With summer approaching, the incessant whine of helicopters over the South Fork has begun to increase at a steady pace. Like bees arriving at their hive from a long distance, helicopters zeroing in on East Hampton Airport are looking for the most direct route to their destination.
Unfortunately for many of us, that means they’re flying over Noyac, North Haven and Sag Harbor. And despite a much-ballyhooed bill by Senator Chuck Schumer, it is unlikely that it will change for the foreseeable future. In fact, in some cruel irony, it may actually get a bit worse.
Schumer’s bill provides for a mandatory route chopper pilots must fly out over Long Island Sound when they’re heading east. This is great news for residents along the North Shore and the North Fork who were unreasonably pestered by Hamptons copter traffic. The problem is that air traffic will still need to cut across the forks (and apparently right over Noyac) in order to reach the East Hampton Airport.
Last week we learned that the good folks at the airport, who sympathize with us, have been trying to direct copter traffic over a southerly route, out over the ocean. Granted, when they need to cut across land to get to the airport, they have to pass over Georgica (gasp!); but according to airport officials, about 15 percent of copter traffic has been using this route. At least another part of the South Fork is sharing the burden.
Well, here’s the problem: Schumer’s bill does not address a southerly route, nor does it address any relief for the East End. Frankly there’s little in it for us, since the proscribed route goes, well, over Noyac.
Here’s what you need to do: tell Schumer the bill must include a southerly route. It is patently unfair that our neighborhoods must bear the brunt of the traffic. For good measure, you can ask that he make Orient Point a waypoint. That will at least send most of the northerly air traffic over Cedar Point and East Hampton.
Frankly, we’ve suffered with this too long, and it’s somebody else’s turn to listen to the bees.