Letters to the Editor: Airport 09.14.17

Our readers' comments

Just Plane Fun Day

East Hampton

September 10, 2017

Dear David,

I want to write to thank the organizers of Saturday’s Just Plane Fun Day for putting on such a spectacular show of vintage aircraft and automobiles. I spent extra time with the people from Patient Airlift Services (PALS). As cancer survivors ourselves, their work deeply resonated with me and my wife. In this past year PALS pilots have provided airlift services for six East Hampton residents so they could obtain cancer treatment outside our area. Additionally, they brought 15 cancer-afflicted children to summer camp here in East Hampton. I was particularly impressed by Miracle Max, PALS’s poster child. After spending 41 years in government service trying to protect public health and the environment, I know their record is simply outstanding.

Visiting the airport event also affirmed to me how important it is that we all support the current F.A.A. 161 process on which the town has embarked. When this is successfully completed, the issue of excessive aircraft noise at our airport can be dealt with effectively. More important, this now gives us the ability to deal with the real issues that are on the minds of our residents, such as water quality preservation and addressing the needs of our seniors. To further this goal, my team will soon release the results of an objective and unbiased research study which identifies the clear concerns of our residents. 

Again, congratulations and thanks to Kent Feuerring and Jonathan Sabin for doing an event that refocuses us on not only fun, but what our real issues are here in East Hampton. Good work, guys.

PAUL GIARDINA


The writer is running for the East Hampton Town Board on the Republican line. Ed.

‘Under the Highway’

Laurel

September 5, 2017

To the Editor,

Regarding the relentless helicopter and flight noise we experience on the North Fork (which continues as I write this, during the now-Tuesday-morning commute), this weekend was certainly one of the worst. 

I have the unfortunate experience of living in Laurel, directly under the path that goes from the Northville tanks on Long Island Sound to the East Hampton Airport. Yesterday afternoon was so bad that I left home to go to Cupsogue Beach for some relief. Funny, that should be the path for one of the all-water routes that the F.A.A. is supposed to be using. Having been to the beach in the last week, I have seen an occasional helicopter over the ocean, but nowhere near the number that fly over my home.

In speaking with a neighbor a few days ago, in frustration, she talked about moving because of the noise. Those under the path frequently vent like that, but reality interferes. I used to be able to hide from the tourism of the North Fork by working in my garden, but now, with the incredible increase in air traffic, even that doesn’t offer relief, but increases anxiety.

Fridays, Sundays, and Monday mornings are the worst, having being woken up as early as 6:20 a.m. I do my duty and file noise complaints on airnoisereport.com, which has received over 58,000 complaints that apparently just vanish into cyberspace.

If this is the new normal and our senators and congressmen are unable to influence the F.A.A. to insist on an all-water route, could we get some relief by somehow dispersing the routes so that the same homes are not continually assaulted? Maybe the pilots could even follow the Orient Point route, which was one of the “mandated” routes determined by the F.A.A. last summer. 

How long will it be before property values decline because a home is  “under the highway,” or has it already happened? Our quality of life has certainly been impacted. Soon, it will hit us in our wallets.

JIM UNDERWOOD

Dubious Statistics

Montauk

September 5, 2017

To the Editor:

Quiet Skies, an anti-East Hampton Airport special-interest group, has attacked the veracity of Montauk United and its efforts in defending the interests of Montauk and its citizens. In order to separate relevant fact from insinuation, the following is the basis for Montauk United involvement.

Both Montauk and the anti-East Hampton Airport special-interest groups have a similar goal — to provide protection from the horrendous problem of increased helicopter traffic. The difference is, the special-interest groups already have the problem, and are attempting any and all ways to rid themselves of it. The groups have spent huge amounts of time and money in lobbying the East Hampton Town Board to restrict helicopter flights at the East Hampton Airport. Conceding to these efforts, the board passed legislation limiting East Hampton helicopter activity to one landing per helicopter per week, an action that would reduce overall helicopter activity by 85 percent, or over 3,000-plus flights per year. 

