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FAA Approves Music to Know Music Festival at the East Hampton Airport as Producers Announce Talent

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Just a day after Sag Harbor residents Chris Jones and Bill Collage announced the musical lineup for this summer’s MTK: Music to Know Music Festival, they received word from the Federal Aviation Administration that the festival was approved to take place at the East Hampton Airport. That was the final hurdle producers had to jump to ensure the music festival they have been planning for over a year will go on.

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“We are all systems go,” said Jones on Tuesday afternoon, just minutes after receiving confirmation from the FAA.

Having already received a commercial mass gathering permit from East Hampton Town to move the festival from an Amagansett farm to the East Hampton Airport, FAA approval was the last step before Jones could be assured the concert would go on.

“Now the fun part begins,” he said.

The fun part actually began on Monday night at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack, where Jones and Collage, surrounded by over two dozen supporters, announced the musical lineup for the two-day music festival, slated for August 13 and 14.


Vampire Weekend, an American indie rock band out of New York City, will headline the festival on Saturday night. According to Collage, the band has turned down a number of major festivals and choosing to come to the MTK Music Festival is a testament both to what the festival hopes to accomplish, and also the market on the East End of Long Island.

“We are pleased to say on Saturday night to headline we have one of the brightest and the best new bands emerging for one of their only U.S. gigs,” said Jones.

“It’s a testament, not just to us, but really to this market,” added Collage. “They specifically wanted to work here, with us. They wanted to be a part of the Hamptons in the summer because of the people that are here. We couldn’t be more thrilled and we see them as a perfect fit for what we think is Music To Know right now.”

The second headlining act, which will close the festival, is the Nebraska-based indie rock band Bright Eyes led by Conor Oberst.


Oberst, touted as “the new Dylan” in 2005 after the release of “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning,” and the rest of Bright Eyes recently performed as headliners at the popular Coachella Music and Art Festival. They also sold out two shows to acclaim in March at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and are opening for Coldplay at Lollapalooza in Chicago the weekend before MTK Music Festival opens.

“Frankly, they are just incredible,” said Jones on Monday night.

Vampire Weekend and Bright Eyes will be joined by 16 other acts over the course of the weekend, including The Limousines, a San Jose, California-based electro-pop band, who Jones said sound like “a combination of Peter Gabriel meets Depeche Mode.” They are known primarily for their song “Internet Killed the Video Star.”

Francis and The Lights, a New York City-based soul and electronic band led by Francis Farewell Starlite is also slated to perform, as is Portland folk musician M. Ward, whose 2009 album “Hold Time” featured guest performances by Lucinda Williams and Zooey Deschanel. The New Zealand electronic ensemble The Naked and Famous are also on the roster, as is indie rock band We Are Scientists.


Tom Tom Club, led by Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads, will also perform in the festival, as will the California based folk-rock group Dawes, and the indie-rock, chamber-pop group Ra Ra Riot, a New York based band that incorporates a small string section into their music. Chromeo, a two-member electro-funk group, Canadian pop group Young Empires, Nicos Gun, Brooklyn-duo Matt & Kim, the folk-inspired Tame Impala and the Motown-inspired Fitz & The Tantrums are also slated to perform.

“The Cold War Kids are a real exclamation point in our lineup,” said Jones on Monday night of the indie rock band out of Long Beach, California.

Lastly, MTK Music Festival will feature SUDDYN, a rock band boasting a piano-ballad based sound with influences felt from groups like Radiohead, U2, the Beatles and Muse. The group found acclaim across the pond in Ireland a few years back, scoring three hit singles and quickly becoming one of the most popular unsigned acts in the country.

SUDDYN - Helen Olds Photography

What makes that band’s appearance at MTK Music Festival poignant, noted Jones, is that it originally formed in Montauk, where two of its members — vocalist and piano player Alan Steil and his brother Jarrett, also a vocalist and guitar player — grew up, attending high school mere miles from the concert site.

“We are trying to expose them through the festival,” said Jones on Monday night.

On Tuesday, Jarrett said not only was the band, which is rounded out by drummer Brendan Connolly, honored to be playing the festival, but also appreciated what it brings to the table in terms of talent.

“Usually we have a great classic like Billy Joel or Paul Simon out there,” he said in a phone interview from Los Angeles where the band has recently relocated. “But this is a festival of up-and-coming artists and we are really proud to be a part of that.”

The MTK Music Festival will sell 9,500 tickets in total for the two-day music festival, which in addition to music will feature local cuisine, wine and beer, retail booths and an area designed for children.

