By NATHAN DUKE
Northeast Queens leaders recently held a meeting to discuss plans to combat helicopter noise that has been plaguing several communities.
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Little Neck) recently met with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and representatives from the Queens borough president’s office, TRACON, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, We Love Whitestone and other neighborhood organizations to come up with plans to mitigate helicopter noise in Northeast Queens.
“I became co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus because my constituents in Northeast Queens have been forced to endure constant and intrusive noise due to low-flying helicopters at all hours of the night,” Suozzi said.
On July 30, Suozzi met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials and community groups to come up with “realistic solutions” to the quality-of-life issue. Avella said that various strategies—including alternate flight paths, minimum altitude standards and safety procedures—have been discussed with the FAA to prevent the “relentless onslaught” of helicopter noise in Northeast Queens.
Aircraft noise has long been an issue in Northeast Queens. For the past five years, residents have complained of nonstop airplane noise at all hours over their communities following the introduction of a new flight pattern known as the Tennis Climb at LaGuardia Airport.
In April, a bill by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and members of New York’s Quiet Skies Caucus was passed that would direct the FAA to continue evaluating metrics to the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) 65, which is the current national standard at which the agency determines acceptable levels of aircraft noise.
Then, in May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that included measures to help curb the noise—including an initiative in which the FAA would partner with private industry to develop aircraft and engine technology that reduces noise, and a requirement for the FAA to complete an evaluation of its methods of measuring aircraft noise within a year.
Previous complaints of helicopter noise over Long Island resulted in a route change for helicopters, but the new route did not alleviate noise for Queens.
Following a helicopter crash in the East River in March, Vallone called on the city to change how helicopter noise and safety are monitored. The councilman said that the recent meeting to discuss helicopter noise was a necessary step in tackling the problem.
“As a result of this meeting, an understanding is in place for all parties to develop plans and strategies to develop alternate flight paths and routes, minimum altitude standards and maximum speed requirements, overall safety procedures and the collection of necessary data,” Vallone said.
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at email@example.com.