voluntarily. Nearly everyone concerned with the noise issue recognizes this important fact. In addition, compliance with voluntary limits on altitude have also improved.

Unfortunately,exceptions to voluntary compliance initiatives do occur. That’s clear and important and we continue to press for even better performance regarding compliance. The general improvements are the result of voluntary agreements forged among operators, airport management and the administration. And while I know you appreciate these efforts, I also know you are not satified with the progress we have made. We also recognize more needs to be done.

The multi-town helecopter noise advisory committee has worked to attain even greater noise reductions from helecopter operations. The committee, which represents both the south and north fork region, has strong voices for reducing helecopter noise. It has met with FAA officials and helecopter industry represetatives – we actually had them in the same room at the same time – we have interacted on specific FAA administative plans for helecopter routing reform – and have worked hard to reduce the incidents of non-compliance and the annoyance they create!
As you point out, the issues surrounding helecopter noise and operations are national in scope and have specific impacts on communities and residents across Long Island. Legislation introduced by Congressman Bishop to have helecopter operations fall directly under FAA regulatory control has faltered. As you know, the Wilkinson adminstration vigorously supported the Bishop amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill. You also know, we have championed the creation of a southern route…if not by congressional action, then by FAA administrative fiat!
Because congressional action was clearly uncertain, the so-called FAA “administrative” strategy has been the focus of the our efforts, both as a town and as part of the multi-town committee. I believe this “administrative” option provides the best real opprtunity to actually reduce helecopter activity and annoyances over the northern routes in the shortest time. This might be accomplished by FAA “administratively” reducing NYC originations currently using northern routes and by directing helecopter fights to then use a newly created southern route. New stricter altitude restrictions, subject only to safety considerations, will also be sought under possible “administrative” action by the FAA.

Do I understand you as opposing an absolute reduction in northern route helecopter activity through working with the FAA? Tell me it ain’t so!

We continue to support congressional action
that clearly places helecopters under the direct control of the FAA. I believe you also agree with this administration on that point.

I appreciate your earnest consternation over the helecopter noise issue. I also know you understand how hard this adminstration has been working with the FAA to achieve an administrative solution — in the absence of congressional action! I also believe that few have done more for you and your concerns than this adminstration in many years. We are actively engaged in this issue at ever level of government.

I met directly with you last year and outlined these specific strategies and efforts. You may disagree with the strategy, but surely you appreciate the real effort being expended within the complexities of admistrative regulation and federal legislation. The effort requires diligence, expertise and patience. I understand you may remain dissatified, but be assured our work continues – to achieve a real reduction in helecopter noise over the northern routes in the most expedious time-frame possible.

While i cannot speak for other members of the board, I agree with those who describe East Hampton Airport as a jewel among many in our town and do not in any way support closing it. If that is the measure of my effectiveness, we must part ways. We can meet on the field of battle. I have been and will remain committed to the airport and improving its operations—both winged and helecopter — to maximize usefulness and minimize interference. It is an active airport and has been one for almost half a century. It provides our community with important benefits – public safety and economic to name two.
The management and staff of the airport have worked diligently to be a better neighbor and we will continue working for good relations with earnest
and sincerity.

If I can be of further assistance, please call. Your call is always welcome.

Dom

Letter in Response to “Smart People Don’t Fly Helicopters”

July 22, 2011

That EH Town Board members can claim that here has been improvement in lessening helicopter noise indicates they are either ignorant of the facts or pretending they don’t know (aka, the Murdoch defense). Either way, it is simply scandalous that the EH Town Board (and Southampton Town Board) can allow taxpaying year round residents to be subjected to this barrage of noise from private and commercial commuter craft, year in, year out.  The on-going air assault is not limited to the duration of the season, a number of owners/operators fly year-round and some are daily commuters.  And I do not doubt that some are taking their anger lower, over the home of Frank Dalene because he, among others, has tried for so long to find a reasonable solution acceptable to all without help from officials or EHA management.

Some of the people flying these craft are very dangerous individuals– not only endangering those on the ground but also their passengers, evidenced by the photos. It is only a question of time before there is a deadly event arising from these low flying craft. Anyone viewing Frank Dalene’s recent photos can see that these “air jockeys” have tossed caution and common sense to the winds, no pun intended.  The photos are so very disturbing and yet EHT officials and EHA management continue to choose to ignore the danger.

East Hampton and Southampton Town officials are acting like invertebrates. This dire situation did not arise overnight, it has been years in the making, and largely ignored through successive EHT and SHT administrations.  The result of EHT “concern” for impacted residents: each minor lessening of noise over one neighborhood merely increases it in another.  Move noise around, not over the sea routes but over other property owners many of whom are in Southampton Town, seems to be the preferred method of EHT Administrations and EHA management.  And to read the weak, self serving responses to Frank Dalene in the current emails merely underscores that this current administration is not only hopeless but shameless.

Real estate brokers and local media would do well to warn anyone looking to rent or buy property in the Hamptons that they likely will be subjected to increasing noise from the skyway above and that outdoor use of their property will be very limited if they are seeking peace and serenity in their garden.  Perhaps an article in the NY Times Weekend section might do it. Values of properties will decrease as many of our properties already have.  The FAA mandate is to promote air travel so they are not eager to assist hapless residents countrywide who suffer this torment from above.   Much as I dislike making the suggestion, like Mr. Dalene I am coming to believe that given the time and trouble residents have gone to try to find reasonable solutions to this growing problem and finding none, the only remaining option is to close that airport to all but emergency services.

P. Currie

Noyac resident.

Letter to East Hampton Town Board

July 22, 2011

Dear Town of East Hampton Supervisor and Town Board Members:

I am writing to lend my name to the long list of residents who are asking you, our political representatives, to work on our behalf and bring an end to the plague that is air traffic noise at the East Hampton Airport.

As a Wainscott resident, I have seen the quality of life in my area destroyed by helicopters and jets. If you were to come spend one afternoon at my home, I can assure you that no further explanation of what life if now like in my neck of the woods would be necessary. Why should a few individuals, flying in helicopters to save themselves the time of a car trip, be allowed to destroy my right to enjoy my property in peace? I am not talking about a slight disturbance. My family has been in Wainscott for 14 years, and before the helicopters came, we had no problem whatsoever with the airport and the small commuter planes it serves. Now we have helicopters flying at tree-top level directly over our home on a regular basis. On the weekends it amounts to one every five minutes. Then there is the noise from the airport itself, as the helicopters and jets wait to take off. It is no longer possible to sit outside and have a normal conversation. The helicopters are always there.

We have tried to communicate the problem to you, our representatives, and we have yet to receive a response that takes seriously this plague. As I have said to Frank, I am tired of writing letters. It it is my intention is to work with other frustrated residents and pursue both legal and political means to bring an end to this intolerable situation. I really must express my dismay at the utter disregard with which you have handled it.

Sincerely,
Linda Zerilli
9 Bark Ct.
Wainscott, NY 11975

Follow-up Letter to East Hampton Town Board

July 20, 2011

Dear Mr. Wilkinson and Town Board Members:

Approximately 10 days ago I sent an email to several of you, including Mr. Wilkinson, Ms. Quigley, and Mr. Brundidge with a host of pertinent questions regarding the ongoing helicopter debacle at our airport. The only response I received was from Ms. Quigley (thank you). She admitted that she knew none of the answers, however–and did not volunteer to research any, either. Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Brundidge simply ignored my email. I would respectfully remind you that I am a longtime resident taxpayer in East Hampton, thus I pay a portion of your salaries. I believe that any public servant is obligated to respond to any honest inquiry regarding affairs under that person’s supervision. As a teacher at Southampton High School, and thus a public servant myself, I would never simply ignore a reasonable query from a parent or other taxpayer. It would be entirely unprofessional.

Upon visiting the Town of East Hampton website one finds a plethora of references to environmental care and quality of life, with scads of committees established to maintain East Hampton’s natural beauty, livability, and charm. And our elected leaders are unanimous in your purported desire to do all that you can to keep our town so wonderful. Yet on that same website, there are also all manner of references to airport noise problems, going back many years. (I note: Is it a bit odd that many items related to airport noise, including the “Airport Forms” button, are inaccessible for some reason?)  Thus, with all the public relations hoopla regarding preservation of our “quality of life,” airport noise volume and frequency escalates exponentially. For some reason, helicopters blasting over residents’ rooftops at all hours of the day and night are not considered environmentally damaging. As referenced in my first email, EH Town officials apparently care more for wild turkeys than for our residents. What gives?

I am only asking one question in this email, so perhaps you could give me an actual response this time. Why are you, our public servants, allowing helicopters to destroy the emotional, physical, and economic (yes, helicopters screaming overhead dramatically reduce property values) quality of the lives of the year-round residents of East Hampton, and beyond?

I await an answer to this perfectly fair question–one that is being asked by hundreds, if not thousands, of local residents, and one that has been left unanswered for years, as you allow  (encourage?) these horrid helicopters to proliferate, while our once-lovely summer outdoor time disappears forever.

Barry Raebeck, Ph.D.

Heliport in East Hampton

Dear Mr. Wilkinson, et. al:

I have lived in East Hampton since 1957. My wife Susan and I built our first house ourselves (on Two Holes of Water Road) in 1979, and had our current house constructed in 1995, on Wainscott Northwest Road, approximately 1.5 miles from the town airport. Susan teaches kindergarten in Sag Harbor and I teach high school in Southampton. Our three grown daughters have all attended East Hampton public schools, and my first teaching job was at EHHS in 1978. My father, Charles Raebeck, and my stepmother, Audrey, founded the Amagansett Resident Association, and then the Group for the South Fork in the early 1970′s. It is largely as a result of their great efforts, and those of other like-minded, and forward-thinking individuals, that East Hampton Town has the character it does, and the remaining beaches and woodlands it holds.

As a long time resident, I was well aware of the airport, and its flight patterns, when we built the current home. We knew we were not anywhere near the airplane flight patterns, and helicopter traffic was virtually non-existent. Susan is a gardener and the girls and I love being outdoors as well, and for years we enjoyed a relatively peaceful summer respite from our busy lives. That is no longer the case–and our quality of life, as well as that of my hundreds of neighbors (and likely thousands of people beyond this immediate area) has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer pleasant, or even bearable, to be outside for large periods of time–and this on a daily basis.

Helicopters now ROUTINELY fly over our house in THREE MINUTE INTERVALS at an altitude low enough to distinguish their markings. It is most insufferable in the late afternoons from 4:00 to 7:00 PM (the precise time when one is most likely to be outside in the summer). Yet, the cacophony is hardly limited to those times. Helicopters seem to come and go at will, and as often as the riders wish–revving engines at 6:00 AM , 11:30 PM, anytime at all. For every chopper that lands, the same one takes off, and only a little farther from our house as when incoming.

