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Letters: Orient helicopter route an issue

A helicopter takes off from East Hampton Airport

A helicopter takes off from East Hampton Airport in Wainscott on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Sen. Charles Schumer's proposal to extend the North Shore over-water helicopter route around Orient Point will jeopardize eastern Queens' and Nassau County's quality of life ["North Shore copter route fazes some," Letters, July 2]. Under the rule that Schumer lobbied for in recent years, pilots fly over Long Island Sound and then turn south near Mattituck on their way to Hamptons airports, concentrating noise and angering residents.

Schumer now seeks to have choppers fly farther east and turn south at Orient Point. However, clients who can afford helicopters use them to save time. Extending the North Shore route would add 45 minutes, forcing pilots instead to use the track route.

The track route follows the Long Island Rail Road's Main Line over land from as far west as Queens Village, placing helicopters at 500 feet, well within earshot of thousands of people. JFK Airport uses the airspace at higher altitudes.

The solution is not to extend the North Shore route to Orient, but to eliminate the rule that requires the transition at Mattituck. It would be better to allow pilots to return to their voluntary North Shore over-water route and let them fan out their approaches to eliminate the concentration of noise over a few homes on the North Fork. An equitable distribution of helicopter traffic is possible if all routes are equally accessible and practical.

Mary-Grace Tomecki, Floral Park

Editor's note: The writer is a Floral Park Village trustee and a liaison to the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee.

I was sorry to see that the North Shore route for helicopters flying to the Hamptons was extended for another two years ["Helicopter flight path restrictions extended," News, June 21]. The North Shore route, established by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012, sends helicopters along Long Island's North Shore, but when they reach my area of the North Fork, they turn south over land toward airports on the South Fork.

Residents of the North Fork are inundated with the noise and vibration of not just helicopters, but also private jets and propeller planes, particularly seaplanes. I live in Mattituck, 13 miles from East Hampton Airport and 20 miles from Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. For six years, I have been documenting and calling in complaints about individual aircraft. On Sunday, a noisy aircraft flew over us at 11:13 p.m.!

What additional information about the problems caused for North Fork residents does the FAA need? Why can't it extend the North Shore route around Orient Point? Why can't more helicopters fly a South Shore route over the ocean? The FAA needs to listen to residents and amend the North Shore route ASAP. Give us all a break already!

Teresa McCaskie, Mattituck