To the Editor:
High helicopter and seaplane season is upon us and the “495 L.I. Skyway” is open for business. Brace yourselves for one of the busiest seasons ever.
A high-end East End realtor on the South Fork — with an office on the North Fork — offered a “free trip” giveaway on April 9 with BLADE, an on-demand helicopter and seaplane app. Was the promo successful? Who knows, but promoting additional unwanted aircraft noise over our homes because of the civil helicopter pilots flying the FAA-mandated Long Island North Shore route, this realtor was looking to build a relationship with BLADE. This promotion should never be repeated again.
Routes designed by the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, at this time, are staying the same as last year. The Southold Town helicopter advisory committee has offered suggestions to the ERHC and the East Hampton Airport manager since September to help offset some of the air traffic over these same homes and businesses. One suggestion was splitting the routes by flying in the NSR and exiting the SSR (50/50) but at this time have not been implemented for each day of the week. This is not unreasonable since we have been saddled with the NSR since 2008 and since then many residents have spoken up and have filed numerous complaints to our federal officials and through the complaint lines. Thank you to all those that did! Filing complaints is vital in order to send a strong message that this route only harms everyone under the “flight path.”
Most recently, East Hampton Town has lost its ability to implement rulings such as “curfews” for “noisy” helicopters. We are doomed to expect more aircraft throughout the morning, day and nights. East Hampton Town is fighting back and has filed a petition to the Supreme Court for review of the noise restrictions. They are doing what they legally can, at a costly expense, and are being “good neighbors” to surrounding townships. Southold Town applauds the Town Board for its continued efforts to find reasonable solutions to an extremely complex situation.
Due to the complexity of their situation, it is critical for all affected by aircraft noise to file complaints. Here are many options:
• Call 800-376-4817, the East Hampton airport complaint hotline, for all types of aircraft noise.
• Call 800-319-7410, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, to file helicopter noise complaints regardless of where the helicopters land or take off from.
Keep up the fight! We can make change happen but we must do this together. This helicopter and seaplane noise and pollution problem affects thousands of residents from Queens, along the entire North Shore, Shelter Island and both forks.
Fight back and don’t give up now. We can do this together!
Teresa McCaskie, Mattituck
Editors note: The author is a member of The Southold Town helicopter noise steering committee.