Dan Rattiner's Stories

Job for EH Town: Acquire an Unclaimed 747 in Kuala Lampur

About a year and a half ago, three Boeing 747 jumbo jets landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, people got off them, went off and never came back.

The jets are still sitting there. Last week, airport officials took out an advertisement in two local daily newspapers trying to find out who owns them. That the jets are sitting there is not the problem. There’s plenty of room at the Kuala Lumpur Airport. It’s just that more and more, it’s looking as if they have just been abandoned.

Why? Nobody knows. All aircraft have numbers on their tails, and these are no exception. Records show that at least one of the planes was leased from a company called Air Atlanta Icelandic, but that company says they sold the planes in 2008. Since then they have changed hands a whole lot of times to no effect. It seems to be the sort of thing that happens when you launder money.

The ad gives the markings on the tails. They are TF-ARN, TF-ARH and TF-ARM. The ad reads “If you fail to collect the aircraft within 14 days of the date of this notice, we reserve the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft….” The ad cites the Civil Aviation Regulations of 1996.

I’ve been thinking of what use we could put these aircraft to in the Hamptons. Maybe not all three. But surely one of them.

For about two years now, East Hampton Airport, which is owned by the township, has been trying to lower the noise level out at that facility to spare the ears of the people living in the surrounding countryside. Last year, they passed a law that no noisy aircraft could land there between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. the next day. Following this, a lawsuit was filed by the “Friends of East Hampton Airport” saying this was unreasonable behavior, and they requested that a judge issue a temporary injunction, to hold off the airport putting the laws into effect, but the request was denied. The lawsuit continues. But the laws are in effect.

There are penalties if you come in or out with a very noisy aircraft after 7 and before 9 the next day. First offense is a $1000 fine, second offense is a $2000 fine and third offense is a $3000 fine. The other day at around 6:45 p.m. I was in my kitchen on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton when a huge twin-engine jet came roaring through, very loud and low, trying to beat the curfew. I’m about five miles from the runway. Never thought a couple of thou meant that much to those that have jets.

Anyway, here’s my plan. There needs to be a very severe penalty to those who land at the airport after hours for the fourth time. I suggest seizure.

What I think we ought to do is plunk some money down for one of those 747s and get it to East Hampton Airport, where we could park it alongside of the terminal with a sign on it reading DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

Of course, getting the 747 here could be a problem. The airport runway is long enough for a Lear or a Citation private jet, but it is not long enough for a 747. No way.

So what we do is disassemble it at Kuala Lumpur, take the pieces by freighter across the Pacific, up through the Panama Canal and to East Hampton, where we have it re-assembled. It’s not going anywhere. Too big to get in, too big to fly out. It will serve as a warning. Big time. So that’s the plan.

We might also consider, for those first three transgressions, the use of metal boots on the wheels, like they use to immobilize automobiles that overstay their time in a parking lot.

Pay $1 million and we’ll cut it free. Do anything else and we’ll seize it and park it behind the 747. Someday it could all be a museum.

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