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East Hampton Town
Democratic Committee


Dangerously Uninspired

 Dear Helen,
       Last week it was reported that the Town Board has decided to come  up with an initial plan to address noise abatement procedures at the Town Airport.  Although few details were mentioned, those that were, can be classified as, good, not-good-enough, and dangerously uninspired.  Firstly, the good.  It is about time that the Town Board seriously addressed the issue of touch-and-go's by Upisland flight schools.  They do not buy fuel here, nor do the occupants stop for several hours to shop on Main Street.  They do, however, contribute significantly to the total noise generated by our airport users.  Banning them on weekends would be a large step toward reducing the total noise sum and Town Board members should be commended if they can pull it off. You see the FAA frowns on this type of restriction. What could be done without FAA approval      is to impose a $15 fee for weekend touch-and-goes and $10 for weekday touch-and-goes.  That would be a more effective mosquito repellent and accomplish the same goal.
        In the not-good-enough category is the proposal to increase by 20% landing fees for those operators that use the airport outside of normal airport employee hours (read late night use).  Rather than a minimal across the board penalty which will not deter anyone, a more aggressive plan to significantly penalize those users of the loudest of aircraft that choose to operate between 11PM and 6AM.  These types would be in the classes that constitute the loudest of the business jet aircraft fleet.  After all, the 
goal is not to arbitrarily penalize but to sculpt a noise abatement program to help local residents with their battle with airport noise and still maintain accessibility to those operators that wish to come to East Hampton.  Making accessibility economically attractive during daylight hours and economically unattractive during late night, in my opinion, would be the better way to address this issue.  
        Lastly, the dangerously uninspired.  It would be grossly irresponsible for the Town Board to change the current traffic pattern for runway 28 from left-hand to right-hand traffic.  In simple terms this means that, in preparation for landing, aircraft would be maneuvering on an eastbound track north of the airport, over Sag Harbor, over Northwest and in harm's way of numerous      telecommunications antennae. Additionally, pilots, who sit on the left side of the cockpit, like in cars, would be unable to continuously view the airport environment or runway.  This lack of visibility creates a safety hazard where none previously existed.  This part of the proposal should be discarded immediately as there are absolutely no solutions to mitigate existing obstructions and blindness.  Also, to consider this to be part of a noise abatement plan is pure hogwash.  The only noise abatement that would occur      would be over the south-of-the-highway crowd at the expense of the mostly full time residents of Sag Harbor and Northwest who would now receive the full noise impact of the airport.
Barry W. Leach