I attended the meeting on Monday, Aug. 11, in Peconic concerning the increased helicopters over the North Fork, and what to do about it. I came away from that meeting with the following observations.
1. The FAA obviously doesn’t care, as evidenced by the fact that no one involved in the decision-making process felt they should attend.
a) Calling the FAA to report fly-overs is a waste of time.
b) Requiring helicopters to have visible ID numbers will accomplish nothing.
c) Including sea planes and corporate jets will only make the issue murkier, which works to the advantage of the FAA and the Helicopter Council.
2. The Eastern Region Helicopter Council doesn’t care.
a) According to Newsday, “The whole industry rides on the balance of being a good neighbor.” I assume they became a good neighbor after they lost the lawsuit against the FAA. Those who want to be “good neighbors” don’t initiate lawsuits against their neighbors.
b) If it’s “burdensome” for small operators to change, then maybe those operators should get out of the business.
c) The argument that traveling an additional 60 miles will create an adverse economic burden is laughable. Those who now are able to spend $1,000 per weekend will gladly tolerate an additional $200 round trip for the pleasure of sunning themselves on Coopers Beach.
d) We on the North Fork should not, in my opinion, align ourselves with those in East Hampton. Doing so will be of no benefit whatsoever.
In closing, we should enlist the aid of Senator Chuck Schumer, who never misses an opportunity for a photo opportunity, to employ the same tactic that was used to get the central island route changed to the northern route. I would be a bit wary asking Congressman Tim Bishop to take the lead on this, since in my opinion he may be too closely identified with the “Deep Pockets” of the South Fork.
E.A. Gaebel, Mattituck