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Too Many Helicopters, Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, June 12, 2014

Dear David:

Airport noise season is upon us again. Both helicopters and complaints about helicopters at East Hampton’s airport are pouring in at a record pace.

Despite the best efforts of well-meaning town officials, airport workers and the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council (a helicopter lobby paid for by helicopter owners), noise complaints are being recorded from almost every corner of the East End.

The increase in complaints is particlarly astounding when you consider that many people have ceased calling the complaint line at all. How many times should you call before you expect results? Five? Ten? Fifty? One Thousand? Complaint fatigue is a documented fact. Isn’t a common definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over in expectation of a different result?

And, if you think it can’t get any worse, when a plan endorsed by Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop becomes a reality and some flights are routed from Long Island Sound around Orient Point, previously unaffected homeowners and taxpayers in Springs and Amagansett will become new airport complaint line “frequent flyers.”

In what has to be the ultimate irony, air traffic controllers, in the tower installed at great expense to insure safety and mitigate noise, now tell us they can do neither. There are just too many damn helicopters coming and going.

When will our elected officials realize that most of us are here because we prefer a quieter existence than is possible in an urban environment? When will they put the quiet enjoyment of our homes above the almighty dollar? When will they admit that an unnecessary convenience for a few causes extreme misery for most?

The safest and quietest way to land a helicopter at East Hampton? How about not at all?

Ducking and covering yet again,
TOM MacNIVEN

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