Another meeting on helicopter noise planned

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A meeting promised by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) to assemble town and aviation officials to talk about noise from helicopters flying into and out of East Hampton airport was held this week, and another is scheduled for next week.

The noise has been a problem for years, but a recent change shifted all incoming and departing helicopter flights onto one route, which is over homes in Sag Harbor, Sagaponack, Noyack and North Sea.

The Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Committee will meet Monday in Brookhaven Town Hall with members of the Federal Aviation Administration and town leaders in Southampton and East Hampton. They will discuss flight curfews, restricting flights allowed and altitude guidelines.

Pilots said the change is due to new federal regulations, called the North Shore Route, which require pilots to fly over the Long Island Sound for trips from Manhattan to the airport.

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesman for the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, which represents pilots, said last month that the now mandated route is forcing its members to fly directly over the same houses, instead of varying the routes, as was done in the past.

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"While we remain open and committed to finding ways for us all to continue to work together, we do not believe that limiting flights or access to transportation is a fair or constructive step," the pilots' organization said in a statement.

Members of the group plan to be at the meeting Monday.

In a statement, Bishop said that, "Ultimately, the goal of this ongoing process is to reduce the overall burden of aircraft noise on all residents of the East End, and all options should be put on the table for evaluation."

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