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Our mission is to support aircraft noise and pollution mitigation efforts of citizens and elected officials in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey.


Please Help The following letter commenting on a proposed FAA rule change ( 1050.1E to 1050.1F) was sent on our behalf by Congresspersons Meng, Israel and Crowley. If you live along any flight paths to the Metro airports, and your congressional reps did not sign the letter, then please ask them why they didn’t and, if you can, please let me know the reason not. To my knowledge the FAA has never responded to Congresspersons Meng, Israel and Crowley nor have they responded to my letter on the FAA rule change. Please call , write or email your representative and ask if he/she received a response to their letter and , if not, why not. This is very important because, in my opinion FAA, will use their distorted interpretation of the CATEX in changes to 1050.1f, to avoid a comprehensive review of environmental changes that may result from the NY Metroplex implementation in 2015. January 18,  2014 Michael P. Huerta Administrator Federal Aviation Administration 800 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20591 Dear Administrator Huerta: We write with concern about the Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed Order 1050.1F, which would establish two new categorical exclusions to avoid an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The two new categorical exclusions appear to be written overly broadly and, consequently, categorically excluded procedural changes could additionally increase the noise burden over our constituents’ homes. Together, the proposed exclusions further solidify our constituents’ view that the FAA is unconcerned with the effect of airplane noise on their well being. For example, many feel that the FAA set a bad precedent by not conducting an environmental study of the TNNIS IV climb, a procedure permanently implemented at the beginning of this year. The FAA should be focused on ensuring changes made to existing procedures and routes do not negatively affect the people who live around these airports, not making it easier to avoid studying their potentially negative impacts. The legislative language to justify these changes, Section 213(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, cites the ability of the Administrator to determine the existence of extraordinary circumstances with respect to the proposed categorical exclusions. If the Administrator determines extraordinary circumstances exist, the exclusion could not be applied. We believe that you should determine that extraordinary circumstances exist, and therefore the order and categorical exclusions contained within do not apply, at both JFK and LGA because: 1) New York City has the most congested airspace in the country; 2) the complexity of NextGen implementation combined with Air Space Redesign introduces unique environmental and community noise considerations; 3) the large population affected in New York City and Long Island; 4) the proximity of three major airports; and 5) the ongoing demands of our community for a full environmental review of previous changes. We believe that these are exactly the type of extraordinary circumstances Congress had in mind when it passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. The concentration of noise over our constituents’ homes demands a closer look at the proposed rule. We understand the desire to quickly implement NextGen technology, but it need not occur at the expense of our constituents’ quality of life. According to the FAA, categorical exclusions “represent actions that the FAA has found based on past experience with similar actions, do not normally require an EA or EIS because they do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment…” We believe that the indiscriminate application of 1050.1F precludes consideration of exceptions that are similar to past actions that have unquestionably created notable effects on our constituents. To continue implementing these policies without a conscientious review of their effects constitutes turning a blind eye to the many points we and our constituents have raised in the past. We have submitted a copy of this letter as official comment during the rulemaking process. We look forward to your timely response and ask you to seriously consider our requests. Sincerely, Congresswoman Grace Meng Congressman Steve Israel Congressman Joseph Crowley


The Roundtable and Part 150 Study. Planning and executing the Part 150 Study has been  a painfully slow process  with administrative issues seemingly taking priority over the more practical aspects of getting the project going. Everybody can take credit for the delays. Governor Cuomo directed the PANYNJ to do the study and form a Roundtable in November 2013, and a more formal announcement was made in March 2014. To date (July 18, 2014) there have been three meetings and have not yet got to the nuts and bolts of a working round table nor the critical inputs by citizens to the actual study.


Bad News! Senators Gillibrand and Schumer have yet to show any inclination to help us. Senator Schumer has been quoted as saying that he supports the Roundtable concept  and the the need for additional noise monitors. The last we heard from the Senator was 8/8/2013 when he asked the PANYNJ for additional monitors.


Frustrating News! As you all know the helicopter noise season has started and is in full force. You also probably realize that the new North Shore Route regulations established 2 years ago, and now extended for another 2 years have not, and will not, help us here in the Town of North Hempstead.

