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Jan 12, 2010 7:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Airport control tower gets go-ahead from East Hampton

Jan 12, 2010 7:07 PM

Despite a delay in the preparation of an important environmental document that will help guide the future of the East Hampton Airport, the town has hired a firm to help prepare the installation of a seasonal control tower at the airport in time for summer.

At a public meeting on December 18, the board hired Robinson Aviation of Falls Church, Virginia, which employs more than 500 air traffic control specialists, to prepare an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to designate East Hampton Airport as controlled airspace and to prepare plans for a seasonal control tower, which would be housed in a trailer at the airport. The firm will also provide air traffic control services to the town.

Many aviation professionals believe the institution of controlled airspace and a control tower will help the town to better manage the large number of noisy aircraft, particularly helicopters, that use the airport in the summer, while many who live near the airport believe that the installation of a control tower will only make the airport a more popular destination.

Robinson Aviation’s services are expected to cost the town $164,580 per year, which will be paid by a fund that is dedicated to the airport and is separate from the town’s operating budget.

Also in mid-December, the town extended its deadline to finish a final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the master plan for the airport from December 31, 2009 to March 31, 2010, due in part to the massive number of detailed comments on the plan received at a public hearing on the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement in September.

The town had initially planned to have its Planning Department prepare responses to the comments, but Planning Director Marguerite Wolffsohn told the board in early December that she thought it would be wise if the responses were prepared by Young Environmental Sciences, the firm that prepared the draft EIS, because of the complexity of legal issues and potential for litigation.

Henry Young’s additional work, which is expected to cost the town $36,500, was approved by the Town Board on December 18, 2009.

“The best thing the town can do is make sure any document we can adopt is going to hold up before a judge,” said Councilman Pete Hammerle.

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Everyone wants to take their corporate choppers and jets to their homes in the Hamptons but no one wants the noise. The usual unrealistic expectations of the rich and famous.
A tower will not increase traffic, it was cause a decrease. Many pilots don't like to be bothered by the extra communications required at a towered field.
As an Airline Transport rated pilot of 25+ years I can say that the addition of the tower will solve nothing at this airport other than to cause delays with hovering ...more
By tigerpilot (1), Asbury Park on Jan 14, 10 2:11 PM
Long overdue. The noisey helo,s that fly over land instead of water ruining many peoples quiet use and enjoyment, may now be held accountable under a watchful eye...
By North Sea Citizen (440), North Sea on Jan 14, 10 2:14 PM
A seasonal control tower at East Hampton cannot happen soon enough. As a private pilot with our own plane we feel that flying into East Hampton was an accident waiting to happen. A control tower will keep the skies safe for everyone. Hope it really does open. Safety is the prime objective here. It has been termed zooey and a free for all when attempting a landing there especially with all the coprorate jets. A tower will solve the problem.
By Carole H (1), Garden City on Jan 14, 10 2:15 PM
...And just HOW do you think that a control tower will reduce helicopter noise?? Do you think that commercial helicopter pilots don't like to talk to the tower on the radio? Traversing through controlled airspace is not limited in any way; and if it was limited for any reason other than SAFETY, the FAA would very soon step in. Let's face facts. This is going to be your tax dollars at work again with very little to show for it.
By RacerJerrry (1), Deer Park on Jan 15, 10 12:34 PM
I agree as a pilot that the control tower will do little if any thing about the noise. In most instances, noise my increase over some areas with tighter patterns and sequencing.

I like to know more about the FUND the airport has to pay for this. Taxpayers should not be paying anything for this airport. Charge more, reduce costs.

How big was the town's loss last year operating the airport. The budget for 2010 is a joke...look at fuel costs and declining revenues.
By voter (33), Amagansett on Jan 17, 10 8:50 AM
Make the helicopter stop, please.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 18, 10 9:38 AM