Right now, we might as well be living next to a HELIPORT, not in the once-bucolic woods of East Hampton. HOW HAS THIS BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?

That is the primary question, for I contend that it would not have happened if you lived where my family and neighbors do.

Additional questions that I, as a resident and taxpayer, would like accurate and prompt responses to:

1) How is helicopter traffic regulated at our airport?
2) What exactly are the numbers of take-offs and landings, year-by-year, for the past ten years?
3) Why has this traffic been allowed to increase so dramatically?
4) Why was the flight path brought lower and closer to our homes in the past two years?
5) What is the “hearing radius” of a helicopter in flight? In other words, how close does it have to be before it is annoying? How close before the noise is ear-splitting?
6) How many homes and people are within “hearing radius” of the flight paths? (It must be thousands…)
7) How is the altitude of take-offs and landings monitored, and by whom?
8.) Is it not patently obvious that a landing or departing helicopter is generating more than enough decibels to be in violation of local sound restriction ordinances? Why is this being ignored?
9) How many individual East Hampton residents use the helicopters on a routine basis and for what purposes? (It is apparent that uber-wealthy summer people may be now commuting daily to work, or shopping, via helicopter–a new addition to “vulgar excess.”)
10) What is the “carbon footprint” of a helicopter flight round trip from Manhattan? How is that justified in an era of climate change and international calls for conservation?
11) Why can’t we tell the uber-wealthy people they will have to go all the way to Westhampton if they want a chopper ride? Or take the jitney or their limousines?
12) Is it true that people such as the Spielbergs actually jet into Westhampton, as their jet is too big for East Hampton, and then chopper into East Hampton? (Someone I know well who works for them claims this is a routine occurrence, and, if so, it should also be relegated to the “vulgar excess” category, above.)
13) Finally, and most importantly, who is benefiting financially from helicopter traffic at our airport, and to what degree? Normally, in cases of the common good being destroyed by the wealthy few, money is flowing in various directions.  (If no one is benefiting much financially, then turning our little airport into a heliport is equally wrong.)

After you research and answer all of these pertinent questions, you might ask yourselves how it is good for this community to support such excessive helicopter landings in rural and wooded surroundings? Or why a town would reintroduce wild turkeys into its woodlands, yet care so little for the human inhabitants of those same regions?

The absurdly excessive disturbance caused by helicopter traffic in once-peaceful areas of East Hampton cannot be justified, can it? I didn’t build my house in Wainscott woods so that I could wave to godforsaken helicopters every three minutes, thousands of times each summer. Please help the many people affected, and severely restrict (or, better still, eliminate) this transportation travesty being perpetrated on us against our will–with no benefit to us of any kind. This issue is central to our quality of life, and not something we are willing to accept.

Finally, please provide me with as much information as possible, as we will next be sending this letter to the East Hampton Star, and it would be good to have your views prior to that.

Sincerely,

Barry Raebeck, Ph.D.
PO Box 663
9 Knoll Lane (in the flight path)
Wainscott NY 11937

 

August 12, 2013

Dear Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop:

I am a resident of East Hampton and founding member of Quiet Skies Coalition. Thank you so much for your ongoing efforts to deal with aircraft noise over residential areas. It is a terrible problem, and is making summer life in our home unbearable more and more of the time.

For sixteen years we had NO helicopters, jets, or sea planes anywhere near our property in Wainscott, northwest of the airport approx 1.5 miles. As a lifelong resident, I bought land there because it was NOT impacted by EH Airport. Four summers ago that changed. And it is getting worse and worse.

Unfortunately, going to a “northern over-water route” for helicopters is not the solution for several reasons. 1) Choppers and sea planes still have to come in over land–a lot of it, and will still negatively impact thousands of people when doing so. This is a case of simply shifting the problem, rather than solving it. 2) Aircraft over water are incredibly loud and invasive too. One is disturbed by helicopter noise before the thing even appears–several miles distant. Are we prepared to deliberately spoil the peace and serenity of our bays, harbors and shorelines up and down Long Island–ruining perhaps our best natural resource for the thousands of sailors, boaters, fishermen, walkers, and bathers who use it every day? 3) What of the residents who live along these shorelines? Did they choose waterfront property to have it ruined by aircraft noise? 4) There is an air pollution aspect, as well as a noise pollution one–and it is severe. Aircraft are wasteful and highly toxic machines that pour excessive amounts of carbon into our air. Should we be encouraging this pollution with all that we know about climate change?

Sirs, the genuine solution, the only acceptable one, is to eliminate helicopter and sea plane taxi service to EH Airport. The airport, recently expanded to a FAA-designated “regional” one, should be returned to its originally intended use as a non-commercial resource for local pilots of small planes. If not, it should be closed.

Please lend your essential voices to an actual solution to our trauma–and stop the devastation of our quality of life. Don’t ask us to “share the pain,” as local officials did this spring with their latest re-routing of helicopters. That is unacceptable. We were here long before EHA expanded so dramatically and commercially. This crisis is threatening the value of our homes, as well as ruining our daily lives. Please don’t cast your lot with a handful of out-of-town operators who care only to make money at our expense–people and environment be damned. We need your help.

And at the same time, let’s work together to cut the absurd traffic knots on Route 27 and to create efficient rail service–as ours is that of an undeveloped nation. I have ideas which I will gladly share.

Barry Raebeck

Wainscott http://www.rememberthisvideo.com/vsinstructions.htm

Dear David,

In last week’s East Hampton Star, Joanne Pilgrim wrote an informative article on the East Hampton Airport manager, Mr. Jim Brundige’s report to the East Hampton Town Board this past Tuesday, July 9. In that report he stated only one aircraft operation was reported early Monday morning before 7 a.m. on July 8.

Coincidentally I wrote a letter to the editor published in the same issue of The Star citing data from a log I kept on aircraft operations that very same Monday morning on July 8. I reported 10 aircraft operations before 7 a.m. In fact, when you read my letter you will get a completely different picture of the oppression brought upon residents of East Hampton and Southampton by dirty, noisy helicopters and other aircraft operations at the airport than what was reported by Mr. Brundige.

Did Mr. Brundige lie to the town board? I don’t think he is lying. I believe he simply wasn’t present at East Hampton Airport and he has no firsthand knowledge of what was going on. I am sure he was just reciting data received by the machines, systems installed at East Hampton Airport to track aircraft operations. I am sure it is safe to say no employee of the town was present before 7 a.m. I assure you I was present in my home, and each aircraft operation I logged is a real event.

Last week on July 12 I wrote a letter to the East Hampton Town Board giving notice to this anomaly. Since I received no response to the letter, I am assuming it is true that the machines utterly failed. If it is true, then the data collection system tracking operations at the airport, that town taxpayers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to install, is grossly flawed. Then no data originating from the airport can be trusted or used in any manner whatsoever. Then all installed systems at the airport are a total waste of money and someone needs to be held accountable. Then the town is missing massive amounts of income relying on this data for landing fees. As a businessman, knowing this, I would immediately throw out all systems, demand my money back, and install a responsible person to collect data during airport operating hours, which seems to be 24/7 as reported by Mr. Brundige.

Since Mr. Brundige cited statistics in his report to the town board it would be silly not to conclude this letter with statistics based purely on logic: Since the error of machine-collected data at the airport versus actual human data collection is 10 times what Mr. Brundige reported for a specific period of time, then the town board must correct all data in Mr. Brundige’s report by multiplying the figures by 10. All findings and conclusions should be revised accordingly.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881); Mark Twain (1906).

If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

http://www.phpaide.com

Dear David,

East Hampton Airport has expanded its use to that of a large metropolitan airport. It is out of control. This is unacceptable and must change immediately.

Early Monday morning, July 8, the peaceful still morning air was rudely and abruptly shattered at 4:38 a.m. by a continuous barrage of noisy, dirty helicopters ferrying inconsiderate, selfish people from East Hampton. Mixed in with noisy, dirty helicopters were a few inconsiderate, selfish airplane and jet owners. The data for the operations are as follows:

4:38 a.m., helicopter; 5:41 a.m., helicopter; 6:11 a.m., helicopter; 6:18 a.m., helicopter; 6:27 a.m., helicopter; 6:32 a.m., helicopter; 6:38 a.m., helicopter; 6:43 a.m., airplane; 6:49 a.m., helicopter; 6:59 a.m., helicopter; 7:05 a.m., airplane; 7:11 a.m., helicopter; 7:18 a.m., helicopter; 7:20 a.m., helicopter; 7:26 a.m., airplane; 7:27 a.m., helicopter; 7:28 a.m., helicopter; 7:29 a.m., airplane; 7:30 a.m., helicopter; 7:32 a.m., jet; 7:33 a.m., jet; 7:35 a.m., airplane; 7:40 a.m., helicopter; 8:45 a.m., helicopter; 8:48 a.m., helicopter; 8:54 a.m., helicopter; 8:56 a.m., airplane; 8:58 a.m., airplane; 9 a.m., helicopter; 9:02 a.m., airplane; 9:03 a.m., airplane; 9:05 a.m., airplane; the barrage continued.

This flight schedule is greater than a large metropolitan airport hub! At large airports, Federal Aviation Administration regulations impose a two-minute separation between aircraft. It obviously does not exist at East Hampton.

Thousands of folks living in residential neighborhoods were tortured and tormented from 4:38 a.m. and throughout this entire morning with no relief. The Maidstone Gun Club has a mandated curfew imposed by the town, operations begin at 9 a.m. How can the town discriminately operate a facility on the property adjacent to the gun club at all hours with no restriction?

The town is presently considering its noise ordinance. Really? Before the town considers imposing restrictions on others, shouldn’t it impose restrictions on itself? When will the town board understand noise abatement is a failed policy? It is about restricting use. How silly is this?

    Sunday is no longer a day of rest in the Hamptons. It is entirely a lost cause. The barrage of dirty, noisy helicopters is relentless. The East Hampton Town Board liaison to the airport, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, is hoping to get re-elected this November. How is that possible if the voters continue to be tortured and tormented as we see here? Won’t the voters hold him accountable? How can any candidate hope to be elected unless their campaign rebukes the current status of the airport and they commit to make changes for the good of the people?

To Gene Oshrin and all the other good folks at East Hampton Aviation Association: You must realize from the above, the helicopters are ruining the airport for you. If implementing restrictions at an airport operating under F.A.A. grant assurances is so easy as you say, then why haven’t you done so already? You have been given much too much time. It is silly if you are doing nothing to restrict helicopter operations. It is silly to believe this torture and torment can continue without severe consequences. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE http://www.satellitedishcanada.com

Dear David,

The relentless, tortuous, disruptive, life-altering barrage of noisy, dirty helicopters has again shattered an entire weekend that once was a restful, peaceful, bucolic environment we call home. Helicopters crashing the stillness of night, rudely awakening the tired, the poor, induced by ferrying rich, selfish, inconsiderate passengers to and from East Hampton Airport at all hours of the day and night. The tired, the poor are the taxpayers, the voters. We are the People.