The cost for the festival is $195 for general admission to the two-days. However, locals will have a chance for a reduced price $175 ticket through May 23. Those tickets are available at Sylvester & Co. in Sag Harbor, Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett, Khanh Sports in East Hampton Village, and 668 Gig Shack in Montauk.

According to Jones, VIP tickets, which are on sale for $645, already had begun to sell quickly on the first day of sales.

In addition to access to a VIP tent, with a special viewing deck of the stage, preferred parking at the site, and a unique menu of food and spirits, VIP access will also include small performances by guest artists that have yet to be announced as well as fashion shows.

“And we will reveal more of what we have up our sleeve as we get closer to August,” said Jones.

For information, videos and music visit http://www.musictoknow.com.

Bishop Promises Defense for Noyacans Versus Helicopters

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By Bryan Boyhan

After another summer season enduring helicopter traffic over their homes, Noyac residents wanted to know how the government was doing to make their lives more bearable. So when Congressman Tim Bishop visited the Noyac Civic Council Monday night, they were ready.

“You want to hear about helicopters,” Bishop surmised as he started speaking on the lawn in front of the Bridgehampton National Bank’s community room, while the audience of about 30 NCC members waited for the door to be unlocked.

For years residents of Noyac, Sag Harbor and North Sea have complained that helicopter traffic to and from the East Hampton airport has disrupted their lives, rattling windows and interrupting outdoor conversations. Prodded by complaints, elected officials have lobbied authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration to take action to control the traffic.

“We actually had to show that the FAA has the authority to regulate helicopter traffic,” said Bishop. “They didn’t want to.”

“We tried to get pilots to comply with voluntary routing, but we couldn’t get enough pilots to agree,” said Bishop. “But I feel the routes were flawed; they only went over certain areas.”

A proposed route that takes copters out over Long Island Sound, but allows them to cross over the Pine Barrens, still has the traffic move over residential areas on both the north and south forks.

“We’ll be issuing proposals for routes, but I don’t believe what has been proposed works. It works for Nassau County and the western part of Suffolk, but it doesn’t work for Eastern Long Island,” said Bishop.

The proposal Bishop and other local officials are suggesting is two-pronged, with a northern route and a southern route. The northern route keeps eastbound helicopters out over Long Island Sound until they reach Orient Point, where they would then turn back to approach the airport over Northwest and Barcelona Neck.

A southern route is designed to take some pressure off the northern route by having helicopters travel out over the ocean until they reach Georgica, at which point they would turn north to the airport. At all times they would be required to maintain a minimum altitude while traveling over residential areas. As proposed, that altitude is 2,500 feet, but Bishop said they were pushing for 3,000 feet.

Bishop conceded, however, that the southern route has its complications, particularly concerns that flights out of Teterboro Airport and Manhattan would interfere with Kennedy Airport airspace.

To date, the FAA has received over 1,000 comments about the proposed route.

“Hopefully their decision will reflect the comments from myself and other East End officials, like [Southampton Town Councilwoman] Bridget Fleming and [State Assemblyman] Fred Thiele,” said Bishop. “I want to make sure the regulations are going to solve the problems here.”

Some residents were concerned that, even if the new routes and height regulations were adopted, enforcement would be an issue. East Hampton Airport is presently an unregulated airport, with no controller communicating with aircraft.

“There is talk about a manned tower, which would then be regulated,” said the congressman. “Anytime an air traffic controller gives an instruction to a pilot, they must adhere to it.”

Indeed, on September 2, East Hampton Town adopted an update to their Airport Master Plan which, among other things, recommends the installation of a seasonal air traffic control tower, located in a portable building on the airport grounds. The revisions call for a “no growth policy,” meaning expansion of the airport facilities will be limited. They also call for re-opening runway 4-22 and converting runway 16-32 to a taxi way. The primary runway, 10-28, will not be changed.

The master plan and a layout for the airport will now be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. If approved, the town will then be able to apply for controlled airspace around the airport enabling the town to hire a seasonal air traffic controller to direct landings and takeoffs.

And if the FAA chooses to ignore the comments from East Enders?

“Then it’s going to be me, Schumer and Gillibrand going after them,” said Bishop.

Noyacans Push for Tougher Helicopter Regs

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By Ellen Frankman           

The crusade over helicopter noise abatement rages on this month as residents of Noyac and Sag Harbor find themselves on deadline to express concerns over proposed efforts to improve helicopter noise.