Although the impression was given that the new regulation would help us, it turns out the rule has no impact on the transition of the helicopters to and from the North Shore route which is the major cause our helicopter noise issue. Most disturbing is the fact that the ERHC, which had a solution to the noise problem for us on the North Shore, withdrew the solution when the new rule was issued. The ERHC maintains that continuing to use the solution route after the new regs were instituted would have caused liability/legal issues. I, Len Schaier, believe its a gotcha! By the way the people on the East end don’t believe the rule is helping them either. To add insult to injury, the ERHC does not even add the helicopter noise reports from the Town of North Hempstead into their data base because the formats are “incompatible”. IMHO both our elected officials and the ERHC are responsible for this mess.


Residents along the route to the 22′s at JFK will be seeing increased aircraft traffic. New FAA Procedures Reduce Separations at Major Airports AIN Air Transport Perspective, June 17, 2013 by Bill Carey June 17, 2013, 11:10 AM Air traffic controllers are using advanced procedures to space aircraft closer together on takeoff and landing at major U.S. airports, making early progress toward a major goal of the NextGen ATC modernization effort—increasing airspace capacity. Michael Huerta, Federal Aviation Administration administrator, described two such procedures at the June 4 meeting of the RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC): closely spaced parallel operations (CSPO) and equivalent lateral spacing operations (ELSO). The NAC, chaired by Alaska Air Group chairman Bill Ayer, is a high-level government and industry committee representing all segments of aviation that advises the FAA on NextGen implementation. Under CSPO, aircraft pairs arriving at an airport with parallel runways that are separated by 2,500 feet or less are staggered to observe 1.5 nm diagonal separation between leading and trailing aircraft on the separate runways. The FAA expects the procedure will increase runway “throughput” at major airports, especially when bad weather prohibits visual approaches. CSPO landings are being conducted at San Francisco International Airport, where parallel runways are separated by just 750 feet, and could be applied at 17 of the 35 largest airports in the U.S., Huerta said. The FAA has approved a reduced separation standard of 1.5 nm (down from 3 nm) for staggered approaches to runways in Boston, New York, St. Louis, Cleveland, Seattle, Memphis, Philadelphia and San Francisco. “This is a little bit of a Holy Grail for us,” Huerta said. “We’ve been working diligently to increase the number of aircraft that can land at an airport each hour while maintaining safety…Technology across the board has improved to such an extent that we are extremely confident that we can operate aircraft at closer proximity and still be just as safe.” ELSO reduces the minimum angle, or “divergence,” between the departure routes of aircraft on takeoff. The conventional separation standard requires a divergence of 15 degrees between departing flights; by taking advantage of area navigation (Rnav) equipment on board most current airliners, the divergence angle can be reduced by about half. Controllers can space routes more closely together and clear aircraft for takeoff more efficiently. The FAA started using the new separation standard at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in October 2011. “The precision of NextGen navigation means that we can safely allow jets to take off on headings that are slightly closer together,” Huerta said. “We’ve been using this small change in Atlanta, and we’re seeing an increase of eight to 12 airplanes departing per hour.” The agency estimates that ELSO has also saved airlines $20 million in fuel and reduced waiting times in its first year. Huerta said that ELSO is among 15 updates the FAA plans to incorporate in Order 7110.65, the manual that prescribes air traffic controller standards and procedures. He noted that the agency published the controllers’ manual long before “performance-based” navigation came into use, and it must be updated to take advantage of NextGen procedures.