We the People declare our independence from the tyranny of the federal government who has enslaved the People to a tortuous, tormented existence by usurping the rights given to the People by local zoning laws and the Constitution for the peaceful enjoyment of property.

We the People declare our independence from the carpetbaggers ferrying rich, selfish, inconsiderate passengers at the cost of annihilating the once-restful, peaceful, bucolic environment of the Peconic region that once was the draw for rich, considerate, peace-loving people.

We the People declare our independence from the eye-watering, dirty, grimy, unhealthy pollution raining upon the People from the most inefficient, most polluting form of transportation known: the helicopter.

The airport has no control. The airport is out of control.

We the People demand the return of East Hampton Airport to the enjoyment of local pilots for the intended use of private aircraft owners and private pilots.

We the People demand the return of peace, quiet, rest, and enjoyment of our homes and property.

We the People demand the return to cleaner air, cleaner water, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by eliminating the use of dirty, grimy, unhealthy helicopters; its use being a mere convenience, not a necessity.

We the People demand control of the airport return to the People who have suffered much under the control and enslavement of the federal government, which has usurped the rights of the People.

To the People! For the People! The status quo is unacceptable. The cost is too great to bear. Noise abatement failed miserably.

There is a political solution. This election is your chance to make a change, to take your rights back. Make your demands known to all candidates. Only vote for candidates who make a commitment to eliminate helicopters, refuse to take Federal Aviation Administration money and return the airport to local control. It can be done. If a candidate tells you it cannot be done or they are unwilling to make a commitment, then demand the airport be closed.

It is silly to consider otherwise. If it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE http://www.willowandtara.com/country.php_id=Greece.html

“I Swear I Can See the Whites of The Pilots’ Eyes.”

In the article published by the East Hampton Press on August 11th (PDF of article can be found on the right side of this page.) Richard MacDonald was quoted, “I swear I can see the whites of the pilots’ eyes.” Richard lives behind my house and he was not exaggerating when he made that statement. We can see the pilot had his sunglasses on, otherwise we would have seen the whites of his eyes. This is another of many examples of helicopters flying roof top level harassing the folks on the ground.

This helicopter, tail number N314RG was captured on video flying over my house on Labor Day, September 6, 2010 at 6:09pm. According to the FAA Registry this is a Sikorsky S-92A owned by Rencopter 314 LLC, 1 Rockefeller Plz. Fl. 29, New York, NY 10020-2021. This is the same address as Renco Group, the investment company controlled by Ira Rennert.

In the “Videos” section of this website there is a compilation of video clips of helicopter flying over my house on Labor Day. This helicopter can be seen in the video several times as Mr. Rennert ferries people to and from his home in Sagaponack. Why is he flying over my house and us poor folks north of the highway? Why doesn’t he take the southern route, fly over his house, up Georgica Pond and over Ron Perelman’s house? Does Ira Rennert not like the sound of his own helicopter? Would he rather torture and torment us poor folks north of the highway? His house is in Southampton Town so why are our East Hampton Town officials permitting the residents and taxpayers of East Hampton to be tormented by folks from Southampton? The folks living north of the highway are working folks, so why is Ira Rennert tormenting us on our only holiday, Labor Day? How rude and inconsiderate can this man be? All this to save one hour in travel time. How crazy is that?

The Sikorsky S-92A also known as “Helibus” seats 19 passengers and costs over $32Million. I am wondering if the cost and operations of this helicopter is a corporate expense. I am wondering if the IRS knows about this.

The shocking part of the FAA report is the Airworthiness Classification is listed as “Experimental” and the Airworthiness Category is listed as “Research and Development to show compliance with FAR”. Are you kidding me? An experimental, R&D helicopter is flying this low to residential homes and nobody considers this unsafe or outright dangerous? How are they showing compliance to FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) by flying dangerously close to residential homes. I can attest that this helicopter is so huge and noisy that the vibrations are literally shaking my house under my feet like an earthquake.

Helicopter Crossing Path With Jet

 

 

There are minimum separation requirements for aircraft around airports for good reason, safety. Again I am filming an incoming helicopter when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a bird. I then realize it is a jet that had taken off from the airport. This is shocking and a total disregard for safety. This kind of chaos in the skies over East Hampton is frightening.

Letter to Editor, East Hampton Star, July 25, 2010

A new airport plan being generated by East Hampton, soon to be released and offered for comment, approval and, probably, adoption, proposes improvements, changes and other things to promote greater efficiency, safety and, supposedly, noise abatement. Helicopter noise has taken a prominent position in the discussion. However, a larger issue is that all aircraft make noise. Some make more noise than others. All traffic to and from the airport disturbs the peace and quiet of residents of East Hampton, Southampton and other townships in the paths of these aircraft. Most discussion of the airport and the problems associated with it are put in present tense – never addressing future consequences of growth. The improvements contemplated by the new plan will have the unintended potential of increasing airport capacity. Therefore, any improvement via “noise abatement” achieved will be mocked by increased traffic guaranteed by an improved economy. 

The proposals have cost implications and will have to be funded. East Hampton Town is bankrupt from years of fiscal irresponsibility. It is clear that the town cannot pay for whatever proposals are offered, however modest. The sole funding source remains the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has funded airport “improvements” in the past and has stripped citizens of local control for years by requiring adherence to their “regulations.” My understanding is that the restrictions imposed by previous acceptance of FAA funds are soon to expire. It is important that these kinds of restrictions not be renewed. 

If any improvements contemplated by this latest plan are adopted, they must be funded locally without the limiting regulations of the FAA. (I am guessing that the East Hampton Republican administration would not dare to propose new taxes to fund airport improvements.) If improvements are going to be made, funding should come from airport users. Let the privileged few and commercial entities (some non-local) who profit from their activities pay for the amenities that enable their degradation to our environment. The noise is an external cost for which users pay nothing. It is, in fact, a tax on all. 

East Hampton Town has to be warned that any decision that further disenfranchises the citizens of East Hampton and Southampton will be contested. Southampton must enjoy at least equal political and legal responsibility in decision making about any investment (federal or local) in the airport. Allocating all airport legal and contractual power to East Hampton Town is inherently unjust and undemocratic. The airport is on the western edge of the East Hampton. The prevailing winds come from the west. Winged aircraft take off into the wind. Taking off requires maximum power with the greatest noise generated. Consequently, Southampton suffers the most negative noise impact. Any future plans if adopted, should include limitations on maximum ultimate size, maximum allowable noise, hours of operation and authority to impose fines, landing fees and anything else necessary to control negative impact on our environment. And the discussion should be specific with measurable criteria and means of holding people and government accountable. Control has to be returned to the citizens affected. To date, for many years, talk has promised progress. The result has been smoke and more noise.

Enough taxation without representation

Stephen Levine, Sagaponack, NY

Letter to Editor, Southampton Press, July 25, 2010

The adverse effects of the East Hampton Airport on the eastern border of Southampton are increasing. A new plan for the airport will emerge shortly, in part addressing “noise abatement.” From what I have read, most of this effort is focused on the noise of helicopters. However, a larger issue is that all aircraft make noise. Some make more noise than others. All traffic to and from the airport disturbs the peace and quiet of residents of East Hampton, Southampton and other townships in the paths of these aircraft. An additional important consequence of the plan will be increased potential capacity of the airport. Any positive noise abatement (if any) resulting from the plan will be overwhelmed by increased traffic, an unintended outcome.

 The Town of Southampton must start exerting political and legal influence on this issue affecting its residents. The airport is on the western edge of East Hampton. Winged aircraft take off into the prevailing winds that come from the west. Taking off requires maximum power. Maximum power equals most noise. Consequently, Southampton suffers the most negative noise impact. Most discussion of the airport and the problems associated with it are put in present tense -never addressing future consequences of growth. Any future plans should include maximum ultimate size, maximum allowable noise. And the discussion should be specific with measurable criteria and means of holding people and government accountable. Control has to be returned to the citizens affected. And those citizens include those of Southampton.

 The plan will surely require an expenditure of more funds. With the precarious financial condition of the Town of East Hampton, there is a distinct danger that funding will come from the FAA. Accepting money from the FAA requires complying with FAA regulations that essentially strip local control over the operation of the airport, such as landing fees, hours of operation, types of aircraft and more, that would enable the citizens who suffer the negative impact of the airport to have, at least, some minimum say in limiting the intrusive noise on their lives. It is unconscionable that a few economic entities (some of which are not locally owned) and a few privileged pilots can avail themselves of the authority of a federal agency and have unilateral control over activities that destroy peace and tranquility in our neighborhoods.

 Surely, if the Town can be partners with East Hampton with respect to the Poxabogue Golf Course, the Town can insist on significant input on the airport.

 Stephen Levine, Sagaponack, NY

Southampton Residents for Peaceful Skies

My name is Bob Wolfram, and along with thousands of other year round residents, I’m angry! I’ve done things the “right” way; routinely called the East Hampton Airport to lodge noise complaints, Congressman Bishop and Senator Schumer, as well as several other State and local politicians have also been contacted. The helicopter, jet and plane noise makes it unbearable to use my yard for many months of the year and it’s insufferable. 

We have been by told the Airport Manager that he has taken steps to make it better; instead, it’s gotten much worse. Flights occur any time of the day or night at the whim of the affluent who demand and pay for 24/7 access in and out of the airport. The planes are flying too low, the helicopters never rise to 2,500 feet immediately upon takeoff. There appears to be no “traffic circle” at the airport to share the pain of the noise in different directions. The pilots seem to fly when, and where, they choose. There is NO control. Even Islip McArthur Airport imposes time curfews! They don’t allow jets to fly over residences at 12:45 AM, awakening us last week. 

A law was recently proposed and sent to the FAA by Tim Bishop and Charles Schumer to have the FAA regulate the flight path of helicopters. It does NOTHING for us on the East End. It also doesn’t address the fleet of commercial, private, corporate jets and seaplanes that are a huge part of the noise pollution problem. 

The East Hampton Town Board has done absolutely nothing constructive; why should they kill the golden goose that brings in buckets of fees to their coffers. Southampton Town officials are just ineffective. Southampton Town Supervisor Throne-Holst’s recent comment reported in WSJ, “…. noise is part of the fabric of life in the Hamptons…”  shows her total lack of regard for the year round Southampton citizens. Bottom line, nothing has worked “yet”.  

I recently found Frank Dalene’s website and endorse its intent. We’ve been in touch by email, and we are choosing to become active in the campaign to end commercial flights at the East Hampton airport. Please do the same. Sign the petition. Send emails to your friends and neighbors. Send to Frank pictures, videos, and your story of how the noise has affected your lives.  We’d love to see the airport shut down completely, but if it has to exist, force it to return to the private airport it used to be. 

