Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 07 May 2010 00:00
If you’ve noticed low-flying planes over the Village of Garden City, you’re not alone. Members of the Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) met on April 28 to review the ongoing nuisance of aircraft noise that has been affecting the quality of life of residents for many months.
According to EAB Chairman and Village Trustee Lawrence Quinn, the board has received many complaints from residents of low-flying aircrafts and the noise that accompanies them en route to JFK Airport. Quinn stated that The National Business Aircraft Association recommends that airports along the East Coast, which includes nearby JFK Airport, are not permitted to have landing gear down within four miles of the airport.
Quinn stated that pilots are subject to fines of $250 per plane for each incident when they fly too low with their landing gear down. Peter Laude, a spokesperson of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), informed Quinn that landing gear should only come down when there is a problem with the aircraft. However, Quinn stated that he has recently witnessed several incidents where landing gear was down.
As a means to resolve some of these issues, Quinn contacted Laude via email requesting a meeting. “Planes are coming in lower than normal, many with their landing gear in place and coming in at 90-second intervals and with the engine noise especially noticeable,” Quinn wrote. “There had been some understanding of an ‘equitable distribution’ on air traffic and minimum flight altitudes going back over 10 years, but there seems to be a radical change in the level of public accomodation with the communities under the flight paths,” he added.
One Garden City resident explained to the board that residents are feeling the effects of the noise on a recurring basis. “We get them on entry and exit, that’s basically what it comes down to,” one resident said.
EAB member Gina Fornaser says the landing gear is so close to her house that she can actually take photos of them. She has also made attempts to contact the FAA on her own but to no avail. Fornaser has a special-needs child and is considering purchasing new windows to drown out the sound. “I am not getting any further with the FAA,” she stated, adding that soundproofed windows alone can average up to $930 per window and “that’s a lot,” she said.
Fornaser also told the board that she received a call from Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s office. According to Fornaser, McCarthy is working on a bill to get reinbursement for soundproofing rooms for parents of children with special needs. Fornaser said she was told by McCarthy’s office that the bill is still being revised but it is in the works.
In other aircraft news, Quinn stated that Emirates Airlines has recently purchased new jumbo jets. One board member inquired as to whether these planes would help the noise issue. “Yes, they are a bit quieter, but the planes come in significantly lower than the average plane,” Quinn said. He also added that the planes are built to a nicer standard but they are designed to come in lower.