Airspace Redesign/NextGen Here is part of an email sent to members of queensquietskies.org by the president of that organization Dear Neighbors – Queens Quiet Skies is growing in what seems to be an exponential way. We add new people every day. I’m sending this newsletter to update everyone on the news. We appreciate all of you who attended our meeting on May 2nd at Bayside High School. We think it was a success and we enjoyed having the opportunity to meet so many people – more thhan 200 of you! For those who couldn’t attend, the Powerpoint presentations will soon be posted on our website. NEW WEBSITE We have a terrific new website, thanks to the efforts of our Vice President, Bob Whitehair. It is already full of information and there will be more. You can find it at QueensQuietSkies.org. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? Contact our U.S. Senators right now Some of our elected officials have devoted a tremendous amount of their time and resources to problems caused by the Northeast Airspace Redesign and the NextGen Program. Rep. Meng, Rep. Israel, Sen. Avella and Assembly Member Braunstein met with the FAA in Washington last week (more on that below). Sen. Hannon’s bill in the State Senate to mandate a Part 150 contour study at JFK International, which was supported by many other legislators, was passed the other day. So far, though, our U.S. senators have not been as responsive as our other legislators. Last year, Sen. Schumer voted in favor of the congressional legislation that enabled these changes and took away some of our environmental protections. Sen. Gillibrand voted against it. Sen. Gillibrand’s representative attended the meeting with the FAA last week, but Sen. Schumer’s representative did not attend. It’s time for us to tell our U.S. senators how unhappy we are with the new flight procedures at LaGuardia. We can tell them we want them to support our efforts to find solutions that will work for the people on the ground as well as for the airlines and airline passengers. We have identified some ways it can be done. We want them to listen to us, work with us and be active agents of change along with us. Here are the phone numbers for Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand. I understand that, at the moment, they are unable to take comments from constituents on the internet. This is an important thing for all of us to do in the coming week. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: 212-688-6262 Senator Charles Schumer: 212-486-4430 Keep making those noise complaints to the Port Authority Filing noise complaints with the Port Authority is very important, and it’s something everyone can do. There is a link to the Port Authority’s complaint page on our website. When you fill in the form, check off “too frequent” and then write in the comment box “too loud, too low, too frequent” and the approximate number of flights, time of day, and seconds or minutes apart in time. Once you have made a complaint on the internet, the PA will automatically send you an e-mail to acknowledge your complaint. We have an e-mail address – QQSNoise@aol.com – to receive those acknowledgmeent e-mails from the Port Authority. We set up this e-mail address so we can collect the complaints. Please either forward the acknowledgment e-mails from the Port Authority to the QQSNoise address or, if you want, use that address instead of your own on the complaint form so that the acknowledgment will automatically be sent to the QQSNoise address. VOLUNTEERS I know we’ve been saying for a while that we need volunteers. We have three volunteer coordinators in place now: Daniela Addeo, Lee Fiorino and Annie Sun. The volunteer effort was held up for a while because we thought we needed to incorporate as a non-profit organization in order to set up the volunteer mechanism. We’ve decided not to wait any longer and to put some temporary measures into place so we can get going. If you want to volunteer, please send an e-mail to Annie, Daniela and Lee at qqsvolunteers@aol.com. They will get in touch with you. Please remember that they’re also volunteers and be patient as they sort through the e-mail and get back to people. The following committees need volunteers: Outreach and Community Relations Committee – acts as liaison with groups such as community boards, elected officials, civic groups. Legal and By-Laws Committee – maintains legal status and documents; files documents with appropriate government agencies; prepares for corporate meetings; and ensures compliance with the bylaws and all relevant laws . Membership Committee – maintains membership lists; enrolls new members; and calls members who cannot be reached by electronic mail. Data and Monitoring Committee – coordinates and tracks scientific testing, flight information, noise complaints, and information from the FAA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; enters data into spreadsheets; and monitors entries in the Federal Register. Meetings Committee – plans and sets up for membership meetings and directors’ meetings. Fundraising Committee – plans and carries out fundraising campaigns. Publicity Committee – maintains publicity materials; and initiates and coordinates contacts with media representatives. Electronic Media Committee – maintains the QQS website and social media presence. PROPOSED ROUNDTABLE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING We have written a proposal for an Aviation Roundtable for airports within the jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In the aviation field, a Roundtable is a formal organization that operates pursuant to a written agreement, with each member having an equal vote. Aviation Roundtables were