Lastly, Frank’s site is about East Hampton AND Southampton.  If the commercial flights end, a big part of the noise problem will end with it, and bring some peace to those of us who live in the vicinity of the current flight paths. Contrary to remarks we’ve heard from proponents of the airport, you DON’T have to live near the airport to be affected.  We moved here 30+ years ago; when we built our house 20 years ago, the airport wasn’t flying in hundreds of jets and helicopters on a daily basis.  The constant barrage of noise affects Sag Harbor, Southampton, Shelter Island, North Haven, Noyack, Westhampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Sagaponack – the WHOLE Eastern end of Long Island. 

Personally, I’d love to see ALL air traffic routed around Orient Point, over the Park in Montauk, East to Georgica, and approach the airport over Georgica Pond.  Departing flights would reverse the course or continue West a mile out over the ocean. If Mr. Wealthy Executive can spend $3,000 to get out here, a few hundred dollars more for the slightly longer ride shouldn’t be a problem. And this route only adds about ten minutes to the flight. Another solution – Gabreski Airport could be the “last stop”, and service to the Hamptons provided by the Hampton Jitney. Gabreski has a major runway almost two miles long and it’s big enough to land Air Force 2. 

View this website that shows current flights at the EH airport. YOU WILL BE AMAZED!     

http://flightaware.com/live/airport/KHTO 

I live 2.4 miles from the East Hampton Airport near Sagg Road. I’m not moving to appease the beast. Please join in; if enough of us voice our displeasure, something will HAVE to change.

Sincerely,

Barbara and Bob Wolfram

Illegal Flight?

On July 29, 2010 at 9:05am I captured this helicopter flying in a low scud cloud layer about 200-300 feet AGL. FAA regulations state that when a helicopter flys VFR the pilot must stay in visual contact with ground. Remember there is no minimum flight levels for helicopters which in itself is absolutely absurd. Obviously if the helicopter disappears into the clouds the pilot does not have visual contact with ground so was this pilot flying legally? To be able to fly into clouds like this a pilot must file an IFR flight plan. Was an IFR plan filed? I sent this video with the date and time the helicopter flew over my house to Jim Brundige, the airport manager. He sent me a response that he was reporting this incident to the FAA. My question is: Where is the FAA? Why aren’t they policing aircraft traffic? What is the airport manager doing to manage the airport and traffic impacting residents in East Hampton. The Town of East Hampton spent tons of money on aircraft tracking software that is cool to look at but why isn’t being used to monitor and report violations? Who is monitoring aircraft traffic in East Hampton skies? The answer is no one! This is a huge safety issue!

This is akin to East Hampton Police saying we no longer will monitor DMV laws in the Town of East Hampton. Helicopters are not regulated so all exotic super cars are not subject to DMV laws in East Hampton. They can go as fast as they wish. How ludicrous is that? How irresponsible is that? That is exactly what the FAA is doing. The Town leaders shrug their shoulders and tell us there is nothing they can do. That is plain BS. They need to declare local rule, take over responsibility for activities at the airport and in the skies over East Hampton. They must protect the residents of East Hampton. That is their job!

Hell Flights

I shot the frightening video above Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 5:57pm. Besides the terror of suddenly being blasted by the noise; is realizing that this helicopter might actually crash into my house. This video is shot on the 2nd floor balcony, so this is not a result of weird camera angles or a weird perspective. It is actually what it looks like as captured in the stills…a helicopter descending down my roof. This is raw footage.

These are helicopter flights from hell since they are only meant to harass and wreck havoc with people on the ground. Why else would anyone want to put their life at risk to fly this dangerously low? I will simply call this type of flying behavior hell flights.

The frightening thing was the airport was fogged in when this helicopter arrived at the airport. Also at the same time I observed a blue and white Cessna Caravan Seaplane landing in the fog at the airport. For fixed wing aircraft the weather was way below minimums to land at the airport. Please remember I am a pilot, I am familiar with the FARs. These pilots are cowboy bush pilots and it amazes me people will pay good money to put their lives at risk with these guys. The operator of the helicopter in this video has two helicopters that he operates out of the airport and they are both notorious for low flights such as this. At minimum their privileges to operate out of East Hampton Airport should be revoked. It amazes me the Town continues to operate the airport under these extremely unsafe conditions. How do you square this with the “peaceful enjoyment of property” guaranteed by EH Town Law? No poor slob should subject to these living conditions…not here…not now.

This type of low level flying occurs all the time…this time I happened to captured it in such a way to give a realistic account. When I shoot video clips of helicopters flying behind trees people do not realize the helicopters are lower than the trees on my property. No responsible person can let the airport operate under these conditions.

BTW; I attended the news conference held by the Riverhead Supervisor this morning. It amazes me our Town officials aren’t ashamed at the ruckus the operations at East Hampton Airport is causing all over Long Island. I am. Has the Town considered being a good neighbor and ending the commercial operation of aircraft ferrying people back and forth to East Hampton? To benefit only a few people; is this all worth it?

Dear Supervisor and Town Board Members,

Like Frank Dalene, we too are distressed by the noise and dangers posed to our community by helicopters landing at East Hampton Airport. This video is shocking, but the event it captures is hardly unusual. We do not exaggerate when we say that helicopters have ruined our way of life in Wainscott. In the summer months, it is no longer possible to sit outside from Thursday-Sunday, while they take off and land every few minutes, flying directly over our house and those of our neighbors. We are utterly amazed at the lack of action on the part of our public officials. We invite you to spend one weekend late afternoon in our area to see what it is like to live with this insufferable noise, combined with genuine fear that the helicopter flying at tree top level will crash in one’s yard. Together with Frank and other members of our community, we are taking action to make sure that our citizens understand their rights and put an end to this destruction of our way of life. If you think that this is the problem of a few people alone, I suggest you start talking to your fellow citizens, who are equally outraged at the situation and your inaction. I urge you to act now.
Yours,
Linda Zerilli
Marie Zerilli
9 Bark Ct.
Wainscott, NY 11975

Riverhead Supervisor Unites Elected Officials, Civic Activists For New Helicopter Pathway

Click on Press Release on right side of this page.

East Hampton Star – Letter to the Editor

Xs on the Runways

Wainscott

June 21, 2010

Dear David,

On Monday, June 7, at 3:23 a.m., a helicopter landed at East Hampton Airport; at 3:38 a.m. a helicopter took off at East Hampton Airport. From 3:23 a.m. to 3:38 a.m. that helicopter was permitted to operate by our town supervisor and the town board on town-owned land.

On Thursday, June 10, at 1:59 a.m., an airplane taxied on the runway at East Hampton Airport and took off. Again, the airplane was permitted to operate on East Hampton Town-owned land.

Saturday night, June 19, at 11:41, a jet plane took off at East Hampton Airport. The plane was not one of those newer quieter jets; it was very loud on takeoff. At 11:47 p.m. a helicopter landed, and at 11:59 p.m. a helicopter took off. Islip Airport even has the sense to close down at 11 p.m., so what’s the deal?

Shame on our town supervisor. Shame on our town board for operating an airport with no regard for the residents who may be sleeping at that time of night. These residents are promised by the laws of East Hampton to have quiet enjoyment of their property. Shame, shame for operating an airport with total disregard for the town’s own countless laws prohibiting businesses, construction, music, or other activities that generate noise from operating after 11 p.m.

To be perfectly clear: East Hampton Airport is owned by East Hampton Town. Regarding the operation of the airport, the buck stops with the town supervisor and the town board. There are two entire sections in the East Hampton law that regulate airport operations and aircraft at the airport and in East Hampton Town. If the airport manager or any town official tells you that they can’t do anything to control the times aircraft fly in and out of the airport it is total nonsense. It is absolutely ridiculous. It is not true. When I first heard that excuse, I walked away thinking, “Are they stupid, or are they trying to insult my intelligence?”

Of course they can do something! They can make a new law. They can temporarily close the airport. They can cease operations altogether at the airport if that’s what it takes. If the town threatened to shut down the airport, don’t you think the aircraft owners, operators, and pilots would act differently? Of course they would. Here is how it should start:

Aircraft owners, operators, pilots, and demanding passengers who believe they must fly after 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m. are selfish, spoiled children with no consideration for anyone else, so the town must treat them like children. The town should send a letter to all aircraft owners and operators, notify pilots by sending out a “notice to airmen” that when any aircraft flies in or out of East Hampton Airport between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the town will shut the airport down the following weekend.

Yup, put the Xs on the runways and shut the airport down for the entire weekend. I remember when our children didn’t play well with their toys; we took their toys away. It really is that simple.

Come on, supervisor and board, stand up for the citizens of East Hampton. If the Federal Aviation Administration has something to say about it, demand it fixes it. Absent that, declare home rule and take back control of the airport that you have responsibility for operating. Start acting responsible. When you see that works, you may do the same for unsafe, tree-top-flying aircraft and commercial operations of aircraft. (Data, videos, and an online petition are available on www.ehhelicopternoise.com.)

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Quiet Enjoyment of Property

The Town of East Hampton has adopted the “Town of East Hampton Zoning Law” § 255-1-11 “for the purpose of promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the Town of East Hampton by regulating the uses of lots and lands and the dimensions, locations and uses of buildings and structures throughout the Town,” more specifically in:

“B. Protection of neighborhoods: to protect the established character of neighborhoods, especially residential neighborhoods, the    social and economic well-being of residents and the value of private and public property.”

 “H. Safety and health: to secure safety from fire, panic, flood, storm and other dangers, to provide adequate light, air and convenience of access for all properties, to avoid the creation of nuisances and other conditions impinging upon the quiet enjoyment and use of property and to prevent environmental pollution and degradation of whatever kind.”

 And § 255-1-50 Nuisances Prohibited: “In addition to the other regulations of land uses in this chapter, any trade, industry, activity or use which, when lawfully conducted, is determined to create toxic or harmful fumes, gases, smoke or odors or obnoxious dust, vapors, noises or vibrations disruptive of the quiet enjoyment of neighboring properties shall be prohibited.”

 What does the Town Law mean when it promised us the “Quiet Enjoyment of our Property” I am sure every person asked that question to will give a different answer and I am sure that every attorney asked that question to will give a different answer. I can tell you what is NOT the quiet enjoyment of our property and I am sure everyone will agree:

 On Monday, June 7th at 3:23am a helicopter landed at East Hampton Airport; at 3:38am a helicopter took off at East Hampton Airport. From 3:23am to 3:38am that helicopter was permitted to operate on Town owned land by our Town Supervisor and the Town Board Members who are the persons responsible for the operations at East Hampton Airport. On Thursday, June 10th at 1:59am an airplane taxied on the runway at East Hampton Airport and took off. Again the airplane was permitted to operate on East Hampton Town owned land.

 We can discuss how selfish, arrogant and inconsiderate the pilots and the owners of these aircraft are for operating the aircraft with no consideration to the time at night and the people they wake up in the middle of the night but I am not going to do that this time.

