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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

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