After town board spending of over $2 million in legal fees in support of the above legislation, for whatever reasons the legislation failed judicial sanction. As quoted by the town supervisor, the legislation “is dead and over.”  Within a month of its  failure, the special-interest groups, again in unanimous conjunction with the town board, are hard at work exploring alternate methods to restrict helicopters at East Hampton Airport. Included in these alternate strategies is a special-interest group effort to close the entire facility, thereby tremendously increasing the number of both fixed-wing and helicopter flights that will be diverted to other airport destinations.  

Montauk United’s concern is that all of the above town board and special-interest activities ignore and fail to address the social and economic implications the restricted helicopters will have on Montauk if they succeed in their efforts. Whether intentional or not, premeditated or unplanned, their restriction strategies are not solutions but merely a transfer of a serious problem from one part of East Hampton to another, the only result being an East Hampton special-interest problem will instantly morph into a Montauk problem.            

When queried in a Montauk United-sponsored telephone poll, over 30 Long Island aviation professionals, when assessing the issues, overwhelmingly agree  that if commercial helicopters were denied access to East Hampton Airport, Montauk would be their favored alternate landing destination. Professional pilots presently flying the actual commercial helicopters to E.H. Airport also agreed they would favor Montauk. Most important, executives and owners of the commercial helicopter companies now servicing E.H. Airport (the very same group causing the problems) also agreed they would transfer helicopter flights  to Montauk. While all of the above professional groups clearly favored East Hampton Airport, Montauk would be their chosen alternate destination if not permitted access. The Montauk alternative is a fact, not a guess, not a supposition, and certainly not a means to confuse, agitate, or mislead the people of Montauk. It is a clearly stated factual course of reaction to any future helicopter East Hampton flight restrictions as stated by industry professionals.  

Who really is misleading the public? Quiet Skies, along with other anti-airport special-interest groups, has constantly claimed an East Hampton membership of thousands (plural) of people. Montauk United believes that special-interest East Hampton citizen support is far smaller and consists mainly of property owners living in areas near the airport. M.U. believes they have inflated their numbers through the inclusion of other Long Island villages and towns that are affected by like helicopter problems.

The primary responsibility and obligation of the East Hampton Town Board is to the legitimate citizens of the town, of which Montauk is a far larger citizen segment and economic base than all of the anti-airport special-interest groups combined. Montauk United can readily provide proof of its own 2,400-plus Montauk citizen membership and the additional thousands of Montauk citizens who are a legitimate part of the East Hampton Town voting base that will be negatively affected if the town board continues on its present helicopter-restrictive course. Montauk United challenges Quiet Skies and the other special-interest groups to verify the legitimacy of their claims. Real people, actual certifiable citizens, the legitimate voting public of the Town of East Hampton, not mechanically produced mass robotic letters of complaint, dubious  statistics, or the inclusion of foreign population bases with no legal, moral, or civic attachment to the Town of East Hampton.

Montauk United is very much aware and concerned about the plight and problems the above special-interest groups are experiencing. No matter the size of the group affected, the noise issues are enormously invasive and incredibly tragic, that no one should have to experience. They have every right to, and deserve, effective relief from their airport problems. Montauk United and the people of Montauk pledge unconditional support in any and all efforts at finding a solution. However, it must be an honest and fair solution, not a transfer, and certainly not a political strategy that aims to turn an East Hampton special-interest problem into a Montauk problem.

In terms of airport issues, Montauk United believes the best interests of the citizens of Montauk, a legitimate part of the Town of East Hampton, have been ignored and ill served by the present town board in favor of these small special-interest groups who have the money and power to demand their wishes be met. Montauk United will take significant electoral action in the coming weeks to unite its membership and the entire voting citizenship of Montauk in expressing their anxiety and concern. Montauk United will communicate and share with all its citizens all relevant candidate responses in determining their position and commitment in assuring that the citizens of Montauk receive the same respect, attention, and protection that every and all citizens of the Town of East Hampton are entitled. 

Citizens of Montauk, talk to your friends and neighbors, encourage them to participate, and support our united cause, at montaukunited.org. 

TOM BOGDAN