Town officials and residents now have until June 25 to respond within the Federal Aviation Administration public comment period following Senator Charles Schumer’s May 28 announcement that a mandatory chopper route be imposed on the North Fork.

Under this new “Schumer Rule,” the northern route will begin at Execution Rock in the Western Long Island Sound, proceeding to Orient Point and then over Gardiner’s Bay. Deviations from this route are permitted, however, so that aircraft may reach Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, the Southampton Helipad and East Hampton Airport. Under the proposed rule all outbound flights from East Hampton Airport would fly over Noyac to Jessup’s Neck, and all flights would have a mandated minimum flight height of 2,500 feet.

An outpouring of citizen reactions to the rule abounded at the Noyac Civic Council’s meeting last Tuesday, where Matthew O’Brien, East Hampton Airport noise abatement officer, fielded questions on behalf of the airport. According to O’Brien, the airport took 3,500 complaints regarding helicopter noise in 2009, a number markedly lower than the previous year; but nevertheless significant. O’Brien explained that the original single route used by all helicopters over Rose’s Grove was eventually replaced due to complaints, resulting in the construction of two inbound and two outbound routes. The southern route over the ocean and Georgica Pond currently handles only 15 percent of flight traffic; however, it is a number the airport is hoping to increase to 50 percent.

 “My boss and I agree that there should also be a mandatory route on the South Fork,” said O’Brien in response to the news of Schumer’s proposed mandatory northern route.

Such a jump in activity is not going to occur voluntarily, O’Brien admitted, since the southern Georgica Pond route is not the most direct path from Manhattan.

“It’s all about the almighty dollar right now,” he said. “More time is more fuel.”

O’Brien maintained that the East Hampton Airport is sympathetic to the complaints of local residents, but said complications in changing airport policy arise due to the fact that aid from the Airport Improvement Program Fund forces the East Hampton Airport to comply with all government regulations.

Noyac Civic Council members are determined to make their voices heard however. At Tuesday’s meeting a petition was passed around constructed by resident Bill O’Reilly, Noyac’s representative to the East Hampton Town Noise Abatement Committee, calling for a mandatory southern route, a minimum flight height of 3,000 feet, and the use of Orient Point as a waypoint so that helicopters remain over the water as long as possible.

NCC President Chuck Neuman, who believes the proposed routes under the “Schumer Rule” will “undo years of work by the Noise Abatement Committee” called for “urgent action” in an email to all members following the meeting. Neuman encouraged members to write personal letters to the FAA by the June 25 deadline, and also to make contact with their local representatives.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne Holst, who attended the NCC meeting, shares many of the same opinions. Throne Holst explained that the most common complaints she is receiving regarding the rule as it stands concern the height requirement and the desire for a mandatory southern route. Though a finalized general opinion and recommendations for the FAA are still in the works, Throne Holst also expressed an interest in seeing the construction of a seasonal control tower at the East Hampton Airport, a project not feasible for this summer.

“A tower can immediately say, ‘you need to redirect yourself,’” said Throne Holst.

Throne Holst also agrees with the idea of a northern and southern route, and that a minimum flight requirement of 3,000 feet is better suited to the area, which is now densely populated. “Twenty-five-hundred feet doesn’t quite do the job. Noyac certainly is not farm fields anymore.”

NCC members sounded off on the issue, finding fault with the current “Schumer Rule” noting that helicopters don’t circle straight up when leaving the airport to reach 2500 feet after taking off. The choppers aren’t at this minimum height until they reach Jessup’s Neck, at which point they have already flown over – and disturbed – the entire neighborhood.

O’Brien responded to the criticism, saying that the airport recommends a circling ascent and descent, but that these rules cannot be enforced. Though he recognizes that a minimum height requirement of 2,500 feet does lessen the noise of helicopters, it is not a full solution.

“Does it make it go away? No,” he admitted to NCC members.

Ultimately, supervisor Throne Holst sees the current public comment period as a huge chance to bring about change. “It is really important for the town to come out united. This is a small window of opportunity for us to come out really strong,” she encouraged residents.

“This is an issue at the forefront. We have felt for a long time that they haven’t quite understood that,” said Throne Holst.

Group Formed to Challenge Choppers

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by Karl Grossman

It’s what has been very much needed: a group of East End citizens organized to fight the problem of noise from the helicopters ferrying people between Manhattan and the Hamptons.

Such a group took root this summer, put together by Shelter Islanders Ken Winston and Mike Loriz. Its e-mail address is helicopternoise@gmail–and the group could use your participation.

