New JFK Flight Path Brings Unbearable Noise, L.I. Residents Say

They say traffic and noise from Kennedy Airport have been plaguing their daily lives

Dozens of residents from various towns on Long Island went face-to-face with aviation officials at a community meeting in Lawrence Monday to complain about a new Kennedy Airport flight path that has planes going over their homes.

For residents in a part of Long Island that has never been exposed to plane traffic, the noise is unbearable.

"I can't even sit on my patio," said Evelyn Maffucci of Garden City. "It's a disgrace."

"We sit down for dinner and we hear planes every minute," said Darren Simmons of Baldwin.

State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt said complaints to his office started flooding in when Runway 22L opened, exposing some new towns to air traffic.

"In my first five years, I've had almost no complaints," said McKevitt, who represents Garden City. "Since this past spring, it's absolutely exploded. I think it's around the time when Runway 22L, which has been under renovation for a long time -- as soon as it opened up, complaints started flooding in."

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration heard the concerns, and on Oct. 31 started a pilot program on the overnight shift to keep planes at a higher altitude until they're close to landing.

But residents claim the noise isn't getting better.

"It just gets worse, and nobody has answers," said Maffucci. "Why can't they change it?"

FAA officials said pilots are given specific landing instructions based on runway availability and weather conditions. And with Kennedy handling 1,200 flights a day, that leaves little room for negotiation.

"We used to get 18 percent of all volume traffic into the airport. I don't mind that," said Larry Quinn of Garden City. "We're getting 42, 43 percent of all volume traffic for the same neighborhood. And this change has occurred over the last four years."

The FAA said it will look at the results of its overnight pilot program, and see if any of those methods can be applied during the day.

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