 I am calling upon our Town Supervisor and our Town Board Members to make their home phone or cell phone numbers available to the public, (You know the phone that is on their nightstand next to their bed.), so when people in the residential district are awakened by aircraft, they can call them, to also wake them up in the middle of the night. That is only fair. If not, then they should make the necessary changes…we should not be awakened in the middle of the night by a Town airport that is not being operated in compliance to Town law.

The Town Supervisor and Town Board Members are operating the East Hampton Airport in violation of Town Laws. The Town needs to figure out how to comply with Town laws, or they need to shut the airport down, like they do to every other business in Town that violates the law. The Town Supervisor and the Town Board Members have the power to shut East Hampton Airport down regardless of what they tell us. The airport has been shut down many times in the past for many different reasons. Remember the FAA told us they couldn’t do anything. We know now that was hogwash.

Tremendous Problem of Helicopter Noise

Dear Mr. Dalene,

Thanks for all your work compiling information on the tremendous problem of helicopter noise in our community. During the peak summer months, we have helicopters flying approximately every two minutes just over our roof, ruining any possibility of sitting outside. Should we by chance venture outside when the helicopters start their trek to and from the airport, the noise is so loud that we have to stop talking until the helicopter passes. Most fly very low to the ground, which has me and my family worried about our safety.

For us, the situation has gotten much worse over the years. When we first moved to Wainscott 12 years ago, we heard very low air traffic noise from private airplanes landing at the East Hampton Airport. This did not bother us in the least. Then the helicopters came and with them the end of our right to enjoy our property undisturbed by commercial traffic.

I have heard that there are new rules for helicopter air traffic, but it seems that nothing has changed. Shouldn’t our zoning laws protect us from intrusion of commercial noise into residential areas?

Yours sincerely,

Marie Zerilli

Close Call

The airport take-off and landing patterns are designed to keep order and safety in aircraft traffic around the airport. Helicopters approach the airport in all directions flying treetop level, flying under the pattern altitude thereby creating a chaotic and unsafe environment for those in the air and on the ground. This past Monday, Memorial Day, I captured on video, a close call between a helicopter and airplane intersecting paths. Based on my observations an accident is inevitable and if this administration does nothing, the blood will be on their hands. The time to act is now.

Helicopters were approaching one right behind the other the entire Memorial Day afternoon. I was on the second floor balcony when there was a short break in helicopter traffic. I saw an airplane in the airport traffic pattern after taking off. I panned with the airplane as I heard to my astonishment helicopters approaching and caught on video the helicopters, one behind the other intersecting the flight of an airplane in the airport pattern with only a small separation in altitude. These are the still shots from the video.

As I now pan with the first helicopter that intersected the airplane’s flight path, the trees come into view and the height of the helicopter is put into perspective as he comes over the residential homes at tree-top level, which he must do to scoot under airport pattern altitude. Helicopters flying this low are blasting 85dB – 90dB percussive, ground shaking, house ratteling noise on the homes in the residential district around the airport. Remember, I don’t live near the airport…I live 1.3 miles north almost by Route 114.

On the tail of the first helicopter is a second helicopter also intersecting the airplane’s flight path, flying lower still than the first helicopter. It is hard to imagine that this can happen and I could not believe what I was seeing. It is harder still for people to believe me when I explain and write about my observations from the balcony of my house. Finally, I have documentary evidence that captures the chaotic, out-of-control cowboys flying commercial helicopters into East Hampton Airport. Now, I call upon all our elected officials and all regulatory bodies from the Town of East Hampton to the United States Government to put an end to this madness. The full video can be viewed in the “Video” section of this website.

Gross Negligence: Defined by the Law Encyclopedia; An indifference to, and a blatant violation of, a legal duty with respect to the rights of others. Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both.

Chaotic and Unsafe, LTE, EH Star, June 1, 2010

Chaotic and Unsafe

June 1, 2010

Dear Editor,

All helicopter noise data I collected in my report (available on ehhelicopternoise.com), and the only complaint I have concerning East Hampton Airport operations is the commercial operations of helicopters and seaplanes ferrying passengers to and from East Hampton. Commercial operations of aircraft are recently escalating events that will continue to get worse over time and must be addressed now.

The airport take-off and landing patterns are designed to keep order and safety in aircraft traffic around the airport. Helicopters approach the airport in all directions, flying treetop level, flying under the pattern altitude, thereby creating a chaotic and unsafe environment for those in the air and on the ground. This past Monday, Memorial Day, I captured on video a close call between a helicopter and airplane that I will be posting on my Web site. Based on my observations, an accident is inevitable, and if this administration does nothing, the blood will be on their hands. The time to act is now.

The intent of zoning laws in the Town of East Hampton is to provide for separation and segregation of uses allowing for the more intense impacts of commercial operations to be separated and segregated into specific geographic areas. The property owners in residential districts therefore enjoy a more peaceful existence by a horizontal separation from commercial operations, a major impact being noise. The zoning laws in the Town of East Hampton do not take into consideration the vertical separation of impacts of commercial use. Therefore the original intent of zoning laws in East Hampton Town has been compromised by commercial operations of aircraft over the residential districts.

The property owners of East Hampton within the residential districts call upon the Town of East Hampton to amend its zoning laws to take into consideration the vertical separation of commercial operations to eliminate impacts associated with commercial use from above. No commercial operations of aircraft should be allowed over the residential districts.

I am expecting our elected officials in the Town of East Hampton to be logical and reasonable and make the necessary changes in the zoning law. If they do, then only one commercial aircraft route exists: Fly north of Long Island with a flight path offshore over Long Island Sound past Orient Point. Turn south over Plum Island and Gull Island. Fly directly into Montauk Airport. No minimum altitude is required. Approach from the east, return flight in opposite direction. Depart to the west, possibly with separation in altitude.

This solution requires a short car ride for passengers to East Hampton Village — normally in the opposite direction of traffic flow. Montauk Airport is situated directly on Block Island Sound. This solution prevents commercial operations over any residential district on Long Island. Montauk Airport has an automated weather observing system and a precision approach path indicator.     

Over all it may be safer for commercial operations at Montauk Airport than at East Hampton. Is it possible that this solution is too simple? Does it make sense to spend more money and increase commercial aircraft operations at East Hampton Airport to further enrage residential property owners? The answer should be a no-brainer for any elected official.

Sincerely,

FRANK DALENE

Smart Solution

Dear Mr Dalene,

As a full-time East Hampton resident with a home in the northwest woods, I too have a problem with noise from low-flying helicopters and planes.

There have also been times, while I’ve been fishing East Hampton beaches that I’ve watched helicopters hovering as low as 200 ft above the sand.  While the noise factor has often been deafening, what concerns me more is what will happen when one of these low-flying helicopters or planes crashes or has to make a forced landing due to mechanical or weather-related problems. They are flying over very populated areas so the potential for a terrible accident to occur is very real.

In the summertime, flights are more numerous, thus the noise and danger factors go up proportionately. Shouldn’t our town legislators be concerned about the public’s well being and right to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle?

Constructing a control tower to better manage increased air traffic, which is what the town and the FAA seem to be proposing, won’t solve the problem because there will still be too many low-flying aircraft over densely populated areas making too much noise and ruining everyone’s tranquility.

The only smart solution I see is to develop a flight path that will lessen the environmental impact of local air traffic.  If East Hampton Town does not take intelligent action, all of us who are opposed to having their quality of life diminished by low-flying aircraft should consider joining in a law suit  for nuisance.  Communities in other areas of Long Island have already used this strategy with success.

Thanks for your very enlightening website.

Sincerely,

Jay Blatt

Only One Reasonable Commercial Aircraft Route To East Hampton

All the helicopter noise data I collected in my report and the only complaint I have concerning East Hampton Airport operations is the commercial operations of helicopters and seaplanes ferrying passengers to and from East Hampton. Commercial operations of aircraft are recent escalating events that will continue to get worse over time and must stop now.

The intent of zoning laws in the Town of East Hampton provide for separation and segregation of uses allowing for the more intense impacts of commercial operations to be separated and segregated into specific geographic areas within the Town of East Hampton. The property owners in residential districts therefore should enjoy a more peaceful existence by separation of impacts of use from commercial operations, a major impact being noise. The zoning laws in the Town of East Hampton do not take into consideration the vertical separation of impacts of commercial use. Therefore the original intent of zoning laws in East Hampton Town has been compromised by commercial operations of aircraft over the residential district. The property owners of East Hampton within the residential districts call upon the Town of East Hampton to amend its zoning laws to take into consideration the vertical separation of commercial operations to eliminate impacts associated with commercial use from above. No commercial operations of aircraft should be allowed over the residential district. 

Expecting our elected officials in the Town of East Hampton to be logical and reasonable and they make the necessary changes in the zoning law; then only one commercial aircraft route exists:

Fly north of Long Island; flightpath centered on the Long Island Sound. Turn south over Plum Island and Gull Island. Fly directly into Montauk Airport. No minimum altitude is required. Return flight in opposite direction possibly with separation in altitude.

This solution requires a short car ride for passengers to East Hampton Village; normally in the opposite direction of traffic flow. Montauk Airport is situated directly on Block Island Sound. This solution prevents commercial operations over any residential district on Long Island. Montauk Airport has an Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) and a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI). Is it possible that this solution is too simple? Does it make sense to spend more money and increase commercial aircraft operations at East Hampton Airport to further enrage residential property owners? The answer should be a no-brain-er for any elected official.

SCHUMER, BISHOP CALL ON FAA TO CURB HELICOPTER NOISE WITH NEW REGULATIONS

I would like to thank our U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop for recognizing and acknowledging how local residential communities on Long Island have been tortured by helicopter noise. We appreciate the decisive action by our legislators to call upon the FAA to solve this problem. We hope the FAA uses clear reasoning that is not influenced by conflicting self interests to once and for all bring peace and enjoyment to all residential property owners on Long Island.

See below:

12/09/09

Washington, DC–Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Congressman Tim Bishop urged Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt–during a personal meeting in Senator Schumer’s Washington D.C. office–to direct his agency to craft first-ever regulations to curb helicopters that fly low over Long Island communities. Schumer and Bishop have been pushing to crack down on the rogue choppers for years but told Babbitt today that only way to divert the helicopters away from populated areas once and for all was for the FAA to impose stiff regulation and monitoring. Schumer and Bishop stressed that it is within the FAA’s power to craft and impose these regulations. Both legislators’ counsels are meeting with the FAA council next week to discuss the new regulations.

“These low-flying helicopters have tortured and tormented Long Island communities for far too long,” Schumer said. “The bottom line is the only entity that can rein these rogue choppers in once and for all is the FAA. We appreciate Administrator Babbitt’s attention to this critical issue and look forward to working with him to get these new regulations in place as soon as possible.”

