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May 3, 2016 5:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

New Chopper Routes To East Hampton Would Change Little Locally

New routes for helicopters approaching and departing East Hampton Airport will mean little change for the South Fork but have drawn criticism from North Fork residents as not addressing complaints about the far-flung noise impacts from the aiport.
May 4, 2016 9:34 AM

New flight-path guidelines for helicopters using East Hampton Airport this summer would bring little change for South Fork residents but have been met with fresh new outrage from residents of the North Fork.

The Eastern Region Helicopter Council, a group run by the helicopter industry to help ease noise impacts on residential regions around the New York metro region, proposed the new routes in an attempt to more equally scatter the traffic of helicopters approaching and departing the airport as they make their way toward northern transit routes over Long Island Sound.

The guidelines would send the helicopters over the North Fork in three separate locations, rather than the less defined guidance that has been in place and led most helicopters to use essentially the same route—focusing and amplifying their noise impacts on a small area of the western North Fork. The new agreed-to routes would spread the choppers out, lessening the cumulative impact on any one area.

“The proposed transition routes to and from the mandatory north shore route have been carefully analyzed to attempt to significantly reduce noise impact for residents on the North Fork of Long Island,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of operations for the helicopter council, in a statement issued by the group. “The ERHC always welcomes dialogue with elected officials, community leaders and the noise affected.”

North Fork residents have said the changes will have little if any impact on noise complaints and still will unload the negative impacts of the Hamptons airport on their quiet neighborhoods to the north.

On the South Fork, the only changes the new routes will bring would be a new option for helicopters using the southern approach and departure paths, over the Atlantic Ocean. Some helicopters will have the option of sliding either east or west of Georgica Pond, a choice that would be made by pilots mostly based on wind directions.

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