|East Hampton Town
To Pat Mansir, Aviation 102
August 13, 1999
Councilwoman Pat Mansir
It would be a gross understatement for me to say that I was bowled over by your amicable and thoughtful response to my memo on our airport. I don't know why I would have expected anything else and I thank you sincerely for at least taking it seriously.
You are correct in your observations that I care deeply about our airport. I have been interested in aviation for as long as I can remember. My parents still talk about the time when I was 5 years old when my father brought me in to his office at Icelandic Airlines at Idlewild Airport (JFK) and I sent an unintelligible flash message to company headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland on the tele-type machine. I've been told that it was not a good thing to do. I have pursued aviation ever since. It's not glamour or machismo but rather something else that you just can't put your finger on. It's a vocation with the awesome reality that at any given moment there are literally thousands of people unintentionally thumbing their collective noses at Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of gravity. It's just simply amazing. I've been a faithful civil servant at the federal level since joining the Marine Corps in 1974 and later on the FAA in 1981. I earned my pilots license in 1986 and bought my first airplane in 1996. It's been the most wonderful time.
I like to offer you a couple of things to think about and research in regard to some non-expansionary improvements to the airport until we get the opportunity to meet and discuss things further. These few things could make our airport the best little airport in the state:
(1) Install ramp lighting. This may prevent the type of theft/vandalism that we experienced this year.
(2) Explore the possibility of completing the runway 10/28 parallel taxiway with FAA AIP funding. Have the rare weeds died yet?
(3) Reconstruct runway 04/22 as stated in the Airport Improvement Plan to 75' wide, same length. Please, please, please do the public hearings and all the other stuff that's environmentally required.
(4) Review departure procedures. Are we unnecessarily penalizing a few homeowners with aircraft noise when we can develop a procedure to have departure aircraft fly over unpopulated or less populated areas?
(5) Eliminate the deer population from inside the fence.
(6) Install an AWOS with thunderstorm detection. This is merely an automated weather observation station. This would reduce workload for airport employees and also provide continuous weather around the clock for aviators. It would be considered a good safety improvement.
(7) Base a foam capable fire truck at the airport from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I understand that the foam needs to be kept at a relatively warm temperature. Not basing it there during the winter should alleviate that problem.
(8) Review emergency procedures and develop an emergency action plan. Today's private jets are capable holding up to 15 passengers or so. What's our plan should 15 patients need critical care in the event of an accident? What are our relationships in that regard with Southampton Hospital and other hospitals in Suffolk County? Do we have the collective transportation assets available to get the injured to where they need to be in a timely fashion? What if it happens in January?
That's all I can think of at the moment.
At some point someone will need to address the surrounding land issue and
decide what we should inspire to be there: business, aviation-related business,
homes, or nothing. I think our airport can be a tremendous asset
to the Town. With a little care and a lot of vision we can turn it
into a diamond piece of taxpayer owned property that everyone can be proud
of! I would welcome the opportunity to participate in any way, on
any committee, at any time, for any Town Board member, to provide input
or work on any airport issue. Just give me a call and a mission.
Barry W. Leach