East Hampton Approves Seasonal Control Tower

Posted on 12 April 2012


At an East Hampton Town Board meeting last Thursday, April 5 board members unanimously approved a resolution for the construction of a portable control tower for the East Hampton Airport.

The cost of the project, estimated to be about $360,000, would be paid for by the appropriate airport budget account.  In other words, funds generated by the airport, which by law must be used for the airport, according to East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione.

The seasonal control tower is a type II action, which means the board didn’t formally have to seek a SEQRA report before approving construction. However, due to the importance of the subject matter, Stanzione requested an environmental review, prepared by the town, which he presented at a work session last week.

He said in an interview this week that he hoped the tower—which would only take about one month to construct—would be up and running by the beginning of the summer season, May 31.

The control tower would be staffed by an air-traffic controller provided by Robinson Aviation out of New Haven, CT, a company which, Stanzione pointed out, is approved by the FAA.

For Stanzione, the control tower is an important step toward decreasing the amount of noise produced by aircraft flying into the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott.

Most of the noise, he said at last week’s work session, “is caused by 10 percent of the users of the airport, who don’t observe our voluntary regulations.”

These regulations include restricting flight times between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., as well as making sure all aircraft maintains an altitude of 2,500 feet for as long as possible before touching down in East Hampton.

Stanzione said the control tower would help achieve higher levels of compliance among all aircrafts. With the control tower, he argued, the town would go “from an already outstanding 90 percent compliance—thanks to airport management—to an outstanding 100 percent using the federal regulations of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration].”

While Quiet Skies Coalition member Kathy Cunningham said she supported the idea of installing a control tower in East Hampton, she’s still on the fence about whether or not the move will successfully limit noise.

“We’ve never been against the control tower in theory,” she said on behalf of the Quiet Skies Coalition at a work session last Tuesday, April 10. “We just don’t know what it will do.”

The Quiet Skies Coalition is a group of concerned residents from across the East End, which formed last summer in opposition to the town accepting money from the FAA.  While the town’s FAA contract will expire in 2014, should it accept more FAA funding before then, that partnership would extend at least into 2020.

The Quiet Skies Coalition feels East Hampton Town would be able to better regulate aircrafts with it’s own rules and regulations, without adhering to what the FAA deems permissible.

Simply put, she continued, “It’s untested. To be fair, you don’t really know what the results [of implementing a seasonal control tower] are going to be,” she added. “After this summer we’ll know.”

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7 Responses to “East Hampton Approves Seasonal Control Tower”

  1. Tom says:

    if the traffic is now at 95% compliance, how can we expect a significant improvement with the control tower or anything else. But it’s worse than that. It’s also true that 85% of the complaint calls are made in response to flights that are in compliance. So, compliance is not the problem. The problem is that aircraft make too much noise and there are too many flights for people to tolerate, and there will only be more in the future. The control tower can not do anything about the number or time of flights and the only way to deal with those things is to win back control of our skies. And the only way to do that is to get ourselves out from under the strictures that come with FAA funding. The pilots may be on your side, Dom, but logic is not. Remember, you’re an elected official, not an elected lobbyist.

  2. Ken Spencer says:

    The plural form of “aircraft” is “aircraft.” “One aircraft landed, and six aircraft departed” for example.

  3. Alfie says:

    In the industry it is now common to use aircraft or aircrafts: latter meaning different types, SEL, MEL, TURBO, JETS ETC. Lets say we don’t want many Cessna aircraft landing here or we don’t want many various aircrafts landing here.
    Gist is with control tower safety is greatly increased and demands more experienced pilots to comply with regulations.

  4. Kent says:

    I have worked in aviation for years and have never hear the term “aircrafts” used that way and would never understand it to mean “various types of aircraft.”

  5. tigerpilot says:

    East Hampton wants the federal money for the airport but wants to make its’ own rules? What are the town morons thinking? The FAA makes the rules for flying PERIOD! Pilots can agree to respect some local wishes regarding hours but ultimately can use the airport whenever they want.
    Having a control tower will simply raise the cost of operation of the airport, which will of course be passed on to the users in for form of higher fees, and possibly a deterrent to use. A control tower may help out a little with the safety however an airport traffic area, the area which controllers have control, only extends out from the center of the airport a distance of 4 miles, and the ceiling for the controlled airspace stops at around 2,500 feet.
    A control tower will solve little, other than to have a place the whiners
    can try and call. Airplanes and helicopters make noise and the tower is not going to serve as a sound sponge.

  6. Richie Krause says:

    Finally..after all these years, a seasonal control tower! It will be a blessing for the pilots who fly out of there ,and a blessing for the community in general! The bedlam of getting into and out of H.T.O. on the weekends etc. in season.will now be under the control of people who have the power, to strike back at violators of the rules. It will also greatly inhibit.the alleged violators, who are being accused of buzzing the airport, etc…Big brother, will be watching, and anyone who thinks he might be a hotshot pilot, will be under strict observation! As a pilot who flew out of East Hampton for many years, I know the airport management people, have done a fabulous job, at trying to be arbitrators, between the public, and the Pilots…A thankless job until now! Now the truth about complaints, from both sides, will not only be observed, But it now can be determined if in fact, that particular airplane ,that is being labeled with low flying or hot dogging it.(or a blown out of proportion, complaint by an local resident, who moved into the area of the airport, a few years ago)..we shall now know , in fact, did that plane actually do that deed, they are being accused of!
    Bravo to the officials of East Hampton town…a very long overdue step, in the right direction!

  7. Pigflier says:

    Please learn the difference between “it’s” (a contraction for “it is” ) and “its (the possessive). It’s quite amazing how uneducated this crowd is. Your comments would be more credible if you knew this basic grade school level grammar.

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