The position of politicians on the Hamptons helicopter noise issue has been mixed. Some have been active in trying to stop it, others not. The Federal Aviation Administration, meanwhile, has taken a do-nothing posture.

Clearly, what has been needed is citizen-pressure. That, not waiting for public officials, is how things usually get done—especially when up against powerful special interests.

The group in its first weeks has been growing and moving fast. It has a very clear plan for the choppers and the main source of helicopter noise: East Hampton Airport. It is crusading to have chopper traffic fly along the Atlantic coast—far enough out so the noise won’t carry—and  then jump the short distance over Georgica into and out of the airport.

A very important point was made at a meeting on July 29th in Melville. It included Messrs. Winston and Loriz, Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty, representatives of Congressman Tim Bishop, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, a delegation from the FAA, East Hampton Airport Manager Jim Brundige, helicopter pilots and a representative from the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council.

The line of the chopper pilots and the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council was that what is being called the “Atlantic route” was not possible because it would involve flying through Kennedy Airport airspace.

However, in Mr. Loriz, they were dealing with a professional aviator—he is a pilot for Delta who flies regularly out of and into Kennedy as well as LaGuardia airports.

He explained how there is perfectly good routing below Kennedy airspace and established that the would-be excuse had to do with money, not safety.

It would take a few extra minutes—Mr. Loriz said five, the helicopter pilots said 10—to fly below Kennedy and utilize this Atlantic route.

The operating costs of the sorts of choppers that are being flown in the Hamptons commuting trade are between $250 and $500 an hour—so the extra cost would be $21 to $82.

Those taking the choppers can “afford that,” comments Mr. Winston.

Mr. Winston, who is in the investment business, was inspired to embark on the challenge to helicopter noise because of the Hamptons helicopters “flying over my house.”

The choppers have become a scourge all over the East End.

As the group says in a statement: “If you live in an urban area, or right next to an airport, you have to expect aircraft noise…. But on the East End of Long Island, the pain goes to people who get no gain, and who have no say on how the pain is apportioned.”

“The Town of East Hampton,” says the group, “has decided it likes the convenience—and landing fees—of an airport, and why not? It has shifted almost all the pain to other places like Riverhead, Cutchogue, Mattituck, Peconic, Shelter Island, North Haven, Sag Harbor and Noyac. None of these places get the benefits—fees, service—from the airport…That’s a great deal for East Hampton, but the other areas don’t get any gain and they don’t get a vote.”

The group is now working with East End officials in preparing a letter to go to Congressman Bishop and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand demanding the Atlantic route be used by the Hamptons helicopters.

So far, said Mr. Winston, Supervisor Doughterty, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and North Haven Village Mayor Laura Nolan have signed on.

The group is asking for residents of other areas on the East End who have local officials that have not done so to contact them to have them join in the letter, too.

It calls its Atlantic route plan “an easy solution.” With it, says Mr. Winston, “we have a good chance of solving the problem.”

Airport Noise Still “Canker” for People

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While a number of pilots attended the East Hampton Town Board’s public hearing on the future of the East Hampton Airport, praising initiatives to repair and reopen a damaged runway, the forum was dominated by Southampton Town residents who complained the town plan does not do enough to address the issue of helicopter noise.

The town’s master plan presently includes the construction of a seasonal air traffic control tower, the re-opening of runway 4-22, which pilots argue is the safest runway, but is in need of millions of dollars in repairs. Relocating Daniels Hole Road to create room to allow pilots to use the whole of the main runway for landings is also discussed in the plan.

With over 80 people in attendance at the town’s September 17 meeting on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for its Airport Master Plan, Supervisor Bill McGintee opened the meeting cautioning the crowd to keep the conversation constructive and specific to the DEIS.

“The last time we had a hearing it was at East Hampton High School,” said McGintee. “And we had comments like if you don’t get rid of helicopters this board has no guts or ban everything on the face of the Earth. This hearing is not about those issues.”

Kathy Cunningham, the chairperson of the town’s Airport Noise Abatement Committee opened public comment praising the board for initiatives like the addition of an Airfield Wind Advisory System (AWAS) and discussions about the construction of a seasonal air traffic control tower. However, Cunningham said the plan leaves out critical noise abatement studies and goals for the airport.

“My main concern is the total lack, or failure, of the EIS to deal with the noise problem, which in our view is the primary environmental concern,” said Cunningham. “The shortcomings of the DEIS really reflect the shortcomings of the airport master plan. There are no standard noise abatement goals or a noise abatement program.”