“Those of us who live in Suffolk County are tired of the roar of helicopters disrupting the serenity of our island,” said Bishop, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Although there have been improvements for some communities due to new flight patterns, a significant problem still exists, so it is time for the FAA to take action.”

Schumer and Bishop also sent a formal letter detailing their request. A copy of their letter is below:

Dear Administrator Babbitt:

We write to respectfully request that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulate minimum altitudes and mandatory flight paths for helicopter traffic over parts of Long Island and Staten Island, NY. Residents in these regions have long-complained about disruptive noise from low-flying private helicopters, which is particularly burdensome during the summer months. Despite efforts to implement voluntary practices to alleviate noise from helicopters, Long Island and Staten Island residents continue to be burdened. We believe that the FAA Administrator has the authority, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 40103 (b) and 14 CFR §91.119, to regulate helicopter minimum altitudes and flight paths, and there is past precedent that demonstrates this ability. We are confident that action in the form of regulation will bring much-needed relief to residents.

In September 2007, we convened a meeting with officials from FAA, New York metropolitan area helicopter operators, and airport managers from Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY to discuss voluntary solutions to eradicate onerous helicopter noise. The parties to the meeting agreed that a voluntary minimum flight altitude of 2500 feet, combined with a new “North Shore Route” which diverts helicopters over the Long Island Sound, as opposed to land, would help to reduce helicopter noise in residential areas. Unfortunately the voluntary recommendations are often ignored and residents are all too frequently still subjected to deafening, foundation-ratting flyovers.

We respectfully ask that you use your powers as Administrator to draft FAA regulations that will set a minimum flying altitude and a mandatory flight path for helicopters over Long Island and Staten Island, and that you do so in time for the 2010 summer season.

FAA has a past precedent of regulating helicopter minimum altitudes. 14 CFR Part 91 outlines operating rules for airplane and helicopter air tour flights operating under visual flight rules in the State of Hawaii, and sets a minimum flight altitude for these aircraft. We also understand that helicopter noise mitigation has been an ongoing issue at FAA, and in 1987 the Agency issued an Advisory Circular that states that FAA has, since 1969, considered adopting noise standards for helicopter operations.

Administrator Babbitt, we appreciate that you share my commitment to ensuring the safety of all aircraft operators and passengers, and I understand it will be necessary to make safety the primary consideration of these regulations.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

Helicopter Noise

It is a critical concern and will not simply go away by ignoring the issue.  We must have open and regular dialogues.  Dialogues must include points of view from community members, airport and aviation professionals, FAA personnel,  planners and obviously elected officials from the communities – served and effected.  All discussions must include acceptable timetables, accountabilities and next steps.

Bill Wilkinson

World Health Organization Report

Posted on the right side of this website under “Reports” is the World Health Organization Guidelines for Community Noise. The consensus and qualifications of the contributors are impressive. This should be required reading for all elected officials. I wonder if trial lawyers will read this document and see the data I collected over thirteen months and have a hay day. The report talks about health problems caused by noise that may start at levels of 70dB – 75dB and severe problems occurring at 80dB and above. In thirteen months I reported almost 400 instances of noise levels from 75dB – 90dB. Somebody may add two plus two and possibly collect millions of dollars. Here are some excerpts:

“In contrast to many other environmental problems, noise pollution continues to grow and it is accompanied by an increasing number of complaints from people exposed to the noise. The growth in noise pollution is unsustainable because it involves direct, as well as cumulative, adverse health effects. It also adversely affects future generations, and has socio-cultural, esthetic and economic effects.”

“Stronger reactions have been observed when noise is accompanied by vibrations and contains low-frequency components, or when the noise contains impulses, such as with shooting noise. Temporary, stronger reactions occur when the noise exposure increases over time, compared to a constant noise exposure.” This describes the type of noise that occurs with incoming helicopters.

“Acute noise exposures activate the autonomic and hormonal systems, leading to temporary changes such as increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and vasoconstriction. After prolonged exposure, susceptible individuals in the general population may develop permanent effects, such as hypertension and ischaemic heart disease associated with exposure to high sound pressure levels.”

“Studies on the adverse effects of environmental noise on mental health cover a variety of symptoms, including anxiety; emotional stress; nervous complaints; nausea; headaches; instability; argumentativeness; sexual impotency; changes in mood; increase in social conflicts, as well as general psychiatric disorders such as neurosis, psychosis and hysteria. Large-scale population studies have suggested associations between noise exposure and a variety of mental health indicators, such as single rating of well-being; standard psychological symptom profiles; the intake of psychotropic drugs; and consumption of tranquilizers and sleeping pills.”

“For aircraft noise, it has been shown that chronic exposure during early childhood appears to impair reading acquisition and reduces motivational capabilities. Of recent concern are concomitant psychophysiological changes (blood pressure and stress hormone levels). Evidence indicates that the longer the exposure, the greater the damage. It seems clear that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports and industrial sites.”

“Noise can produce a number of social and behavioral effects in residents, besides annoyance. The social and behavioral effects are often complex, subtle and indirect. Many of the effects are assumed to be the result of interactions with a number of non-auditory variables. Social and behavioral effects include changes in overt everyday behavior patterns (e.g. closing windows, not using balconies, turning TV and radio to louder levels, writing petitions, complaining to authorities); adverse changes in social behavior (e.g. aggression, unfriendliness, disengagement, non-participation); adverse changes in social indicators (e.g. residential mobility, hospital admissions, drug consumption, accident rates); and changes in mood (e.g. less happy, more depressed).”

“It is also suspected that people are less willing to help, both during exposure and for a period after exposure. Fairly consistent evidence shows that noise above 80dBA is associated with reduced helping behavior and increased aggressive behavior. Particularly, there is concern that high-level continuous noise exposures may contribute to the susceptibility of schoolchildren to feelings of helplessness.”

This explains a lot. It explains why someone threatened to shoot down the helicopters. It explains the angry responses at the public hearing. It explains the angry responses on the noise complaint hotline. It will be very sad on that day when someone does something foolish, gets caught and gets prosecuted. The writing is on the wall; one day someone will get angry enough or aggressive enough to do something terrible. In the meantime East Hampton Town is standing by and doing nothing to correct this insanity or shall I say, cause of insanity.

Taxi Business; Is This Hypocrisy or Discrimination?

I was really saddened to read in the newspaper that the Town of East Hampton came down on my good friend, Eva for operating a taxi business on her property in a residential district. Eva is a great lady who I have known for over twenty five years. There are few people I know that have given back to the community as much as she has. She has volunteered in the architectural community, institutions, our town, county, state and nation. Eva volunteered on projects such as the Duck Project, environmental causes, green building causes, on committees and boards on the town, state and national level. I know her as a lady with a huge, huge heart. As a result of our economy, architectural projects became scarce for her so she rolled up her sleeves and did what she had to do to make a living and pay her ever increasing property taxes. To be fair to everyone involved in this situation perhaps the impact of operating a taxi business became excessive in a residential district but this kind of treatment to a fine member of our community seems over the top.

On the other hand it is possible to argue that the taxis are operating only when they are picking up and dropping off passengers. The act of hiring a taxi is when the passenger is picked up. When the taxi service is not operating the vehicles are parked at Eva’s residence. If that is the case then the town cannot discriminate against the taxi businesses alone and must enforce the same laws to carpenters, landscapers, contractors and the host of small businesses that park their pick-up trucks, trailers and cars owned by the business at their homes at the end of the work day. Since many times the books and records of these small businesses are located in the residential homes and many times workers are dispatched from the residences then they are also operating businesses similar to a taxi business without proper site plan approval and special permit as the town is claiming with Eva. This certainly will open up a can of worms.

Wait a minute!!!! The Town of East Hampton is operating a taxi business from the East Hampton Airport!!!! Instead of using cars the Town of East Hampton is using helicopters and seaplanes to pick up and drop passengers at the East Hampton Airport. The Town charges fees for the use of the airport and the Town collects fees on fuel used in the aircraft. Technically the helicopter and seaplane operators or owners may be tenants of the airport. Based on my observations the helicopter and seaplane taxi service started a few years ago. I do not recall when the Town of East Hampton applied for or received a site plan approval or a special permit for the taxi service or for the owners and operators of the helicopters and seaplanes. The operation of the helicopter and seaplane taxi service occurs over the residential district with a much greater impact than Eva’s taxi company. The videos and data substantiating that claim are on this website. The helicopters in the videos on this website are operating the taxi service mentioned above. Certainly the evidence of the negative impact caused by the Town run taxi operations gathered on this website are far more compelling than what one can imagine from four automobiles.

Shouldn’t the Town of East Hampton cite itself for a violation before the Town cites its own citizens? Is the Town of East Hampton just being myopic? Perhaps the Town cares more about generating income on its own property than it cares about the rights of residential property owners to peaceful enjoyment of their property. Perhaps the Town cares more about the few wealthy individuals that fly in these helicopters than us poor slobs in the residential district, north of the highway, who suddenly have to live with accoustic assaults from the sky. What will happen when I call the East Hampton Town Ordinance Enforcement Department to complain about the operation of the helicopter and seaplane taxi service at the East Hampton Airport? Will I get the same results that the complainers received that live around Eva’s house?

How Has The Noise Been Addressed?

If you call the Noise Complaint Hotline; 631-537-LOUD; the message states that only complaints logged on the noise complaint hotline will be addressed. What does that mean? How are the noise complaints being addressed? Is the Town of East Hampton being honest with us? Or, Is the Town just trying to placate us? I think it would be extremely dishonest and disingenuous for the Town to encourage its citizens to call in complaints on this hotline, make its citizens believe something was being done and then down right do nothing to correct the problem. Ahhh, but the message did not say they would correct the noise problem…it said they will address the complaint…so what does that mean? The video says it all…the noise problem with helicopters still exists. Should the question rather be…When will the noise complaints be addressed? Maybe this is a cruel joke on the citizens of East Hampton. You can decide.

I have been logging helicopter noise complaints on the Noise Complaint Hotline for seventeen months. The data for thirteen months of phone calls is available on the right side of this website. I only call when I am at home; anyone that knows me can verify I am rarely home even on weekends. That is what makes the data so compelling. Each time I call I leave my name, address and phone number as instructed on the message. I also give the time, from my cell phone, the noise level recorded on a handheld digital noise level meter and comments regarding the level of flight or any other observations I had. If I extrapolated the number of calls I made in thirteen months to a period of seventeen months, it will calculate to over five hundred phone calls. That is just incredible. Why has nothing been done to correct this problem? It is our government’s responsibility to protect the people. What are they doing?

