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May 24, 2019 5:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Town Petitions Feds, Voicing Concerns About Two New Players At Airport

May 28, 2019 3:07 PM

East Hampton Town announced on the brink of Memorial Day weekend that it has filed formal objections with the federal government, raising questions about two “aviation companies,” BlackBird Air Inc. and Helicopter Flight Services, about their compliance with aviation laws and authority to operate planned transportation services.

After learning of the companies’ plans to arrange commercial air services to and from East Hampton Airport, the town asked the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation Consumer Protection Division to investigate the companies, according to a statement released late Friday afternoon by Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.

BlackBird Air Inc. announced that it will begin offering “prescheduled” plane service to and from the East Hampton Airport beginning Friday, May 24. BlackBird sources planes by contracting with flight clubs or through networks such as JetSuiteX.

According to BlackBird’s website, passengers can use a phone app to choose where they want to go, select an aircraft to lease and select a pilot. Once the passenger makes these selections and enters into the aircraft lease, additional passengers, unaffiliated with the primary passenger, also can select a seat on the aircraft for an additional fee.

Through BlackBird, which works as a phone app, passengers can join an existing flight plan by purchasing open seats on flights. Customers also can charter a plane to travel from, for example, Manhattan to East Hampton, and then pick a pilot from BlackBird’s pre-approved list of commercially trained pilots.

Friday’s statement from the town warned that passengers should be aware of possible safety and legal risks associated with BlackBird’s business model, asserting that BlackBird does not necessarily comply with federal safety requirements for commercial air operators, and that the aircraft it uses, including its maintenance, quality and handling, in addition to the pilot’s experience, licensing, rest time and safety record, are not necessarily mandated to be in line with the minimum standards applicable to commercial and charter flights. Instead, the release says, aircraft and pilots on BlackBird-offered flights are held to safety standards applicable to non-commercial aircraft and pilots.

According to the town, BlackBird states in its user contracts that passengers assume “operational control” of the flight—which the town said means assuming legal liability incurred by the aircraft, the pilot or the flight, and is answerable in court for any accident, safety incident or regulatory violation.

On Saturday night, Rudd Davis, the CEO of BlackBird, said in an email that the town’s press release and the details about flights to East Hampton Airport were incorrect. “BlackBird is not an air operator—we manage an online marketplace that presents users with options to meet their travel needs,” he said.

Mr. Davis went on to say that for trips to East Hampton and the New York area, people can use BlackBird’s “marketplace” to charter a plane or purchase a spot on an already scheduled flight.

“The operator who will conduct the flight is always identified when guests are making their selections via the app. Again, all operators listed or sourced in the New York area are authorized to do so by the FAA and DOT,” he said.

The release from the town also stated that it objects to Helicopter Flight Service’s application to conduct scheduled service to and from East Hampton Airport. The New York City helicopter operator, which already runs charter flights to East Hampton, recently petitioned the Department of Transportation for authority to make scheduled helicopter flights between New York City and the Town of East Hampton, Mr. Van Scoyoc said.

Under federal regulations, an air carrier must receive authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation before it can offer certain types of scheduled air service. The town filed an objection to the application on several grounds, including that the application did not comply with federal regulatory requirements. According to Friday’s release, the Department of Transportation has taken the application under advisement and the company does not yet have authority to conduct the scheduled services.

Although the town owns and operates the airport, it is the federal government that has regulatory authority over aviation services, and the town cannot, on its own authority, bar the companies from operating at East Hampton Airport.

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What's with the sea/pontoon planes?So many of them today flying at low altitude..very loud. Are they the new helicopters? I heard that Blade owns the company "Montauk Sky" .Anybody else have the same experience?
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on May 24, 19 11:53 PM
friday evenings and monday mornings..they do two round trips...they fly very low and are very loud..Town has no respect for its residents
By mr. met (7), Sagaponack on May 29, 19 1:47 PM
Once again the Town engages in blatant unfounded harassment of airport users to be as hostile as possible against all things aviation related. Either they are knowingly engaging in slander or they are shockingly ignorant of aviation law and policies. Blackbird is just a charter manager, like Blade. They charter Tailwind Air’s pilots and equipment, just like Blade. Tailwind is a well respected and legal Part 135 operator (air charter and commuter commercial operator) fully certified by the ...more
By localEH (426), East Hampton on May 25, 19 10:46 AM
Heli Flight Shares had MANY flights over North Sea, some really low. Ruining the quiet use and enjoyment of many homes, and lowering property values. There needs to be some remedy I didn't buy near an airport yet I am severely impacted by these selfish inconsiderate operators. We need more regulations and limitations on these noise offenders.
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on May 25, 19 6:17 PM
I live in North Sea and agree with North Sea Citizen that I did not buy a house near an airport. Too much flight noise overhead on Friday. Annoying. I this a new route??
By auntof9 (157), Southampton on May 26, 19 10:48 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By localEH (426), East Hampton on May 28, 19 9:54 AM
Nimby plain and simple
By chief1 (2783), southampton on May 26, 19 11:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
North Sea homeowners complaining about aviation noise is NIMBY? Need a map Chief?
By harbor (411), East Hampton on May 27, 19 10:54 PM
Get a grip. This has an impact on everyone.
By Fred s (3180), Southampton on May 28, 19 5:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
BRAVO SIERRA CHIEF! This Friday afternoon and yesterday afternoon was the worst aircraft noise I have experienced in my 20+ years in North Sea.
By bigfresh (4590), north sea on May 28, 19 6:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Wtf? I live in Water Mill a some cartoonish looking biplane was flying around my neighborhood barely above the treetops today, turning around again and again and banking. We thought it was going o crash. Is this some kind of “fun” for some self centered loon looking for attention? We pay our taxes, we go along with draconian town policies disallowing all sorts of things and say, “Well, I guess it keeps the neighborhood quiet and safe.” And the town allows sputtering, unnecessary, ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on May 26, 19 11:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Reminds me of the idiot that to para-glides over the beaches at low altitude over the crowded beaches in summer. I don't know why that is allowed to go on.
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on May 27, 19 1:32 AM
No NIMBISM here. 7 miles northwest of the airport isn't NIMBISM. They belong over the Atlantic Ocean up Georgica Pond or Northwest Harbor straight in over the Sag Harbor Golf Course. I don't think the golf balls will complain.....Thats the least populated route.