Cunningham questioned why the town failed to take advice from a firm it retained to study airport noise, Kaplan, Kirsh & Rockwell and called for a larger study on noise impacts. She added the committee feels the plan presents “an unrealistically low forecast for growing helicopter traffic.”

Southampton Town Board member Nancy Graboski and town planning director Jefferson Murphree joined the committee in their opinion that the master plan does little to deal with noise related to the airport – noise often affecting Southampton Town residents.

Graboksi and Murphree said the town supported the use of an AWAS system at the airport, as well as the construction of an air traffic control tower.

Graboski asked the town look at adjusting a current route over Jessups Neck, which affects residents in Noyac, North Sea, Sag Harbor and North Haven.

“What I would like to see further evaluated is adjusting that northerly route so it comes out further over Long Island Sound north of Orient Point and then cuts south over North West Creek so that it takes that traffic away from North Haven, Shelter Island and those areas close to the shore around Peconic Bay,” said Graboski.

East Hampton resident Patricia Hope said that while residents have been told to call in their complaints about noise, they could only take so much.

“They say when you hear a plane, you need to make a phone call,” said the Northwest Creek resident. “Sixteen planes in 16 minutes at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning – it gets a little old.”

Hope noted experts have deemed the route over the Atlantic Ocean and over Georgica Pond as the route with the least impact.

“My perception – as a citizen and taxpayer – of accountability will be greatly improved when the Town of East Hampton adopts the corridor its own paid consultants called better than others,” said Hope.

Bridgehampton resident and member of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt Sandra Ferguson agreed with Hope, and called for the town to recognize its airport impacts surrounding communities and nature preserves including the Long Pond Greenbelt.

“I am here to say we feel your judgment regarding approaches to East Hampton should keep in mind the equity and fairness of what I like to call the noise canker in the east of our town and to the west of yours,” she said. “Our plea is to be fair.”

Noyac resident Bill Reilly said the Federal Aviation Administration’s method of monitoring helicopter noise, which the town uses, is insufficient.

“Another issue that has to be addressed is the method of identifying and recording the noise from helicopters,” said Reilly. “The FAA permits 12 hours of 65-decibels of noise per day in each location. That is outrageous and obviously not suited for this location.”

FAA Confounds Copter Control

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By Karl Grossman

If there was any question about the Federal Aviation Administration being out to lunch when it comes to doing something about the noisy helicopters ferrying people between Manhattan and the Hamptons, the presentation last week of an FAA official reinforced its nowhere status.

FAA Regional Executive Manager Diane Crean came before the Suffolk Legislature and declared that the FAA is against a bill authored by Legislator Edward Romaine that seeks to diminish the noise of the choppers by establishing a minimum 2,500-foot cruising altitude for helicopters in Suffolk.

Ms. Crean started off by declaring that the federal government pre-empts all other government jurisdictions in regulating aircraft. The federal government, she said, has “supreme” power in this area through the FAA.

But, said Legislator John Kennedy of Hauppauge, this “is an issue that has affected all of us…My constituents ask me what to do about the overbearing noise of helicopters.” They “vibrate” the windows of their houses. “I would ask you: what are we to do?”

Ms. Crean announced a telephone number Long Islanders could call: 631-755-1300. It is the number of the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office in Farmingdale, she said. But, she went on, the main function of this office is looking into “low-flying” aircraft that are a “hazard to people and property on the ground.” But, as to altitude, choppers sometimes need to fly very low, she said. They “need to maneuver up and down.”

Mr. Romaine of Center Moriches jumped in and pressed Ms. Crean about the FAA’s standard for the “minimum altitude” for choppers.

It is 300 feet, said Ms. Crean. .

“Can anybody fly lower than that?” Mr. Romaine asked.

Yes, said Ms. Crean, if “visual conditions” warrant it.

“You mean 200 or 150 or 100 feet,” he observed.

He asked if the FAA had “any set flight plans” for the large number of choppers which have been flying between Manhattan and Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, the Southampton Village heliport and the East Hampton Airport and creating a huge racket for people below.

No, said the FAA official.

Mr. Romaine summed up the situation. The FAA’s stance is that “we control” chopper traffic “because we have the law” but, in fact, it doesn’t control it. It will allow choppers to fly at any altitude and without any plans. The FAA policy on choppers, he said, is: “Essentially, you’re on your own.” Mr. Romaine said if in Suffolk County “we do nothing else but wake people up about this,” it would be important.

“Quite frankly,” Mr. Romaine told the FAA official, the FAA has “failed in your responsibility.” He said “we’re happy to let the federal government run” aircraft operations, but that must mean “you run it.”

