Nearly four dozen residents rallied in Bayside on Friday to protest experimental flight patterns at LaGuardia Airport that they say have been an unending source of noise and disruption in their neighborhoods.
The gathering took place outside the Bell Boulevard office of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and Assembly candidate Jerry Iannece, who is chairman of Community Board 11, also were featured speakers.
Avella said he and Braunstein began getting calls about increased jet noise beginning in June, and that their own calls to the FAA resulted only in announcement of a six-month trial for the new flight pattern into and out of the airport.
But he also said they have no exact information as to when the tests began, when they would end or if they will become permanent.
Avella and Braunstein also said that while the FAA has assured them that resident input will be taken into account for any final decision, the FAA has given no one information on how or where to register a complaint.
“What we’re saying to the FAA is, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Avella said. “We’re not going to sit for it.”
Some homeowners said they regularly have planes passing overhead at two- to four-minute intervals. Others living closer to the airport said it can be as little as 40 seconds at some times of the day — and night.
They said making the new patterns permanent would destroy everything from their property values to their quality of life.
“We have put our savings into our homes,” said resident Perine Wan.
One incoming jet seemed to appear almost on cue for Braunstein.
“If you’re walking down the sidewalk you can’t even hear someone speaking on your cell phone,” he said.
Iannece said a problem that has developed is that larger aircraft with higher capacity are flying into LaGuardia, meaning they come in and go out at lower altitudes. Back in the spring, when talking about Delta Air Line’s plans for massive expansion of its LaGuardia operations, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) touted the larger planes as a way to reduce the overall number of planes disturbing residents.
“He’s not wrong,” Avella said. “But you can do it right. There are ways to bring the planes in and out over the water.”
Iannece noted that, between LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, Queens carries the burden of air traffic into the city.
“We deserve a little consideration from the FAA,” he said. “In fact, we deserve a lot of consideration.”
The FAA, in a statement sent to the Queens Chronicle, said it is evaluating a new technical system for flights departing from Runway 13.
“The procedure follows an existing flight pattern over Queens,” it said. “It also will indicate if additional environmental analysis is necessary before the agency decides whether to permanently implement the procedure.”
The statement did not include information on how or where to lodge a complaint for evaluation, though it was requested.