FAA holds helicopter hearing in Riverhead Wednesday


East End residents who have long been frustrated over constant helicopter noise overhead, particularly during summer months, will finally get their chance to vent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A public hearing is scheduled for November 14 in Riverhead, following the bill passed in October that requires the FAA to reassess the North Shore Helicopter Route.

The meeting will use a workshop format from 7 to 9 p.m. at Riverhead Middle School at 600 Harrison Avenue.

The FAA will have several stations set up pertaining to relevant aspects of the North Shore Helicopter Route. Agency personnel will be at each station to answer questions. There will also be a station where the public can submit a written statement for the record.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included an amendment requiring the FAA to consider the noise impacts on affected communities, improve altitude enforcement and consider alternative routes, such as an all-water route over the Atlantic Ocean.

Jim Peters, a spokesperson for the FAA Eastern Region, said that the agency is also trying to arrange to have oral comments transcribed. The FAA does not plan on making a formal presentation.
Two other public hearings are being held in Garden City on November 13 and in Flushing November 15 on the same topic.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) added the legislative proposal into the FAA bill that passed in the House in April before the Senate came to an agreement to pass it in late September. It was signed by President Trump in October.

“The FAA and Department of Transportation have sole jurisdiction over the aircraft routes that have impacted these communities, but from the route’s planning to its continued use, they have continued to flat out ignore the residents directly affected,” Mr. Zeldin said in a statement in September.