He said he would “let my bill go away” but only if there is a “solution” to the helicopter noise problem. It is winter now, he noted, and the problem has lessened, but it will “start up” again in the spring and extend through the summer and fall—and could be worse than ever. One chopper company, he said, has already begun advertising six round-trip helicopter flights between Manhattan and the Hamptons for $28,000, “a real bargain…This issue is not going to go away.”’           

Then Mr. Kennedy announced from behind the legislature’s horseshoe-desk that “I just dialed 631-755-1300” on his cell phone. “I got a recording.”

The FAA, as Ms. Crean’s performance demonstrated, like so many supposed federal regulatory agencies, is not a watchdog but a lapdog for the industry it is supposed to regulate.

When it came to the Shoreham nuclear plant, Suffolk County stood up to a federal bureaucracy similar to the FAA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which also claimed federal “pre-emption.” By vigorously taking on the federal government on Shoreham legislatively, before the NRC and in the courts, Suffolk shone the light and it won. What many said could never happen did: a dangerous facility was stopped from operating. A victory over the noisy Hamptons helicopters is similarly possible. Passage of the Romaine bill is important as a tool in this new needed challenge.

Town Moves Toward Keeping All Runways

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The Springs Fire House was filled with local pilots on Tuesday morning concerned over plans to possibly eliminate runway 4-22 at the East Hampton Airport.
Representing the Save East Hampton Airport Group, Bill Esseks informed the board that 100 percent of Long Island airports have a runway similar to 4-22. The runway runs in a southwesterly direction to accommodate the prevailing winds in the area.
Tom Gibbons told the board that every one knows the safest way to land and take off, particularly in a small aircraft, is into the wind. And local pilot Bruno Schwenk said not only do pilots know that, but ducks and geese do as well.
The controversy over 4-22 began at a work session two weeks ago when the town board was discussing the airport layout plan that has been in the works for over two years. It had been decided at another work session that the plan would focus on repairing and maintaining runway 4-22, which has been shut down for over a decade, to be used as the secondary runway at the airport. However at the work session two weeks ago, the option of making runway 16-34 the secondary runway instead of 4-22 was discussed.
Town Councilwoman Julia Prince recalled the meeting and said, “It was presented [by the consultants] to us to scratch 4-22 and go with 16-34 instead.”
The rationale was because the take off patterns for 4-22 go directly over residential neighborhoods. She said, though, that the missing information at that work session was the notion of the prevailing winds.
Town supervisor Bill McGintee tried to calm the crowd on Tuesday, saying, “The discussion two weeks ago was not meant to abandon 4-22. It was meant to take a harder look at 16-34.”
Audience members on Tuesday speculated that the need to take a harder look at 16-34 was politically motivated.
“The town board was not stupid in 1932 when it created three runways,” said Tom Twomey. “They built all three for a good reason. So why would you decide all of a sudden to cut out a runway? I’ll tell you why. Political influence from neighbors.”
McGintee said the town was not in the position of ignoring those neighbors’ concerns.
“It’s easy to say, they built by the airport so the hell with them; but we don’t have the luxury of doing that,” said the supervisor.
Also debated on Tuesday was whether or not the town should accept money from the Federal Aviation Administration. Currently the town is working on a financial model to see whether or not the airport can be self-sustaining without help from the FAA. Critics in the audience said the only reason not to take the money from the FAA would be a political one as well.
Local pilot Bill Berkowski said the way he saw it, the town’s hesitancy to approve FAA funding was because they would have less control over the airport. He said taking money from the FAA would not allow the town to close down a runway during the day to appease those who may be “sipping tea on their front porches.”
Prince said on Wednesday, “Personally I think it would be unwise to not accept money from the FAA. Regardless of whether or not we accept it, they still kind of have their say. They control the place.”
She said the assumption over the years has been if the town accepts funding from the outside agency, they would not have control over the airport. She said, though, even if the town refuses funding, the FAA still runs the show to an extent.
It was decided on Tuesday that the town would move forward with a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on alternative two of the airport layout study. That alternative makes 4-22 the secondary runway and also utilizes 16-34 as an alternate runway.
“We are closer to finalizing this than anybody has been in along time,” said the supervisor, referring to two abandoned layout studies over the past two decades. “And we will get this done, if not to the full satisfaction of everybody, but at least to a passing grade of satisfaction.”

Top Photo: Tom Twomey addresses the audience at Tuesday’s brown bag session at the Springs Firehouse in East Hampton.