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Complaints over airplane noise not a new phenomenon

Complaints over airplane noise not a new phenomenon
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Bob Harris

There are scores of stories about airplane noise in northeast Queens in the newspapers these days. It is an annoyance, but if one lives in a modern city near two major airports, there has to be some noise. The question is how much noise and at what hours.

There is takeoff and landing noise. The flight patterns determine who gets how much noise. Nassau County, northeast Queens and southeast Queens complain when it gets noisy.

Then there is the problem of gasoline dumping when planes come in for a landing. I have not read about the problem lately, but to avoid having too much gasoline, planes dump excess gasoline when they come in for a landing.

Years ago, I read that one could touch the sticky gasoline residue all over houses, cars and other backyard things near Queens’ airports. I have not read of this problem lately. Then there is the noise of an occasional delivery service plane flying around during the night. Years ago, I had thought the Queens airports were not supposed to have night flights, but I guess goods must kept moving.

Decades ago, the airplane noise problem was also a big concern. I remember going to meetings held by the Federal Aviation Administration at a hotel near LaGuardia Airport. In those days, there was talk of Stage 1, 2 and 3 planes which would have quieter engines and be gradually phased in so there would be less noise.

To evaluate the noise level, then-Borough President Claire Shulman arranged to have a noise monitor placed in my backyard in Fresh Meadows. Our noise problem was the take-offs from LaGuardia at dinner time.

In those days, we had dinner on the deck in our backyard and for about an hour a plane took off every three minutes or so. One day, someone called to ask about the noise level. My wife took the call and said, “Is there a problem if you can read the numbers on the planes when they are taking off?” They took the monitor away a few days later.

Today, our legislators are again taking up arms against airplane noise. People are again banding together to fight for quieter neighborhoods. The Port Authority has to work out reasonable flight patterns between John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, Stewart and Newark Liberty airports. The quietest engines possible have to be built. The government has to balance the need for flights and the noise levels they cause.

The June 2013 newsletter of the North Flushing Civic Association complained about the airplane noise that newly implemented flight patterns cause when planes take off and fly right their homes. They also complained that current plans for the new development at Willets Point includes only 875 units of affordable housing. The large number of housing units was one of the reasons the city had agreed to let them be build here in the first place.

The May/June 2013 newsletter of the Rosedale Civic Association also complained about airplane noise. It listed the Airport Noise Complaint Line phone number: 1-800-225-1071.

GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Obamacare is starting to affect us in Queens. My wife and I purchased some major catastrophe insurance. We just received checks from the company totaling $59 because they had only spent 75.4 percent for health care and not 80 percent as required by law.

BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: I again had to contact City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and state Assemblyman David Weprin’s (D-Little Neck) offices because the city did not remove the weeds from the city tree pits this year.

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