Dear Ms. Beninati:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the helicopter traffic over Long Island. I share your concern about the incessant helicopter noise and am actively pushing the FAA to expand the current North Shore route around Orient Point, creating an all-water route.
I first became aware of this problem several years ago, thanks to constituents like you. I visited the homes of people affected in your community and saw and heard first-hand the impact that these helicopters were having on families’ daily lives. With the help of many community advocates and other elected officials, I pushed for an all-water route. The aviation industry opposed us, claiming FAA did not have the authority to enact flight paths for helicopters and vowed to fight any rule. Well, in 2012, the FAA established the North Shore route, a partial victory, that set an important precedent: that the FAA could enact routes which mitigate noise over residential communities. A precedent that was challenged in court by the aviation industry and upheld.
While the establishment of the North Shore route was an important first step, there is still work to be done. I continue to urge the FAA to extend the North Shore route to go past Orient Point and Shelter Island when landing at South Fork airports. I am also pushing the FAA to establish a formal South Shore route. In the meantime, my office has urged the FAA to institute a new protocol that requires helicopters using the North Fork as a crossover to fly at much higher altitudes as they approach East End airports and helipads. This policy should not replace a formal rulemaking, but could provide some measure of relief to beleaguered communities in the short-term while the FAA formalizes a rule. I also recently personally wrote to the FAA Administrator to urge the FAA to withdraw from the legal fight over the East Hampton Airport noise ordinances and to allow the community to implement the rules they feel are necessary to maintain their quality of life.
Again, thank you for contacting me regarding this important issue. Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance on this or any other matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator