|East Hampton Town
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
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
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