Barry’s Statement at FAA Hearing at East Hampton Airport May 1, 2013

Hello, my name is Barry Raebeck and I am a year round resident of East Hampton and have been since 1957.

Based on my experience with East Hampton Airport, under the aegis of the FAA, it is hard to believe that it actually IS a federal agency, which I sustain through my taxes. As far as I can tell, the FAA is a lobbying group for aircraft operators–especially commercial ones. There is no indication that the FAA gives a damn for the millions of American citizens adversely affected by aircraft operations.

On the East End of Long Island, a tiny fraction of people recklessly using the airport for their own selfish ends, many of these few not even residents, have been permitted to destroy the bucolic living experience of the great majority.

When we bought our home in Wainscott 18 years ago there was virtually no helicopter or sea plane traffic, and far less jet aircraft noise, as well. Now hundreds and thousands of families all over Long Island are besieged by horrific aircraft noise day and night, much of the year–building to an unbearable crescendo on summer weekends. Most of this is the result of completely unnecessary helicopter traffic–a taxi service for a handful of rich and callous individuals, and an environmental nightmare for everyone else.

Does my response sound irrational? Hardly. What is irrational, and terribly unjust, is that anyone would actually be permitted to fly directly over SOMEONE ELSE’S secluded  rural home at earsplitting decibel levels–at any time of the day or night.

Finally, let me say that when we started Quiet Skies Coalition with a host of like-minded local residents two years ago it was NOT to fiddle with helicopter flight paths it was to eliminate them once and for all, and it was NOT to close the airport to local recreational pilots (many of whom are our friends and neighbors).

Our goal then, as now, remains rational regulation of a facility–one that WE OWN–that is screaming out for just that. If the FAA cannot rationally regulate a small local airport in your purview, and do so in a manner that serves the best interests of the community in which it is located, then what exactly is the FAA for? And what exactly is it that you do? And whom precisely do you serve?