Sound Advice: The Solution to Airport Noise in East Hampton Is on Meadow Lane

There is a serious helicopter noise problem at East Hampton Airport, and I think the solution to it is staring everybody in the face and it’s on Meadow Lane in Southampton. There, along that road, just 200 yards from the ocean surf, there is a helicopter pad where Masters of the Universe come in and out with their choppers to and from New York City every day of the week, all during the summer and also the rest of the year, without muss or fuss.
This helicopter pad is fully sanctioned by the authorities. It measures about 44 feet by 44 feet. On a pole at one corner of it is a wind sock. In the center of it is a bull’s-eye made of white paint. Surrounding it is a chain-link fence with a gate, which is intended to keep animals and stupid human beings from getting into an altercation with helicopter blades.
A great noise happens when a helicopter comes in for a landing on Meadow Lane. It is just short of ear splitting to anyone who is near to the chain-link. Fox and deer have long since got the message. Out here on this chopper pad, there is something going on not from the natural known world. Stay away.
Also, rest assured, there are no poor shlubs living in oceanfront fishing shacks on Meadow Lane. It is all big megamansions and some of them are within a few hundred yards of the chopper pad. The people within put up with it, I guess. But then, perhaps they are among those fortunate few who use it. The point is that it is there, it is along the ocean, it’s been there for decades and as it happens it is just a short little walk or ride for any master of the universe to get to his home after hopping out of his helicopter.
I point this out because it should be apparent to the East Hampton authorities that you don’t need a big airport as a place to land a helicopter. Indeed, from the point of view of a person using a helicopter, the location of the airport, inland as it is, is an inconvenience. From down on the ocean, it’s at least ten or 15 minutes to get to and from the East Hampton Airport. How much better it would be if it were much closer. How much better it would be down on the ocean.
Please note that it is not the airplanes that come into East Hampton Airport that are causing this continuous noise problem. Big airplanes have been landing there from time to time for more than 50 years. It is the helicopters. They sound like a jackhammer operation, they stop conversation in the homes that surround the airport when they come in. And more and more they are coming in more and more. I was recently told by a neighbor of the airport that there is a helicopter landing at the airport almost every five minutes on weekends.
And the problem is not confined to just East Hampton. No matter how you slice it, a helicopter coming in to land at East Hampton Airport has to one way or another go over residential communities in order to get there. Most recently, the authorities have mandated that helicopters come in over less populated communities up in Noyac, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and North Sea, but that just makes things worse. The helicopters now go over these select communities with more frequency than before. There aren’t more helicopters: off the routes there is less helicopter noise, but on them, it’s a catastrophe.
Some say it is very difficult to find the solution to this problem. But I don’t think so. All East Hampton has to do is find, as Southampton has done, a little patch of land by the ocean or bay to designate as a legal helicopter pad.
Of course, the bay is not a good idea for two reasons. One is that the cause of this problem, the helicopters and their passengers, do not live near any bays. They live near the ocean. The other, less important to the rich but more important to the less advantaged, is that it is not fair to those who do live near the bay. The wealthy cause this problem. They should therefore put up with the side effects of this problem. Fair is fair.
In my mind I have scoured the East Hampton coastline along the ocean where this helicopter pad might be located. What’s needed is a plot of land oceanfront, far away from any home, in the middle of the estate area.
No sir, my good friend, I am not thinking of any spot in or near your house. Or yours either, my good other friend.
On the other hand, there’s an upside to all of this. There is something very chic about having a helicopter pad. Under ordinary circumstances, you can’t land a helicopter on the lawn. It’s illegal. But what if it weren’t illegal? How about that? Presidents get out of helicopters. Senators get out of helicopters. Potentates, dictators, models and actresses get out of helicopters. We live in a world of see and be seen. What could be better than flying just along the surfline of the ocean, then dropping down to be let out right in front of all your rich neighbors?
What I propose is that because collectively, everybody living near the beach wants a helicopter pad near the beach, but that individually they do not want it near THEIR beach, that portable helicopter pads be made available. I absolutely guarantee you the Army has such things. What I think is that the authorities should mandate these helicopter pads be placed on different oceanfront homeowners properties on a weekly basis. It could be a lottery. One week at the Bass house, the next week at the Seinfeld property, maybe the third week down at Acheson’s. If your job is to pick up a person arriving at the portable helicopter pad, there might be a problem. But it could be solved easily by having, online, a map of the coastline, with the locations noted for each week of the year for this or that homeowner. That’s how you would know where it is. There are 52 weeks in the year. There must be 500 oceanfront homeowners in East Hampton. It would be an honor to have the sacrifice of having it just one week a year.
I am making this as a serious proposal. Otherwise chaos will reign. Indeed, chaos is reigning. It is a fact that, last week, when a little Mooney single engine plane crashed just after takeoff at the East Hampton Airport after its engine failed, it was a Wainscott baker who stopped to chat with the airport noise protesters—they were waving the signs just outside the deer fence—who climbed over that fence and ran to the plane to help the occupants out just before the plane exploded.
Go figure that one out. Ban helicopters from East Hampton Airport. Have them come in down by the beach.

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