FAA considers new altitude rules for planes west of Deer Park

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U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi in the village of Old Brookville Monday, announcing new plane height requirements. (Photo by Teri West)

This story has been updated with new information from the FAA.

The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing the possibility of requiring airplanes that fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport over areas west of Deer Park to fly no lower than 4,000 feet.

The new procedure was planned to begin June 24, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) announced Monday, but the FAA said it is postponing the start date.

Additionally, planes more than 15 miles away from the airport would be required to remain at 3,000 feet when Kennedy Airport’s less frequently used runway is out of service, the congressman said. There would also be increased runway rotation.

Some planes are flying as low as 2,000, feet, exacerbating the issue of airplane noise that has worsened in recent years due to changing flight patterns and in recent months due to runway renovation, Suozzi said.

The altitude changes would be an immediate partial remedy as area lawmakers continue to advocate for altered flight patterns, he said. The initiative came as a result of a meeting with Federal Aviation Administration representatives, air traffic controllers, Port Authority representatives, air traffic controller union representatives, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City).

“They require additional internal evaluation,” the FAA said in an email explaining why the June 24 implimentation date is delayed. “The FAA will coordinate with stakeholders before it makes any decision to implement them.”

Airplane noise has affected the quality of life for Long Islanders in recent years, residents and officials say.

Communities such as Roslyn and Floral Park have noticed a considerable increase in air traffic as the FAA has started rolling out a modernized aviation system called NextGen. NextGen narrowed the air traffic routes over Long Island, making them more parallel rather than V-shaped, Suozzi said.

A Kennedy Airport runway has also been closed for repaving since the first week of April, according to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which has caused even more planes to fly in the new patterns, Suozzi said. The work is scheduled to continue until November.

“A lot of people who don’t know this issue say, ‘Oh, people should know if they move near an airport, they’re going to have this problem,’” Suozzi said. “We’re 20 miles from an airport.”

Roslyn Heights resident Steve North said airplanes have made it hard for him to enjoy his home in recent months. He normally sits in a gazebo in his yard when the weather is nice but has been unable to this year.

“I close all the windows in my house, I turn on the air conditioning to make a little bit of white noise and I turn on the music…and it barely helps,” he said.

North has tracked flights over his home using airnoise.io, a website that allows users to access a plane’s height when it is flying over a particular location, and said he has found that many are between 1,500 and 2,000 feet above the ground.

New airplane altitude requirements are a good first step toward relief and an acknowledgment that this is a real issue affecting many communities, North said.

Roslyn Estates Mayor Paul Leone Peters attended the Monday news conference on behalf of his constituents, although only one has come to him about the issue, he said.

“If you’re doubling the height, you’re significantly lowering the noise,” he said.

Suozzi said getting help from the FAA authorities in Washington, D.C., has been a bust. Since entering office in 2017 he has been unable to get a meeting with the top official.

The regional authorities have been much more supportive, he said.

6 COMMENTS

  1. There FAA Tracon approach controllers must work on implementing NEW ROUTES into 22Left and 22Right besides the ILS which go from Old Brookville, Roslyn, East Hills, Albertson, Manhasset Hills, New Hyde Park and Floral Park. They MUST use the VOR/DME approach that goes over East Williston, Mineola, Garden City, Frankin Square and Stewart Manor much more than it has. The altitudes help but EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION of paths and even implement new ones are key!

  2. The current procedure to my understanding is that unless wind are over 25 mph from South
    south east that when the weather is bad ALL planes into JFK from 13’s from Brooklyn get rerouted to the ILS and those on the VOR/DME also use the ILS. The same holds true when there are over 35 planes an hour. This is absolutely inhumane and INEQUITABLE. I can compromise with safety during bad weather but when its solely a VOLUME ISSUE we can NOT accept the brunt EVERY TIME! FAIR IS FAIR

  3. It’s ridiculous. I live in North New Hyde Park and you cannot watch TV anymore with the windows open in the summer, unless you crank up the volume. It’s all night too. I use earplugs at night to help get to sleep but they don’t block out airplane noise.

  4. The altitudes are a good start but what most people fail to realize is the OVERUSE of the APPROACH into 22Left NOT just runway 22L itself. The name for this approaches is ILS and VOR/DME. ILS goes from Old Brookville, parts of Old Westbury,Roslyn, Albertson, Herricks, Manhasset Hills and New Hyde Park. This is required with certain winds and inclement weather but ALSO is OVERUSED for EFFICIENCY to take every plane landing at JFK over our houses into 22L and overflow to 22R up to 48 planes an hour total.

    The alternative parh VOR/DME 22Left MUST be used more often when weather and safety permits. This approach affects East Williston, Mineola, Garden City, Franklin Sqare and Stewart Manor. This averages about 35 planes an hour and is normally used in good weather when volume is light or also with another runway 13L while some traffic comes on this route and some over Belt Parkway Brooklyn.

    It is totally unreasonable to expect the ILS approaches to be used almost all summer long given alternatives. We MUST WORK TOGETHER AND SHARE the noise and hope the FAA comes up with a third route over the south shore so safety and quality of life can be BALANCED and rotated fairly.

  5. Planes coming over new Hyde park just as low as always making noise, no change every 30 to 40 seconds. This is now 4:51 in the afternoon on 6/23/19 and it’s been going on for more than an hour. Where’s the change?????

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