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Aug 4, 2015 5:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Summer Season Sees Lots Of Planes, Lots Of Complaints At East Hampton Airport

Aug 4, 2015 5:17 PM

The first month of the summer season and the July 4 holiday weekend saw substantial increases in aircraft traffic at East Hampton Airport—and soaring numbers of complaints, both calls and online complaints, about noise from residents across the region.

While the total number of flights in and out of the airport through the end of June actually was down slightly compared to the first half of 2014, both Memorial Day weekend and the July 4 weekend saw big leaps in traffic, despite new nighttime curfews that shouldered traffic into a narrower window of operations at the airport.

According to a report to the Town Board this week by Airport Manager Jemille Charlton, Memorial Day weekend saw total flights into and out of the airport climb by 28 percent over 2014, with more than 1,000 flights over the three days. July 4 weekend saw an even larger jump, up 52 percent from last year.

Even more dramatic, however, was the number of complaints about traffic to the airport—and even about some aircraft not going to the South Fork airport—generated from residents around the region.

Complaints, Mr. Charlton’s report showed, more than tripled over the Memorial Day weekend compared to 2014, particularly complaints about helicopter noise. For the July 4 holiday, the number of complaints was up, but by less, 42 percent, largely because the number of complaints on July 4 weekend in 2014 were so much higher than Memorial Day 2014.

But the report also shows that substantial portions of the complaints received were coming from the same sources.

While the total number of complaints over Memorial Day weekend climbed by more than 800 complaints over 2014, the number of different complainants climbed by only 46. Mr. Charlton’s report details the average number of complaints logged per household—the breakdown over Memorial Day climbed from 4.8 complaints per household in 2014 to 9.5 in 2015, and from 7 to 9.8 per household over the July 4 weekend.

The total complaints over the July 4 weekend went up by 351 but came from only three more sources compared to 2014.

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The data clearly shows that it's just the same small group of people calling more than 30 times per day, instead of the 20 times per day they called last year, in an effort to falsely inflate the complaint numbers. Basing anything on those complaint numbers is absurd since they are patently being manipulated by a small group of anti-airport malcontents who are dead set on getting their way no matter how much cheating and fabrication it takes.
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 5, 15 9:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Not so, there are people like me who never knew how to file a complaint until this year and who are sick of being harassed by loud low flying jets and helicopters every summer. We have a right to demand an end to late night flyovers that wake us, and to helicopters vibrating our houses making it impossible to speak normally.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Aug 6, 15 11:04 PM
There are also a lot people like me who don't call to complain even though the air traffic has gotten much worse over my house. If it continues I will drop a dime.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Aug 5, 15 9:49 AM
Ditto to harbor.

Time for the local pilots to choose their bed, as well as their bunk-mates. Continued stubborn alignment with, and blind allegiance to, the out-of-town commercial noisy large chopper interests is both short-sighted and contrary to the local pilots' self-interest.

"Lie down with dogs -- wake up with fleas . . . "

Your choice, local pilots . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 5, 15 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
PS -- The new fee structure in the other article seems to favor the local pilots of small fixed wing craft. An olive branch perhaps? Wonder if the local pilots can acknowledge this shift in the wind . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 5, 15 10:48 AM
Local pilots have not aligned with noisy aircraft but are as disturbed by them as those on the ground who are affected. Local pilots have been illegally deprived of safe, paved runways, automatic weather reporting, cleared approaches, deer fencing because of the Town's refusal to meet its Master Plan and Grant Assurance obligations or take FAA funds in the misguided, as soon to be shown in court, belief that not taking such funds in any way will contribute to mitigation of noise when the opposite ...more
By DasK (26), on Aug 5, 15 12:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
If as you say, DasK, "Local pilots . . . are as disturbed by [noisy aircraft] as those on the ground . . . ," why haven't the local pilots made this clear publicly?

Instead they seem to have circled the wagons and been shooting at everyone who doesn't agree with them absolutely about all issues, including the Town's shortcomings you mention above (some of which are well-taken IMO).

And you wonder why things have become so adversarial and polarized?

I will repeat myself ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 5, 15 5:11 PM
Under the other article, I have asked localEH to answer this same question -- you know -- to take a stand about our SHARED adversary: the out-of-town commercial chopper interests with large noisy aircraft which are ruining the beauty of The East End, as we have ALL known her.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 6, 15 4:00 AM
localEH, here is the post I recalled you writing about the Sikorsky chopper:

"Many local pilots hate the Sikorskys too. They are a bit like bullies at the airport. Nearly got blown off a taxiway by one last summer. But closing the whole airport at night is not the solution. "
[Mar 13, 14 11:43 PM]

If local pilots "hate" certain segments of the helicopter, why can't you help regulate their use? You realize they are taking you down the tubes with them, right?

BTW, interesting ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 6, 15 2:37 PM
At the risk of getting muddy in the wallow, I'll respond. In this I will not speak for anyone but me, but the general sentiment from the entire aviation side including the ERHC is reasonable limits are acceptable. SOME helicopters and jets (not ALL, just the loudest) could have reasonable limitations placed on them, such as higher approach paths, night time restrictions (12-6am), and increased fees. But instead of working with us to craft reasonable middle ground restrictions, the TB decided to ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 7, 15 11:54 AM
Thank you for a well-reasoned and detailed reply, and for a welcome atmosphere of compromise. I believe that you have misread the Town Board's intentions, but I also recognize that your views are not without some justification, based on the adversarial nature of past airport discussions.

Perhaps today's cool clear breeze from the NW is a sign of better airport relations to come . . .

Great flying weather!

I personally favor a quieter airport remaining open for the long ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 7, 15 12:51 PM
The May 19th article sets out the maintenance work which the Town Board has indicated it would do, and Supv. Cantwell is quoted directly:

“There is a lot of frustration that the town’s not kept up with safety and maintenance that most people feel are necessary at the airport,” Mr. Cantwell said Tuesday. “We’re at a point in time when frustration is growing and the inaction of the town is being questioned legitimately. This has been going on for some time, and ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 8, 15 12:50 PM