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Top Stories 2016: New helicopter routes recommended

Helicopter route map

After years of complaints from residents who say overhead helicopters make too much noise and disrupt their days, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council introduced new route recommendations this spring.

The pilot advocacy group’s recommendations, which established a new passage for landings and two additional takeoff routes at East Hampton Airport, were intended to distribute the volume of air traffic throughout the area rather than just over Mattituck Inlet. Riverhead suffered from that plan.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell opposed the plan, saying it doesn’t fix the problem and actually moves it farther east. In April, Mr. Russell launched a campaign to have the plan rejected by asking residents to voice their opposition by contacting the offices of Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Federal Aviation Administration representatives.

In November, the town filed a formal complaint asking the FAA to change a recent ruling that extends the North Shore helicopter route an additional four years. And in August, at the suggestion of Councilman Timothy Hubbard, the Riverhead Town Board formed a helicopter committee.

“With the moves that we’ve been making, at least legally, against and fighting back against the regulations and how things are working out for us from the FAA, this is just another tool we can use,” Mr. Ghosio said at the time.

Map illustration created by The Times Review Media Group. Click on image to enlarge. (Source: Eastern Region Helicopter Council)