P.R. Stunt – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, July 13, 2015

Dear David,

I’d like to thank Joanne Pilgrim for her excellent coverage on airport matters with the article “After Curfew No East Hampton Airport Logjam.”

When I read the article I was shocked that the supervisor and a councilwoman went to the airport on Monday at 9 a.m. to observe air traffic. It is absolute silliness to believe there would be some kind of an event then. I am beginning to wonder if silly season is arriving at the town board, as it did in the prior administration.

I immediately thought this was a public relations stunt by Jeff Smith, chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, or a joint P.R. stunt with the East Hampton Town Board participating, trying to illustrate to the public that the restrictions are having an impact or better than perceived. Rather, they should have gathered with the media Sunday afternoon and evening, when the helicopter traffic was relentless, worse than ever, as the frequency of helicopter traffic was compressed into a shorter time frame due to the curfew.

No one who lives by the airport or knows the history and pattern of aircraft traffic at the airport would imagine such a contrived scenario of a possible logjam at 9 a.m. It’s absolute silliness; if it wasn’t so silly, it would be crazy. I can’t believe I’m using this phrase again but I will when it’s deserved.

Everyone knows Monday morning helicopter traffic, prior to when the curfew went into effect, started Monday mornings around 4 or 5 a.m. and slows down around 8 or 8:30 a.m., because most folks need to get to where they are going by 9 a.m. I wrote about this in a letter to the editor in The Star on July 8, 2013, titled, “Torture and Torment.” I show every noise event starting at 4:38 a.m. until 9:05 a.m. — 32 events in all.

The curfew in effect now doesn’t allow helicopters to pick up passengers until after 9 a.m., so those who usually left early in the morning by helicopter left Sunday afternoon or evening or found some other form of transportation Monday morning.

It appears to me that helicopter traffic overall is worse than ever. Perhaps it appears that way because the frequency of noise events are greater. The entire town board needs to visit the airport Sunday afternoon and evening, if they aren’t forced away by spent jet fumes burning their eyes and making them nauseous, as it does me just driving by the airport at that time, or when the wind blows it in our direction; when it does, the noxious fumes fill our house.