December 12, 2014
The Independent Editorial of East Hampton
As you know, aviation on the East End of Long Island is under attack like never before. A small but vocal group of airport opponents are trying to dramatically reduce the public's access to air travel in a region that relies heavily on the airport for economic stimulus and disaster preparedness. We can't let that happen.

This week, The Independent newspaper out of East Hampton came out with an important editorial deriding airport opponents' attempts to dismantle East Hampton Airport and all that it provides our local economy. While we disagree with the paper's suggestion that elements of our local aviation industry have not complied with current noise restrictions, the paper is spot-on in its unreserved criticism of airport opponents and their airport restriction strategy that will cost our community jobs and bleed our local economy and government of millions in annual revenue.

We need common-sense voices to reach common-sense solutions to how we can continue to provide crucial air travel to those who live, work and contribute to the economy on the East End. Please share this story with your social networks as an example of the kind of measured, sophisticated understanding that must drive this ongoing discussion. If you wish to write a letter to the editor of this paper in response to this story, you can do so by clicking here.

We have included a copy of the story below. Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on how we can protect this industry and the aviation service that is so vital to the East End.


The Eastern Region Helicopter Team


December 9, 2014

The Goose and the Golden Egg

The Independent

A year or two ago there was a significant segment of the local populace that believed helicopter noise coming in to and out of East Hampton was the cost of doing business.

It was true then, as it is still true, that the cargo they shuttle are the very shakers and movers who keep our economy, particularly the healthy real estate market so many of us feed off of, churning.

What has happened, put very simply, is the arrogance and audacity of the helicopter operators has effectively soured just about all of us on the entire industry. The callousness, the insistence on flying in too low and too frequently over residential neighborhoods at all hours has reached a breaking point.

We must not delude ourselves, though. A complete ban on helicopters, as one set of experts is recommending, will surely result in multiple lawsuits, and it will deprive some important citizens of their right to fly to their home destination. We know most people don't care about the fat cats - that is ill advised, and a seat of the pants reaction.

In the perfect world helicopters would be licensed, monitored, agreeable to voluntary restrictions, and limited to daylight hours. We doubt that stubborn lot would agree to any of these conditions, or if they are even legally enforceable. If not, let the court proceedings begin.

The businesses that make a living at the airport, and the regular pilots who have enjoyed their recreational pursuit for decades, are now in jeopardy. They should not be painted with the same brush as the rogue helicopter operators who seemingly flout their perceived invincibility.

Mom and Pop airplanes aren't noisy and don't take off and land in the wee hours. Most pilots can't afford a massive bump up in rates. We say leave them be.

There are a lot of locals who work at the airport. Their jobs are important. We urge the town board to consider our neighbors and the ramifications of restrictions designed to punish.

Already, there are those chortling about an impending victory. Throwing away millions of dollars in federal funding, taking on a powerful helicopter industry and perhaps the FAA, keeping some of our most successful media and banking moguls from easy access to their homes, and taking away the jobs of a lot of local folks are some of the looming results of the coming town board decision.

These are not laughing matters, or anything to be proud of.

Many of the citizens of the East End from Noyac to Southold have felt the nerve wracking shuddering caused by a helicopter disturbing the quiet summer night skies and causing a palpable hardship to their lives.

Make no mistake about it: the real forces and money behind this move to silence the helicopters wants far more than your happiness. In fact, they doubtless care little about you at all.

What they want will result in untold long-term damage to the East End, because a thriving airport is essential to this economy, and this is the only one we've got.

Folks, be very careful whom you jump in bed with around these parts. Oftentimes it's the deadliest of snakes whispering the sweet nothings you want so much to hear.
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