Monday 5/27 1,378 complaints about N30NY worst Offender. 3,533 complaints 5/18-27.

airnoisereport.com
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on May 28, 19 6:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Oh please, even the Town and its consultants have disregarded the fake Air Noise Report website. It was exposed as a fraud and that more than 50% of its complaints were being faked, mostly by people who weren't even in the area that were just tapping all aircraft on the map over and over and over again to exacerbate the numbers.
By localEH (426), East Hampton on May 28, 19 9:49 AM
Local, same answer you always give. There are complaints from Queens to the east end from helicopter traffic.your argument is beyond weak.
By Fred s (3180), Southampton on May 28, 19 9:55 AM
Air traffic was certainly obnoxious this weekend! If the landscapers are "ruining the quality of life in the village" and people want to move away, well than something should be done about the planes and helicopters on the East End. Its ruining the quality of life for alot more ppl than those in SH village who complained about leaf blower noise. Btw, the exhaust an noise pollution from planes an copters far exceeds that of landscaping equipment.
By toes in the water (884), southampton on May 28, 19 7:04 AM
"'Santa Monica Airport will close in 2028 and be replaced by a park, officials say' by Dan Weikel and Dakota Smith (LA Times, January 28, 2017)

The city of Santa Monica has been fighting to shut down the general aviation airport — long a favorite of celebrities and business leaders — contending it is unsafe, noisy and pollutes nearby neighborhoods with potentially harmful aircraft exhaust.

The agreement between the FAA and Santa Monica ends years of litigation and ensures ...more
By highhatsize (4178), East Quogue on May 28, 19 10:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
I have heard the Supervisor of East Hampton say "enough is enough" and yes it is as more and more helicopters and sea-planes arrive and depart from your airport.
In just 2 years helicopter business was up 52% (and helicopters get the most complaints) and just this month you have 3 different companies announcing new service to EH airport. When is enough enough I think that has
passed a while ago. I agree with LOCAL East Hampton residents to "drop the A BOMB on the area", I also agree with ...more
By shredman (11), Northville on May 28, 19 11:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
The Federal appeals court has said that the only remedy we have for airport noise is to close the airport in 2021 when the FAA loses the control to keep the airport open. The Town's reasonable regulations to limit airport noise was struck down by the court as intruding on the FAA's exclusive control of flights and airspace. Therefore, don't blame the Town for the noise and air pollution. It's the Feds ruining the quiet enjoyment of our properties.
By danrudan (40), Southampton on May 30, 19 3:41 PM
Close the airport, localEH and all local pilots will go down with the helicopters unless they join the cause to end helicopters and help save the airport. If they cut off their nose to spite their face, they will loose, there isn't enough of them, there are thousands of noise affected residents who have had enough and we vote.
By Wainscott217 (12), Wainscott on May 30, 19 9:34 PM
LocalEH, I can taste the kool aid you’ve been drinking with the “fake”description you use calling Air Noise Report. We hear this every night. You don’t like facts, you call them fake. Where have we heard this before?
By NFbro (1), Laurel on May 30, 19 10:17 PM
southampton local and Say No to KHTO member and we do not urge route change, cause changing routes will not solve da problem. Get it? curfews won't, restrictions on just some kinds of flying machines won't. KHTO is a disaster now with another disaster waiting to happen with any type of chopper or plane going down. Close it. it's crazy and becoming worse every year.
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on May 31, 19 9:15 AM
LocalEH - It’s a matter of time before one of these crafts crash land on a home. The safer route is over water — around Orient or the so called Atlantic route. The noise and safety issues are very real.
By sweetfarm2010 (1), southold on May 31, 19 12:43 PM
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