State and local officials from across the island gathered in Nassau County recently to announce the creation of a new telephone hotline service there to field complaints about noise from low flying helicopters.
East Hampton Airport has had a busy telephone complaint system in place since 2005 and Senator Charles Schumer promised that a general hotline would be set up for all of Suffolk County by Memorial Day weekend. Currently, complaints about helicopter noise at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton are fielded by the airport’s main office.
Noise from low-flying helicopters has been a growing complaint across the island and especially on the East End, where helicopter traffic has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
Last year, Sen. Schumer introduced legislation that would compel the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate ways to reduce the noise impacts of helicopter travel. The senator’s involvement in the helicopter noise issue sparked negotiations that led to an agreement between the FAA and the New York region’s largest helicopter pilots organization. It calls for helicopter pilots to maintain a minimum height of at least 2,500 feet and to fly over water as much as possible.
East Hampton Airport manager Jim Brundige said that, although East Hampton has had a complaint hotline for three years, Senator Schumer’s involvement in the issue has been a big help because it has focused attention on the issue, which has made more pilots sensitive to the effects of their flights.
“As this little airport out here, we haven’t really had the shoulders to make them listen,” Mr. Brundige said. “Schumer’s involvement makes them sort of perk up and pay attention.”
The noise complaint hotline for East Hampton Airport is 537-LOUD.