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Require copters to reach Hamptons over water

Helicopters at East Hampton Airport in August 2014.

Helicopters at East Hampton Airport in August 2014. Credit: AP / Frank Eltman

The percussive whop-whop-whop of helicopter blades has tormented North Fork and northwestern Nassau residents for far too long.

For more than a decade, East End residents have complained about the flights that ferry vacationers from Manhattan over Long Island Sound and turn across the bucolic North Fork to reach East Hampton airport. The Federal Aviation Administration is finally being required to re-evaluate that route, thanks to a bill recently signed by President Donald Trump. Not only does the FAA have to reassess the North Shore route and consider the impact the noise has on the communities below whose peace is routinely shattered, it also must hold public hearings. That will give aggrieved residents an overdue opportunity to state their case.

But this won’t end fairly unless the FAA changes the flight pattern to an all-water route — around Orient Point or Plum Island and along the South Shore over the Atlantic Ocean. All-water routes have long been pushed by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Lee Zeldin, who did good work in getting the reconsideration into the FAA reauthorization bill. And first-term Rep. Tom Suozzi got the FAA to agree to a six-month trial of a change at the other end of the North Shore route to push city-bound copters farther over water and away from residents of northwest Nassau County and northeast Queens.

Aircraft noise has health impacts on people living under flights. The helicopters benefit only the wealthy who can afford to pay to avoid the hassle of traveling by land to the Hamptons. It’s time they absorbed the cost and inconvenience — a longer water route that will take more time. — The editorial board