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East Hampton Town Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Goes Online for 2013 and Beyond

Posted on 26 June 2013

By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Airport’s seasonal air traffic control tower went live on Wednesday morning, according to East Hampton Town Councilman and airport liaison Dominick Stanzione.

According to Stanzione, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the town environmental approval to move forward with a permanent air traffic control tower at the airport during the first week of June. This followed a mandatory federal assessment of the environmental impacts placing a permanent — yet seasonal — air traffic control tower at the airport would have on residents.

Prior to this approval, the town was able to operate an air traffic control tower on a temporary basis through the 2012 season, with that permit expiring on October 31, 2012.

Stanzione said the air traffic control tower would operate through September 30. Two air traffic controllers will provide services to aircraft seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., which Stanzione said would enhance the safety of airspace surrounding the airport.

This area is referred to as “Class D” airspace and extends 4.8 nautical miles from the airport in all directions from the ground to an altitude of 2,600 feet. All aircraft operating within these confines are required to contact the tower on the published frequency of 125.225 megahertz.

“Airport management did a terrific job bringing the control tower operational so quickly following FAA approval,” said Councilman Stanzione, in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“This tower manages our airspace and makes our airport safer,” said Jim Brundige, airport manager. “I cannot imagine how anyone, pilots or residents, tolerated operating our airport without a professional, FAA authorized control tower.”

“It’s the most significant professional accomplishment, in regards to safety, of my entire career at the airport,” he said.

Critics, including members of the Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC), maintained throughout a public hearing process regarding the environmental assessment of the tower that it did not go far enough to assess the noise impacts as a result of the airport — impacts that could increase with a permanent, albeit seasonal, air traffic control tower in place.

Critics also called for a cost-benefit analysis of the tower, which will cost over $300,000 annually to maintain and staff.

In other airport related news, the East Hampton Village Preservation Society presented recommendations to the East Hampton Village Board last week for how it believes helicopter and jet noise from the airport could be reduced.

The plan, presented by the society’s chairman Peter Wolf, recommends East Hampton Town not continue to accept any FAA funding. Members of the preservation society and QSC maintain the town could have greater control over its airport if it refused FAA funding. That control could allow the town, the organizations contend, the ability to limit the growth of the airport and potentially impose restrictions.

The society also proposed flights be prohibited from flying over inland bodies of water, such as Georgica Pond in East Hampton, and that the airports hours of operation should be limited to between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Lastly, the society would seek to limit the number of flights in and out of the airport.

The society also plans to present its proposal to the East Hampton Town Board, which has jurisdiction over the airport and its operations.

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2 Responses to “East Hampton Town Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Goes Online for 2013 and Beyond”

  1. patricia currie says:

    Refusing FAA funding is key is bringing sanity back to the totally out-of-control noisemaker: East Hampton Airport.

    Residents may again this weekend be saved from the outrageous noise barrage because of weather related issues. So sad for so many to have to look forward to cloudy skies, wind and rain to protect them from the onslaught from above because elected officials in EH town will not do so.
    The airport is fast making East Hampton the pariah of the entire East End of Long Island and is following a path designed by Stanzione and his masters, the aviation proponents, that will bring an end to our area’s reputation as a wonderful, relaxing vacation destination. No neighborhood will be free from noise–it is simply is not possible without restrictions, curfews and limits on aircraft. We all depend on visitors to fuel our economy, why should those with aviation interests ruin it for everyone else.

  2. Doug Cunningham says:

    The East Hampton Airport is a very important asset to our community. I support the airport 100%. I live two minutes from the airport and I understand that it is an AIRPORT! Planes and helicopters take off and land there all the time and I am fine with that! Go ahead and mess with the airport and chase those who use it away. Those people are the ones spending millions of dollars out here in the Hamptons on houses and and cars and food and entertainment. The wealthy people out here support all the building trades, restaurants, house cleaners, landscapers…oh my goodness the list is endless. If you build a house near an airport and then complain about airplane noise you are an idiot. The idea of not having the FAA involved in the airport blows my mind.An airport needs a control tower for the safety of all who use it and live around it. I say let the FAA manage the airport and man the tower as much as possible. Improve the runways and keep the property in tip top shape.

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