I purchased my property in a residential district. Zoning laws provided that my property would be separated from the noise impacts of commercial operations existing in the Town of East Hampton until a few years ago. The Town has permitted its property, the East Hampton Airport, to be used for the commercial operations of helicopters and seaplanes that ferry passengers to and from East Hampton. As a result of these commercial operations residential property owners find themselves being impacted by extreme noise pollution from above. If the Town of East Hampton prohibited commercial operations of aircraft on its own property then the extreme noise pollution impacting the residential district will cease. The Town only needs to enforce its own zoning laws on its own property. Why hasn’t this noise problem been addressed yet? If I didn’t pay my taxes for the same period of time I am positive that situation would be addressed. If I were the owner of the Surf Lodge, for example, just playing music for my patrons and the Town takes steps to address noise complaints there but not by operations on Town property, I would be upset. How can the Town not address the noise complaints caused by operations on their own property? Is that hypocrisy? Do as I say…Not as I do.

I decided to stop calling complaints into the noise complaint hotline. Why bother if the Town is unwilling to address the problem. Seventeen months is a very long time and should have been sufficient time if the Town had intentions to correct the problem. Will they tell you they did address the noise complaints? Instead I will shoot videos of the helicopters because the pictures and sound are worth a lot more than a thousand words. We will be able to record an incredible amount of evidence. We are able to identify the owners of these helicopters since we can get the tail numbers from the video. Non-compliance to noise abatement will be documented. Safety concerns of flying too low will be able to be documented. When an accident occurs we will have evidence of the reckless operations of certain operators and their pilots. Who knows, maybe we might initiate our own legal action against the helicopter operators, the pilots or the Town of East Hampton. For now we will continue to gather video evidence and post it here on this website for all to see and perhaps for all to use.

United We Stand

Thank-you, T. James Matthews and his two Northwest groups for joining and contributing to this blog. It is now OUR website and WE can speak in the collective. We get our strength in numbers. The more we grow by adding stakeholder groups and individuals, the greater our chance for success. Divided we fail. We encourage all interested parties to join this conversation.

We make the commitment to keep this website respectful and productive. We don’t allow drive-by posters or posters that hide behind screen names. To post a comment or submit a contribution to the blog you must register with the website. The only reason for the registration is to confirm the legitimacy of the post. We believe the most responsible and respectful comments or submissions will be the most productive to cause the changes necessary to end the disruptive noise pollution from above. Each group that joins this conversation will be featured in the right hand sidebar and all submissions by the group will catagorized under their name. I understand that certain groups may disagree on other topics but here on this website we can unite on this topic regardless how we may disagree on other topics.

We reached out to the political candidates to get their opinions and solutions on this issue. So far no one has responded. Perhaps they are contemplating their response at this time. There will be no place to hide on this issue. The residential property owners, who are the voters, want to know what their position is and rightfully so. Property owner’s peaceful enjoyment of their property has been taken away by elected officials who do nothing and say they can do nothing. We don’t accept that response and we don’t respect elected officials who don’t have the guts to stand up to the FAA or any other organization that is standing in the way to protect residential property owners from the onslaught of inhumane noise pollution from above. We cannot vote in gutless, lazy politicians who will ignore this problem. Declare local rule and end this insanity!

Frank

Northwest Alliance Letter to Town Board

September 23, 2009

William McGintee, Town Supervisor
Peter Hammerle, Town Board Member
Julia Prince, Town Board Member
Brad Loewen, Town Board Member
Pat Mancir, Town Board Member
Town of East Hampton
159 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937

Dear Supervisor McGintee and Town Board members,

For almost thirty years, the Northwest Alliance has worked to protect the natural environment in the western part of Northwest Woods. We have seen investments in the millions of dollars by the Town, County, and State in the protection of this area from pollution of various sorts. Despite this, in the last two years, the area and its wildlife have been subjected to deliberate noise pollution from helicopters that may be having very damaging effects. In particular, we write now in response to the Environmental Impact Statement developed for the Airport Master Plan and its failure to address the control of helicopter noise. At the September 17 hearing , our views on this matter were expressed ably by our member Patricia Hope and we are in strong sympathy with the views expressed by Peter Van Scoyoc`. To summarize, our position on this issue is as follows:

1. Helicopters should not be allowed to fly over East Hampton Airspace. The evidence indicating the harmful effects of airport noise on wildlife present in the area is unequivocal and non-emergency helicopters, with their current level of noise production, should not be allowed.
2. If the town cannot ban non-emergency helicopters from Town airspace, then a seasonal control tower should be installed and its authority used to require and enforce flight patterns that do not encroach destructively on nature preserves.
3. If a control tower is installed, we encourage the use of the shortest overland route to and from the airport, which is over Georgica Pond.

We appreciate the many conflicting interests with regard to the use of helicopters but it is our strong feeling that this form of transportation has not achieved a level of technical maturity that will allow it to be used in a manner that is respectful of the people and wildlife below.

Sincerely,

T. James Matthews, Chair

Northwest Comprehensive Coordinating Committee Letter to James Brundage

TO:
James Brundage, Manager
East Hampton Airport

Dear Mr. Brundage,

On behalf of the Northwest Comprehensive Coordinating Committee, an East Hampton Town Committee charged with coordinating the environmental activities of public and private agencies in the Northwest Woods area of East Hampton, I am writing to encourage you to urgently pursue a renegotiation of the flight paths used by helicopters to approach and leave from East Hampton Airport. Currently, the major incoming flight path traverses the length of Northwest Creek, an area that is almost entirely protected as a nature preserve. This area now absorbs approximately 45 % of the total helicopter traffic into and out of the Airport. Further, the altitude requirement for this route is set at 2000 feet at the ferry dock at North Haven and allows a reduction in altitude from there to the airport. Thus the altitude over the Creek is not precisely regulated and it is the impression of observers that the range of actual flight altitudes over the Creek includes many flights well below 2000 ft. Our Committee has heard concerns about the grave impact of concussive helicopter noise on a natural area that the Town, County and State have gone to great effort and expense to preserve. In addition to disturbing the beauty and serenity of this area, the dramatic recent increase in helicopter noise could very well do damage to wildlife.

A 2003 review published in the journal Environmental Management (Pepper, Nascarella, & Kendall, 2003, Environmental Management, 32,4, pp 418-423) has provided evidence that airport noise is disturbing to wildlife, just as it is to humans. The “masking” effect of airport noise can interfere with the auditory capabilities of animals upon which they depend for hunting, predatory defense, and communication. Thus some animals like geese are affected more than others. The behavioral effects of airport noise are known to be particularly problematic when they are applied from directly overhead in areas that are exposed rather than forested. Clearly this applies unfavorably to the practice of routing helicopters directly over the open Northwest Creek wetlands. Under these conditions, animals, particularly flock nesting birds like the “endangered” Piping Plovers and the “threatened” Least Terns which nest at the Creek every year have been shown to be affected particularly severely when rearing offspring.

On the basis of these data and our concern for preserving the hard won protections for the environment and wildlife of the Northwest Creek area, it our view that very effort should be made to restrict the flow of helicopter traffic in this area. Primarily we strongly encourage the redirection of helicopters over the Georgica Pond route. While the Georgica Pond area does have wildlife, it is not a nature preserve. Further, the overland portion of this route is more than a mile shorter than the Northwest Creek route and over four miles shorter than the Jessup Neck route. Finally, current practice directs less than 10% of flights over this route, making it regrettably underutilized.

If it remains necessary to maintain a northern route for some traffic then we would urge the following two modifications of the current Northwest Creek route. First, the approach route should be deflected to the west so that it passes over the western shore of Barcelona Neck. This area has is not known to have nesting sites of endangered or threatened species and is generally less environmentally sensitive. Second, we would request that the altitude requirement be increased to 2500 feet and be enforced through to the southern border of the Creek nature preserve area. This would allow a 2 mile distance from the airport over which the helicopters could descend.

We very much appreciate your consideration of this matter and we are eager to continue this discussion in any way you might find useful.

Sincerely yours,

T. James Matthews, Chair.

Northwest Alliance Letter to East Hampton Town Board

September 16, 2007

William McGintee, Town Supervisor
Town Board of East Hampton
Debra Foster
Pete Hammerle
Brad Loewen
Pat Mansir

159 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, New York 11937

Dear Supervisor and Town Board,

On behalf of the Northwest Alliance, a citizens group concerned with environmental matters in the Northwest area of East Hampton, I am writing to encourage you to conduct an environmental analysis of the noise impact of one proposed plan for air traffic routing for the East Hampton Airport. In particular, we are referring to the possible setting of the outbound corridor for helicopter traffic directly along the length of Northwest Creek. Many others have made pointed out the severity of the problem even at this preliminary stage and have argued against implementing a plan with such predictable and grave impact on a natural area that the Town, County and State have gone to great effort and expense to preserve. We would like to add that in addition to disturbing the beauty and serenity of this area, the dramatic increase in helicopter noise could very well do damage to wildlife.

A 2003 review published in the journal Environmental Management (Pepper, Nascarella, & Kendall, 2003, Environmental Management, 32,4, pp 418-423) has provided evidence that airport noise is disturbing to wildlife, just as it is to humans. The “masking” effect of airport noise can interfere with the auditory capabilities of animals upon which they depend for hunting, predatory defense, and communication. Thus some animals like geese are affected more than others. The behavioral effects of airport noise are known to be particularly problematic when they applied from directly overhead in areas that are exposed rather than forested. Clearly this applies unfavorably to the plan to send outbound helicopters directly over the open Northwest Creek wetlands. Under these conditions, animals have been shown to be affected particularly severely when rearing offspring.

On the basis of these data, and common sense, it our view that any consideration of the proposed outbound corridor for helicopters through Northwest Creek be informed by a very careful environmental impact study.

Sincerely,

T. James Matthews, for the Northwest Alliance

Commercial Helicopter Operations Continue

This weekend’s weather was picture perfect. The noise around the airport was unusually quiet and I really enjoyed and appreciated where I lived. Time seemed to be rolled back to earlier times when the East Hampton Airport was a private airport with operations carried on by private aircraft owner. Don’t get me wrong, we heard planes take off and land, there was an occasional helicopter that we heard in the distance but there was not the continuous onslaught of helicopters, one after the other flying extremely low over our house blasting us with low frequency percussive noise at 80-90dB.

Until…Sunday afternoon. The peace and quiet we experienced Saturday and most of Sunday was shattered at 3:45pm; 4:04pm; 4:49pm; 4:50pm; 5:02pm; 5:05pm; 5:28pm; 6:57pm. The sound levels ranged between 77dB- 85dB. The helicopters flew very low over the house. I did not capture the first helicopter on video but the remainder can be viewed below.

To put the video in perspective, my house is located 1.3 miles north of the airport. By no stretch of the imagination do I live next to the airport. I am located almost by Rt. 114. At the public hearing it was reported that there was 80% compliance to the voluntary noise abatement minimum altitude of 2,500 feet. As can be seen in the video there is 100% non-compliance to the minimum altitude.

Please pay attention to the first helicopter in this video series. It is flying very slowly at the same time it is descending to an altitude of a few hundred feet as it goes over the house. That descent is occurring 1.3 miles before it reaches the airport.

