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Sep 13, 2011 1:08 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Helicopters Try Out Proposed South Shore Route

Sep 13, 2011 4:06 PM

A helicopter ran two test flights on Tuesday of a proposed new route for choppers flying between New York and the East End, one that Federal Aviation Administration and local officials hope will abate aircraft noise over East End homes.

Data collected from Tuesday’s flights will be sent to New York Terminal Radar Approach Control, which oversees the airspace in the New York area, for evaluation that will be used in implementing the new plans, said David Peterson, operational implementation manager for satellite navigation for the FAA, as he awaited the chopper’s arrival in Southampton Village on Tuesday. There is no firm time frame as to when the plan could be enacted, he added.

Dubbed the South Shore Noise Abatement Route, or South Shore Route, the plan seeks to direct helicopter traffic into a defined route over water and away from residential areas.

On Tuesday, the chopper crossed over the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays and flew above Shinnecock Bay before landing at the helipad on Meadow Lane. Helicopters headed to East Hampton would fly over Georgica Pond.

Previously, helicopters had voluntary routes, which meant they could fly pretty much anywhere, noted Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley. Often, that meant they would fly close enough over homes to rattle residents. Those who live near the helipad on Meadow Lane have complained about helicopter noise, but the issue has been particularly acute in East Hampton, where residents have banded together to form a group called Citizens Alliance To Cancel Helicopters.

The proposed eastbound route would take choppers along the South Shore of Long Island, at about 3,000 feet above sea level, while the proposed westbound route would take choppers along the South Shore at about 2,000 feet above sea level. Currently, helicopters predominantly fly over the North Shore.

The FAA also plans to use satellite technology to better guide the helicopters to their landing sites, according to Mr. Peterson. It would also steer them away from using the lighting of houses to gauge their location, he said.

The new flight plans stem from meetings between FAA officials and a Multi-Town Helicopter Advisory Committee comprising representatives from East End towns.

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Well done by the FAA, EH Town Board, and local airport noise advocacy groups to reach this stage.

Of course, only the federal government would have to implement a study of this kind to prove that flying over water, far away from homes, will lessen noise problems !!!

What is the total cost going to be -- to conclude that the flight patterns to-date have been noisy and wrong-headed?

As the Master Card commercial says:

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 13, 11 2:05 PM
Good Gosh!! Thank you sooooo much for whomever is responsible for getting this done. Let's hope it sticks. A COMPLETE quality of life upgrade for those in Noyac, summertime is back outside, yee-ha
By HarborDad (37), Sag Harbor on Sep 13, 11 2:30 PM
What about the sea turtles and their quality of life?

By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 13, 11 5:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is good news for some, bad for others. The real issue is the number of aircraft flying in and out of EHA. And this route change (if indeed it is implemented and note they have not yet set a date---after the elections perhaps they will find it is not a solution and will permit them to fly this new route....any bets on that one?
And, the noise issue is not only from helicopters. The numbers of seaplanes and jets is increasing annually, as NYC and Westchester commuters choose to fly rather ...more
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Sep 14, 11 7:06 AM
will Dim Bishlop come out of hiding now and claim a victory for this route?
By uncleronk (136), southold on Sep 14, 11 8:58 AM
A great start but as Trish commented, the numbers of seaplanes and
jets are driving us crazy flying over our home.
By lovesag (17), Sag Harbor on Sep 14, 11 4:55 PM
Quiet Skies coalition.org ROCKS!!!!
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Sep 15, 11 6:48 AM
This is all fine and good, but the bottom line is that these monsters have to land somewhere. That means that they may fly along water for a longer stretch as they approach East Hampton, but at a certain point they need to get to the airport. They then spew their fumes and wreak their noise damage over every home that is in their path as they make their way to land. No redirection of the helicopters/seaplanes,jets etc will solve this problem. What we need to do it to radically reduce the number ...more
By LZerilli (3), Wainscott on Sep 16, 11 4:25 AM
Now they will be flying over Hampton Bays? If they are flying "over the Ponquogue Bridge", that means they are flying over land until they almost reach the bridge. The most densely populated hamlet on the ast end. Oy.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Feb 3, 12 7:18 PM