started in California over 30 years ago and exist today in more than two dozen areas around the United States. Each Roundtable has its own by-laws, operating budget and staff. The purpose of the Roundtable is to develop and monitor an aircraft noise mitigation program; consider community concerns and resolve problems; provide a public forum to air on-going citizen concerns; facilitate cooperation and communication among members; and plan for future procedures and changes in general aviation. The members are community groups, elected officials, municipalities, airports and the FAA. We have recently started presenting the Roundtable concept to prospective members throughout Queens and Nassau. At a town hall meeting with the FAA in March, Regional Administrator Gallo made a commitment to participate in the Roundtable. We also hope to have a commitment from the Port Authority shortly. The draft MOU proposal tracks language used by the SFO, OAK and ORD Roundtables. The proposal is still very much a work in progress. We welcome all comments, as well as the assistance of all interested parties in filling in the blanks. We are proposing a plan that provides the same kind of formal, collaborative, cooperative Aviation Roundtable for our area that has been in practice in the rest of the country for many years. As soon as possible, we will post the draft MOU proposal on our website so everyone can see how it works. ORGANIZING OUR ORGANIZATION This organization started as a reaction to the unannounced flight procedure changes at LaGuardia last year. We have realized that we need to continue as a permanent organization, so we can be a member of the Roundtable and represent the interests of our community. We are taking legal steps to make Queens Quiet Skies a non-profit organization in New York State. We’ve written by-laws, we will soon have a Board of Directors and put into place everything necessary to ensure that the business of the organization is conducted correctly and with transparency. If you’d like to read the by-laws, please let me know and I will e-mail a copy to you. MEMBER DUES We are asking people to join our Queens Quiet Skies organization and to donate $25 a year per household to the organization.. We have expenses we’ve incurred to get information out to you and to do our activities on your behalf. For example, it cost $250 to hold the meeting at Bayside High School, which Bob Whitehair and I paid for ourselves. It cost money to put up the website and it costs money to keep it running every month. It costs money to register as a corporation in New York State. As we go forward towards solving these problems, we will need money to continue operating. It’s as simple as that. Right now, we are working on the legal processes to establish the organization formally. We cannot guarantee that your $25 contribution will be tax-deductible, but we think it will be. We don’t want to mislead you, though; we don’t yet have the legal status to make your contribution tax-deductible. We will try our best to get it and we’ll let you know if we do. LAST WEEK’S MEETING IN WASHINGTON, D.C. Last week, Rep. Steve Israel, Rep. Grace Meng, State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein met in Washington with FAA officials. The result was an agreement to convene a group to review the way decisions were made by the FAA to change flight procedures over Queens and Nassau. The committee will consist of FAA technicians and members of our Queens/Nassau community task force that has been working on these issues since last fall. Right now, we are discussing exactly how to move forward with the review panel and it will begin soon. I will keep you posted on the process. COMMUNITY PRESENTATIONS We have been giving many presentations to community groups and elected officials. We want to reach as many people as we can, to explain what is causing our problems with airplane noise and pollution and also what can be done about it. If you are a member of a civic or community group and would like us to give a presentation (it doesn’t have to be two hours!) please let us know. It is so wonderful to get e-mails every day in which people ask how they can help and where they can send money. I hope this newsletter has answered those questions.. As I’ve said before, I remain cautiously optimistic that we are going to effect a change. Thank you all for everything you do. Janet


OpEd: Public opposed to JFK runway expansion BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILIP GOLDFEDER (Queens) As your assemblymember, it is my responsibility to ensure that the community’s concerns are heard. On no issue is that clearer than the Regional Plan Association’s suggested plan to the Port Authority to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay. Since the plan was first introduced in February 2011, I have listened to hundreds of residents tell me how this would destroy Jamaica Bay and hurt our community, and despite the steadfast public opposition, the idea remains on the table after over a year of deliberation…….. The complete article is here.


CB14 Says No To JFK Runway Expansion By Nicholas Briano Community Board 14 has agreed to send a letter of opposition to the Port Authority of NY/NJ and the regional Plan Association in regard to their proposed plans for extending several runways farther into Jamaica Bay.The plans were released earlier this year and were greeted by much opposition from local politicians and the Rockaway Task Force, not only because of the environmental concern but also the fact that one of the runways would be extended no more than the length of a football field away from the outer edges of the Bayswater community…… The complete article is here