This series of videos over a short period of time represents the intense impact of the commercial operation of helicopters on residential properties in the residential zoning district. Allowing these commercial operations over the residential district nullifies any attempt by zoning to separate commercial use from residential districts. The Town of East Hampton must address vertical separation of uses in its zoning laws.

The Town officials state they cannot control where helicopters fly or at what altitude. The Town however allows these commercial operations to land and use Town owned property. If the Town prohibited the landing of commercial operators of helicopters then the helicopters would not fly over the residential district since they would not fly at all. This is all very, very simple. What doesn’t the Town Board understand about this issue?

Frank

East Hampton Helicopter Traffic Report now online

To view the report; click on the link on the right hand side of this page.

To download the report; first open the report then save to your computer.

Anarchy and Chaos

Appeared in East Hampton Star 9/17/09

Dear Editor,

I started collecting data on observations of helicopter traffic around East Hampton Airport on Memorial Day weekend 2008. I began calling in to the Noise Complaint Hotline not only as a result of noise but observations of unsafe operations of helicopters flying in fog and low cloud conditions at tree-top-levels. On the Friday before Memorial Day of 2008 I was coming home from work down Industrial Road. When I came upon the airport I noticed it was fogged in to the extent I could not see the end of the runway. I ducked as a helicopter took off and flew fifty feet above my vehicle. I remember thinking this pilot was a total nut flying in these conditions. I continued to see him fly south at tree-top-level until he was swallowed up in fog. I turned left on Daniel’s Hole Road heading north at the airport entrance I saw another helicopter taking off and shook my head. I drove up my driveway and parked. As I got out of my vehicle I heard a deafening sound, looked up and only saw the belly of a helicopter. My immediate thought was the helicopter was coming down so I jumped and literally hit the ground. From that moment on I understood that one day a tragic accident was inevitable and I was not going to stand by and do nothing.

I live 1.3 miles north of East Hampton Airport along the Airport Road (Daniel’s Hole Road or Wainscott Northwest Road) and lived there for over twenty five years. When I built my house and many years thereafter the airport was simply a private airport used primarily by private aircraft owners. That is no longer the case. The use has expanded exponentially into a commercial enterprise of helicopters, seaplanes and jets ferrying passengers to and from the Hamptons. The intensity of the expansion of use is so much greater than what is permitted by local code for other business activities that it will become impossible for the town to enforce its ordinances without the other businesses crying foul for discriminatory practices or hypocritical enforcement.

I realized a childhood dream by seeking flying instructions and in four months received my pilot’s license at East Hampton Airport. I purchased a Piper Warrior in Sedona Arizona, flew it across the country and kept it at East Hampton Airport for ten years. I don’t want to see the airport close down however the unsafe operations of aircraft in and around the East Hampton Town airspace is critical and according to my observations it is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” an accident will occur similar to what recently occurred over the East River.

The FAA is unwilling to monitor or enforce regulations in and around East Hampton Town airspace. The airport manager and East Hampton Town is powerless to enforce any regulations in East Hampton Town airspace. Helicopters are not required to follow minimum altitude regulations that fixed wing aircraft must follow. There is anarchy and chaos in the airspace over East Hampton Town. It is akin to not having a police force or DMV laws on the roads in and around East Hampton Town. For that reason alone the airport must be shut down until law and order can be restored.

To add insult to injury, in the recently adopted noise law, the Town of East Hampton excluded aircraft from the noise law The exemption preempts the Town from enforcing noise requirements on aircraft. It also preempts ordinary citizens from prosecuting civil claims against operators of aircraft that violate the East Hampton Town Noise Law. The Town of East Hampton must remove the aircraft exclusion from the law since it is self serving, a conflict of interest and discriminatory to allow business operations that ferry passengers to generate noise in excess of 65dB and not allow bars or restaurants that only play music. In my opinion music is not noise however it is indisputable that helicopters generate horrible noise. Noise levels cannot exceed 65dB from 7am-7pm and 50dB from 7pm-7am the following day in residential districts. The data I will present the Town and that is available at: www.ehhelicopternoise.com records almost 400 entries of sound levels from 75dB-90dB. That is only when I am home and one location impacted by noise. This clearly is an outrage and it is inhumane to subject residential property owners to the deafening bombardment of noise from above, the continuous, abusive and persistent harassment caused by helicopter traffic. Any reasonable person must conclude that this insanity must stop.

Based on my observations, the majority of helicopter pilots are cowboys and I don’t use that word lightly. They will scoot under low cloud layers and fog, flying at tree-top-level to get their passengers to East Hampton Airport. There is no consideration for the safety of their passengers or people on the ground. They do not care that their helicopters are blasting residential homes with 75-90dB of percussive noise from their rotors. They do not care about or respect residential property owners, for that reason alone, their operations must cease and if closing the airport is the only solution to cease those operations then the airport must be closed.

East Hampton Town zoning laws only take into consideration horizontal zoning. The zoning laws separate commercial and industrial properties from residential properties due to the impacts of commercial and industrial use; one of those impacts is noise. Commercial and industrial operations must undergo a vigorous approval process that sometimes takes years and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete. The Town Zoning laws do not take into consideration vertical zoning and it must. In the airspace above the Town of East Hampton commercial operations of aircraft are allowed to impact residential neighborhoods with persistent percussive noise at sound levels of 75-90dB that far exceeds what is allowable according to the noise ordinance. It occurs during all hours of the night and early morning. The commercial operations of ferrying people to and from East Hampton have not received any level of approvals or scrutiny. What is worse the Town of East Hampton is allowing them to operate on their own property. Without a question that is blatant discriminatory zoning practices by East Hampton Town. Every business owner and operator in the Town of East Hampton should be up in arms and fit to be tied. It is shameful.

I am a contractor. If I am aware of an unsafe condition on the jobsite, do nothing to correct the unsafe condition and someone injures themselves as a result of that unsafe condition I may be found guilty of gross negligence as a result. I have called in observations of unsafe operations of helicopters since May, 2008. Unfortunately I misplaced or lost my copy of the data for June and July of 2008 however the logs for the noise hotline contain the data from my calls. Thursday night I will present thirteen months of data to the Town Board at the public hearing for the airport GEIS. My report to the Town of East Hampton and the accompanying data can be found on the following website: www.ehhelicopternoise.com . The data shows that I made thirty four (34) calls regarding unsafe operations of helicopters flying at tree-top-level. It is indisputable that flying tree-top-level is unsafe yet the Town of East Hampton, FAA and airport manager have failed to correct the unsafe condition. The Town Board has the power to shut down the airport due to unsafe conditions. The safety of aircraft and airspace is in the jurisdiction of the FAA.  The airport should be closed immediately until the FAA takes on the responsibility to keep the airspace above East Hampton Town safe.

The draft GEIS does not represent the reality of real life experiences of the residents in East Hampton or the rest of Long Island. East Hampton has become a nuisance and a bad neighbor to all the residents of Long Island as a result of the helicopter traffic and noise. Complaints occur all over Long Island. The insanity must stop. Over time it will only intensify and become more of a problem. End it now.

East Hampton Airport is located directly in the middle of the south fork. It is impossible to bring helicopters into the airport without impacting residential properties. There is a solution: Route all helicopters, seaplanes and commercial aircraft 1-2 miles offshore and then into Montauk airport. The helicopters will not fly over residential properties to land in East Hampton Town and a twenty minute car ride for the passengers should not be too much to ask since it will be better than no helicopters at all. East Hampton Airport will then return to its original state as a private airport for private aircraft owners. The Town can save its money by not expanding airport operations and the GEIS will be more representative of airport activities and then it can get approved.

HD video of helicopters flying tree-top-level will be able to be viewed on the website as well.

We should make this a campaign issue. We wish to hear from the candidates on this issue.

Frank

Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Press, Sept. 17, 2009

Appeared in East Hampton Press 9/16/09

Dear Editor,

I began calling the Noise Complaint Hotline as a result of unsafe operations of helicopters flying in fog and low cloud conditions at tree-top-levels. On Friday before Memorial Day, 2008 I came home from work on Industrial Road. I came upon the airport, noticed it was fogged in so I could not see the end of the runway. I ducked as a helicopter took off and flew above my vehicle. I saw another helicopter taking off and shook my head. I drove up my driveway, parked, got out and heard a deafening sound. I looked up and saw the belly of a helicopter. My immediate thought was the helicopter was coming down. I jumped and hit the ground.

I lived for twenty five years 1.3 miles north of East Hampton Airport along Daniel’s Hole Road or Wainscott Northwest Road. At that time the airport was a private airport used primarily by private aircraft owners. The use expanded into a commercial enterprise of helicopters and seaplanes ferrying passengers to and from the Hamptons. The expansion of use is greater than what is permitted by code. It may become impossible for the town to enforce its ordinances without other businesses crying foul for discriminatory practices or hypocritical enforcement.

The FAA is unwilling to enforce regulations in East Hampton airspace. The airport manager and the Town are powerless to enforce aircraft regulations in East Hampton airspace. Helicopters are not required to follow minimum altitude regulations that fixed wing aircraft must. There is anarchy and chaos in the airspace over East Hampton. Imagine no police force or DMV laws on the roads in East Hampton.

In the noise law, the Town excluded aircraft. This preempts the Town from enforcing noise requirements on aircraft. The Town must remove the aircraft exclusion from the law since it is self serving, and a conflict of interest to allow operations ferrying passengers to generate noise pollution and not allow restaurants that only play music. Noise levels cannot exceed 65dB from 7am-7pm and 50dB from 7pm-7am in residential districts. The data I will present to the Town records almost 400 entries of sound levels from 75dB-90dB only when I am home.

Zoning laws separate uses horizontally. Zoning laws separate commercial properties from residential properties due to the impacts of commercial use. Zoning laws do not take into consideration vertical zoning. In the airspace above the Town commercial operations of aircraft are allowed to impact residential neighborhoods with persistent percussive noise at sound levels of 75-90dB. It occurs during all hours of the night and early morning. Ferrying people to and from East Hampton did not receive approvals or scrutiny. What is worse the Town is allowing them to operate on Town property. This is discriminatory zoning.

My report can be found on www.ehhelicopternoise.com after Thursday’s meeting. I made thirty four calls regarding unsafe operations of helicopters. It is indisputable that flying tree-top-level is unsafe. The Town Board has the power to shut down the airport due to unsafe conditions. The safety of aircraft and airspace is in the jurisdiction of the FAA.  The airport should be closed until the FAA takes on the responsibility to keep the airspace above East Hampton safe.

It is impossible to bring helicopters into the airport without impacting residential properties. A solution is to route helicopters and seaplanes 1-2 miles offshore to Montauk airport. The helicopters will not fly over residential properties and a twenty minute car ride for the passengers is acceptable. The Airport can return to its original state as a private airport for private aircraft owners.

Frank